Spend any length of time in a leadership or supervisory role, and you quickly realize that the most challenging aspect of your job is people. People are complicated and messy. People come in all shapes, sizes, experience level, educational backgrounds, and they bring with them their own baggage. Yet, you are tasked to develop, nurture, grow, develop, lead, and motivate these diverse individuals you call a team. By the way, you are supposed to get them all going in the same direction!
This is no easy feat, but it can become less stressful by understanding people better. Because without knowing why people do what they do, leaders are bound to mistakenly offer up solutions that won’t work, ultimately de-motivating staff, causing conflicts, and losing top talent. For your company to stay ahead of its competition, putting your people first must be a priority. It begins with recruiting the right people then onboarding them properly, giving them proper training, coaching as necessary and all the while communicating effectively.
At first glance, you may be thinking it is impossible to know every employee and what makes them tick…but think again. Understanding one’s communication style by observing their behavior can help you assess how people are wired, which then gives you clues as to what motivates them. When employees feel engaged, they stay! Remember, people don’t leave a job; they leave their boss. Top on the complaint list is a lack of helpful, constructive communication.
This simple and easy to understand method is sure to improve your team and create happier, more fulfilled workers who will want to stay. Here’s how it works:
If we were to take the population and split it into two groups, some would be outgoing while others would be reserved. Think of it as an “Internal Motor” that causes us to be one way or the other. The same population is then split into two sub groups: those who are drawn towards tasks and those drawn towards people. This “Internal Compass” points us towards completing tasks or being with people.
By recognizing these basic points in your employees, you can adapt your communication style, leadership approach, trainings, and recognition & rewards program to meet their needs. And with that information, you can determine what most likely will motivate them, providing you incredible insight into leading them to success. Let’s look at the four basic styles and how you can challenge individuals to be their best:
The first group tends to be Assertive, representing about 10% of the total population. They are outgoing, and their “Internal Compass” directs them towards tasks. These success-oriented, results-driven individuals need to feel like they are in control. As you interact with them, allow them to be in charge. Emphasize the opportunities available and be very direct and businesslike. Do not give them too much detail or you will lose their interest. If they want more information, they will ask for it. When trying to motivate, focus on the bottom line and “what is in it for them.” With this group, financial gain, prestige and power are excellent tools to use. Clues to spot them: fast-paced, impatient, and purposeful.
The second group is often very Animated, representing about 25 to 30% of the total population. They are also outgoing, but their “Internal Compass” points them towards people. These interactive, expressive individuals want to be popular and have fun. They enjoy the entire experience of working with people, but they can be easily distracted from their original intent. As you interact with them, create a friendly, upbeat environment. When trying to motivate, you will want to show them how they will gain recognition/approval. Again, too much detail may turn them off…or jet them on another bunny trail. They love plagues, awards and special attention. Clues to spot them: fast-paced but a bit disorganized. They love to share stories, so be prepared for a some-what lengthy but fun process.
The third group is very Attentive, representing about 30 to 35% of the total population. These quiet and shy individuals have an “Internal Compass” that lean towards people. They require stability and avoid change when possible. Because of their slow pace, chances are that they may procrastinate, which ends up stressing them out. As you interact with them, be personable and sensitive to their situation. When trying to motivate, minimize challenges involved with the decision-making process and emphasize loyalty and long-term commitment to them as a person. They will be interested in details, but will appreciate your sincerity more. Don’t recognize them in large groups but rather one-on-one or with gift certificates. Clues to spot them: a slower-pace and unresponsive at times. Without assistance, they may not be able to make a decision. Kindly coaching them is the best approach.
The last group is Accurate, representing about 20 to 25% of the total population. They are reserved but their “Internal Compass” prefers tasks. These reserved individuals of few words are analytical by nature and are processing machines. They take in everything and shift it through a screening device called logic. As you interact with them, you must offer facts, figures and an array of details to prove the quality of your idea, project or process. Then you must give them time to decide if they agree. When trying to motivate, always act logical and be consistent in your dealings with them. If you have given them the information they asked for and addressed their questions, then they will “sign on the dotted line” with confidence. They will expect rewards to match the situation correctly and fairly. Clues to spot them: slow pace and inflexible at times. They may come across as cold, but they are calculating everything out. Again, expect the process to take time, but it will be worth it.
When you think of motivating your staff and accommodating yourself to meet other’s needs, it gives an entirely new dimension to your role as a leader. Truly successful companies have figured out that, without people, they don’t have a business. Great leaders take the time to understand their teams and when in doubt, ask what motivates them! Need some assistance? I offer coaching on how you can work today at building a better team to ensure a more profitable tomorrow! Contact me to learn how we can get started.
Or pick up a copy of my book, Leveraging Your Communication Style!