Great leaders are servants of those they lead. Because each person on a leadership team is unique, wise leaders lead each person differently. Instead of insisting that every person adjust to the leader, great leaders adjust to those they lead. Here are four practical ways to adjust to those you lead:
If you are a leader, some on your team prefer face-to-face or verbal communication. They feel hampered if they cannot read nonverbal communication and if they cannot dialogue and interact in the midst of the conversation. Others prefer written communication as it allows them to more carefully process and formulate their thoughts. Some love “drop-in” meetings because of the new ideas they generate, while others feel they are a distraction. If you learn how those on your team communicate best and adjust to them, you will help them communicate more effectively.
A wise leader pursues those on the team, not just to recruit them initially but also to keep them engaged. The reality is that your best people are volunteers, regardless if you pay them. So expressing love and appreciation to them is essential. Different people on a leader’s team feel most appreciated in different ways from others. Not everyone on your team views Friday night dinner together or a small gift the same way. Someone who feels appreciated with time may find encouraging words too sappy, or even forced. Someone who feels valued with affirming words won’t be nearly as encouraged with a gift.
People on a leader’s team need varying levels of direction. A new leader or a leader who is not yet proven in a specific aspect of the role needs more direction. Someone who has mastered his or her craft and is continually executing well needs less direction. Some do not need as much direction as others. If you treat every person on the team the same, you will inevitably micromanage some.
4. Decision Making
Some on a leader’s team love stand-up meetings, quick conversations, and quick decisions. Others love having more time to process, to think through scenarios and implications, and formulate a response. If you walk into the office of someone who needs time to process and demand a decision, you are violating trust and putting the person in an uncomfortable position. In the same way, not everyone on your team needs as much time to make good decisions.
Leaders, we honor those we serve if we understand that God, in His providence, has made each person unique. And because each person is different, leaders must lead people differently.