Posted by: Mark Sorenson | April 28, 2009

Get to Know Each Other

One of the roles of the manager is to properly motivate your team so that they are performing to their maximum potential. There are hundreds of ways to accomplish this. Here is a principal I find to be one of the most important and fundamental. As a manager, you must recognize the differences that each member on your team has and treat them accordingly.

My first summer as a manager, I made the mistake of assuming that everyone should be treated as if they were all clones of me. Since no two people are exactly alike, my assumptions proved to be very ineffective.

People have different personalities, backgrounds, cultures, customs, habits, likes, and dislikes. As a manager you must know what these differences are for every member on your team. Many managers try to use shortcuts that will tell them quickly what kind of a person you are. My experience has shown that there is no substitute for taking the time to personally get to know everyone on your team. If you as a manager can make the time to do this, you will reap many positive benefits from it.

First of all you will really know everyone on your team. You will recognize ways in which you can custom tailor your treatment of each person to fit their needs. You will know if your employees are team players or individually driven. You will find out if they have an intrinsic communication style or an extrinsic one. You will be able to tell if they are high strung are more easy-going and relaxed. You will observe if they pay close attention to detail and are organized, or are more improvisational and free-wheeling. You as the manager will know these details and in turn know what your employees’ needs are. This is where we get to the motivation part. If you can perceive the needs of your employees, you will know what motivates them. You will know to give public recognition to some employees and write a letter of appreciation to others. You can save time by recognizing that some employees are just going to wing it no matter what you do, and others need every training resource available to them before they will feel comfortable doing their tasks.

Getting to know your team will also let the team member know you really care about them. They will trust and respect you when they see that you are truly interested in them. Your rapport with them will grow each time they see you putting forth an effort to know them more personally. They will be loyal to you.

It is amazing to me in my short experience as a manager how effective it is to take the time to really get to know your employees. I see it as a way to gain blessings in the work place. So the next time you say to your employee, “Let’s get to know each other,” you should mean it.

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