A leader of employees, teammates, or volunteers can experience better leadership by knowing his or her team and serving them.
Here are 4 ways to know your team better:
1 – Learn about how they are wired. Assessments like MBTI and StrengthsFinder can be great starting points for knowing specific things about how God created the individuals on your team. I use this knowledge to help me plan our work and also gauge how we are doing together relationally.
2 – Genuinely care. This is where I break all the rules of modern management and leadership advice. I believe that teammates are much more than just cogs in the machine and a means for getting the work done. We spend time together outside of work and we get involved personally, not just professionally.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” attributed to Theodore Roosevelt.
3 – Write a handwritten note. Communicating with an employee about job performance is normal and essential. But I’m talking about going beyond “good job” and “nice work.” Its tough to write a thoughtful note to somebody you don’t know well. This exercise always challenges me to know my teammates better so I can have something meaningful to say.
4 – Listen and observe. The tendency is for leaders to have all the answers and do all the talking. When you listen and observe, you’ll be amazed at the insights your teammates have. My 5th grade teacher always said, “We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.” Resist the urge to fill every silence or lead every meeting. Seek out opportunities to find the ways your team can shine, and then brag on them like crazy.
Experience the benefits of better leadership by knowing your team. This approach to leading a team is built on the mindset that knowing the individuals on your team will help you create a better culture and lead the group more effectively.