A leader’s biggest resources are the people and the potential they hold. Time and again, it is proven that engagement, productivity, and profits of any organization will rise when people feel empowered and valued. Therefore, leaders should always prioritize learning more about their team members. The better they know people as individuals, the better they’ll perform as leaders.
Sometimes leaders feel like they know their people well. Still, good leaders always make it a point to continue discovering more about their people, such as how they approach their work, what they value, what delights them, strengths, improvement areas, and what they need from their leader. Over the years, I have practiced a unique and intentional way of bonding with my teams. Mostly I use the proximity with people in the cafeteria daily as an opportunity to ask them about their weekend and vacation activities, share lighthearted moments, follow up on mutual interests, etc. It is important to be friendly but not intrusive. It’s okay if people prefer to keep their personal lives private. The more you interact with them, the more you gain insights into your people’s strengths, interests, and professional goals.
From my personal experience, good things start happening once the team members feel valued as individuals. Once they feel valued automatically, they feel responsible for their work. The question is, how do you value your team members and value them? Easy, start looking at them not as who they are but who they can be. Because every single team member you work with has more talent and skill than you currently realize. Delegate work based on insights about your team members as individuals without bias. At times leaders will have preconceived notions that affect how they see others. As a result, they trust people they think are like them and distrust those they perceive differently.
What is your reputation as a leader? Do people in your organization want to work with you or avoid you? People will love to work with you if you have a reputation for creating opportunities to learn and grow and helping people progress with their long-term career goals. Many years ago, when I was allowed to choose between two managers, I went with the manager who consistently produced people within the organization that went on to bigger and better things instead of someone who held onto the same team for years together and managed to deliver quarterly numbers consistently.
As head of an organization, I always consider those managers who can take raw talent, refine and develop them to contribute to the organization’s products and profits as more valuable than just those who deliver numbers every quarter. The magic lies in getting to know our team members better and adding value to them daily.
Before you go…
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