3 ways to embrace your unique team

As I write this post it is half term and as any mum of more than one child will tell you, sometimes it’s near damn impossible to please everyone.

This week my two eldest children are not at home. They’re off enjoying themselves elsewhere – so for the first time I am left with my 15 year old son, and my 7 year old daughter and the nagging thought in the back of my mind of ….”what on earth am I going to come up with that both of them are going to want to do?” Tricky at the best of times, but this week it’s a bit worse for 2 reasons: 1) I have taken the week off to hang out with them, so really want to do that and 2) I want to get my son off his PC /X Box for a while!!

Anyway, whilst I was wondering this I was reminded of a similar question I got asked in a workshop recently – and that was….”Barbara, my team are all so different – I struggle to manage them.”

Great question I thought, so if you can relate to their problem (and maybe mine a little bit) then here are 3 quick tips to have a go at:

1)      Get to know your team

Yes, you’re right all of your team are different, and thank Goodness for that. Who wants a team that are all exactly the same right? Embrace their uniqueness and really get to know them properly. I know, I know this takes time – but time worth spending. Find out what makes them tick, what floats their boat (and what really doesn’t!) Find out about their lives outside of work, what they love about their jobs and what they hate, what they did before they worked with you and what they want to do in the future… oh, and find out what they want from you as a manager (not a question that gets asked a whole lot!)

By learning about the great individuals within your team you will not only be able to build rapport and trust (which are the foundations of any great relationship) but you’ll also learn about how to work with them.


2)      Be fair – but flexible

Think about all the people in your life  – your parents, your children, your partner, your siblings, and your friends…you don’t treat them all exactly the same do you? Although they all have you in common you realise that they’re all completely different, so you’ll speak to them in a different way to maybe get the same message across. The same applies here. Be consistent with your values and your expectations, but flex the way that you communicate, give feedback or even praise people. Once you really get to know your team you’ll find that you’re able to do this easier. For example – if one of your team likes loads of detail, whilst someone else likes top line info – you can flex the way you communicate with them without taking too much time.

3)      Role model the way

By being the role model for the behaviours and standards required from your team and demonstrating your company values every day you are sending the message out loud and clear exactly what you expect of your team. Whether you realise it or not, your team will be looking to you for guidance and your behaviour is the quickest and best way that they’ll get it. Lead the way, and show them what great looks like.

Give these quick tips a try and let me know how you get on or your own tips for managing different people by leaving a comment As always please feel free to share with your friends, colleagues and network.


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