Book excerpt: Mission to Manage
In an excerpt from her new book 'Mission to Manage', Marianne Page discusses understanding your team dynamics.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say that we’re not all the same. We all work in different ways; we all have different styles, different characteristics, quirks and foibles. We communicate in different ways, we want to receive communication in different forms, and we get pleasure out of doing different tasks.
The dynamic within a team affects their productivity, the way they operate and, ultimately, their success. You’ll have heard the expression ‘being in flow’ – in sport it’s referred to as ‘being in the zone’ – meaning the mental state we experience when we are fully immersed in an activity that gives us a feeling of energised focus, full engagement and real enjoyment.
If a team is out of sync or out of flow, things happen slowly or, often, not at all. They are less accurate, they are absent more, they become demotivated – those signs of a poor culture we talked about in Chapter 1. Different people are in flow doing different things.
For example, Manjit might love talking to customers and building warm relationships, while Bill would prefer sitting in front of a complicated spreadsheet looking for the tiny error that he knows is in there somewhere, and Sally is happiest when she’s organising something – people, an event; she doesn’t care as long as she can have a checklist.
Your team are all different, so how can you give each of them what they need in the way they need it?
Different people also prefer to get their information in different ways.
Manjit wants to have a little relationship-building chat before you tell him what you need to tell him. Bill wants the facts...and quickly. ‘Just tell me what you need to tell me and then go away.’ And Sally? Well she wants to know the what, the where and the by when of what you’re telling her, so that she can add it to her list and give it the right priority.
Your team are all different, so how can you give each of them what they need in the way they need it? How can you get really clear about who they are and how they operate? The fastest way I know is through profiling, and the best profiling tool I know is called the Team Contribution Compass which helps you to understand the profiles and natural energies of the people you manage.
While a lot of profiling tools put individuals in a box, the Contribution Compass tool is all about concentrating on, and then making best use of, individual and team strengths, passion and natural talent. It helps each person in a team to understand the quickest and easiest way for them to get into and stay in flow.
The profile assesses personality, strengths, productivity, values and behaviour, which will give both your team and you as manager the opportunity to focus on strengths and to support each other in areas that you aren’t naturally drawn to.
Having this information helps you to alter the way you communicate, teach, lead and motivate your team, to get the best possible contribution from each of them. Get this right and you will have engaged team members who love what they do.
Imagine a team that worked well together; a team that could anticipate each other’s needs and could back each other up; a team fully ‘in flow’. How big an impact could that team have? What could you achieve together? Building a team who share your values and perform to your high standards is your number one priority as a leader-manager.
It’s challenging and it can be tough, but whether you are building your team from scratch, or taking over a team from someone else, don’t settle for someone who isn’t right for your team, because you get who you settle for.
About the author
Marianne Page is author of 'Mission to Manage', published by Practical Inspiration Publishing and available to buy here.
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