21st August 2018
No two people are the same. There are all sorts of different personalities that make up the world’s population and a workforce is no exception. As a leader, working with and managing a group of individuals can prove difficult and may even mean you have your work cut out for you. There is hope, though – you can overcome those difficulties to get the best out of your staff.
It’s often our differences that shape a team, with everyone bringing something unique to the party.
You have the go-getter; someone who is always up for a challenge and puts themselves forward for any new tasks and responsibilities.
Then there’s the perfectionist. That one colleague who sees to it that every single last detail is taken care of, from the dotting of the ‘i’s to the crossing of the ‘t’s.
The caretaker, or the ‘parent’, takes it upon themselves to make sure that everyone else on the team is okay and has what they need.
Of course, no workplace is complete without the ‘class clown’ – the person who loves to crack a joke to keep everyone smiling and motivated.
It’s a harmonious affair when staff gel nicely and everyone’s personalities complement each other. That’s the creme de le creme of teams that every employer dreams of having because it usually means that targets are hit and expectations are exceeded – it’s teamwork at its absolute best.
Different Personalities, Different Needs?
What happens, though, if each unique personality requires a different management technique?
Your clown likes to have one-to-one conversations and causes disruption during group discussions, while your caretaker doesn’t respond well to face-to-face conversations and prefers to communicate via email. Or your go-getter hardly draws a breath in meetings, contributing every innermost thought and feeling while your perfectionist barely utters a word, choosing to observe rather than join in on the discussion.
As the person responsible for the smooth sailing and productivity of your team, it can be exhausting and, at times, feel almost impossible to keep everything ship shape and above water; especially when working with such a diverse range of preferences and communication styles. It’s like being a parent cooking different meals for each of their picky-eater children.
Get to Know your Staff
There is one very crucial thing you need to do as the manager of such a team – understand them; both on an individual level and also how they work together. Knowing each person’s strengths and weaknesses will put you in a place of power because it will mean that you can use your staff to your advantage, and to theirs. The trick to obtaining this insight into your staff is very easy but will require a lot of time and commitment from you to get to know them properly.
A certain amount of emotional intelligence is a must. You need to be able to read between the lines to know when someone is feeling differently to what they are letting on. Perhaps they are uncomfortable, stressed out or just unhappy with the outcome of something that has happened or been discussed. This is most important where quieter employees are concerned as they may have trouble speaking up when there is something bothering them.
Amongst other things, emotional intelligence is built from self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy; and to develop it, you will need to assess your own personality and the way you react to people and situations. Put yourself in the shoes of your employees and ask yourself ‘what is motivating me to do my job to be best of my capabilities?’ What might they want or need that isn’t already available to them and how might they feel about their place within the team?
Being aware and supportive of what is going on with your staff outside of work is also of huge importance as there may be certain circumstances in their personal lives that are affecting them negatively. This means talking. Make time to catch up with them all on an individual basis between performance reviews and be sure to ask how things are. If you have fostered a good relationship with your staff, they should feel comfortable to share anything that is wrong with you.
Celebrate their Successes
Finally, it is crucial for you to be an advocate for your team. If you don’t show your staff that you believe in and are proud of them then how will they ever be able to feel that for themselves? Let the company and management know when an individual, or the team as a whole, have done something to a high quality. We all thrive on the recognition of a job well done – it makes us feel valued and is more likely to make your staff want to work together as a coherent unit, no matter what their personality type.
It is the ability to spot the signs of something being wrong, knowing how to consider your staff and their perspectives while managing them in a constructive and fair manner that will make you a great leader.
Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Support Team to provide all of our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.