The Golden Rule says that we should “treat others as we would want to be treated”.
Does that make sense? Should I assume that everyone is just like me?
Each member of your team has different strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, goals, motivations and learning styles. By understanding and acting on these differences you will be able to bring the best out of your team.
Let’s look at an example concerning motivations…
One team member is motivated by money and/or status while the second team member is motivated by free-time and flexibility. Should both be offered the same type of work incentives? Of course not.
Let’s look at one more example. This time concerning learning styles…
Some people learn best by studying everything there is to know about task before trying it. Forcing them to begin a task before they’re ready will result in poor execution and diminished confidence. Others like to learn by doing. They like to understand the basics of the task and then be “let loose” to learn from their mistakes. Studying the details of a task for too long only bores and de-motivates them. Would you train these different types of people in the same manner? I hope not.
The sad thing is that most leaders don’t know their team’s well enough to understand these differences. If that’s the case in your situation, the first step is incredibly easy. Just ask them. Ask them what they like and dislike about the job. Ask them what motivates them and how they like to learn best. Not only will you find out an incredible amount of useful information, you’ll also show them how much you care.
To understand more about how to understand, accept and act on the differences between the members of your team, read Performance Breakthrough: The Four Secrets of Passionate Organizations.