Leverage One’s Working Style For Meaningful, Actionable 2015 Goals
Have you collaborated on 2015 goals with those you lead?
One young manager I’ve been coaching since she was identified as an emerging leader mid-way through 2014, said to me recently, “They should know what to do once they hear the big picture initiative, right? They know the expected result; why do I have to point out each step to get them there?”
Her assertions that her staff of very capable IT experts “just weren’t critical thinkers” and “lacked motivation to take the initiative on new projects” was, as I quickly discovered; quite short sighted.
All but two of these professionals were highly detail oriented folks, always precise with their multi-page reports and lengthy email responses. Every inquiry was met with silence and a request to further study the issue even if, as this manager states, “there wasn’t an issue.” The other members of the team were quiet and hard pressed to voice an opinion on “much of anything,” She believed all were unengaged and certainly didn’t care about the team’s success. In fact; to her they required constant attention and direction in order to “accomplish the work of the department.”
My conversations with team members revealed a very different picture.
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The conscientious style of the majority of team members was affirmed with their calm, straight forward, unemotional behaviors so very different from their manager’s own energizing, “big picture,” people focused manner. Their focus on accuracy, quality precision in their work was rarely acknowledged publicly or individually. One team member told me how several of them worked until the wee hours of the morning on several occasions to complete projects they analyzed for the manager so that she could be confident in the recommendations she took to senior leaders. They appeared proud of their ability to work together producing high quality deliverables even if they were sometimes past due dates.
The other two team members exhibiting a laid back, accommodating style tended to be much less enthusiastic about team tasks than this manager even though they really liked her and looked forward to team social events and gatherings. They talked about their roles supporting others on the team, how they appreciated the routine nature of the work they did and how everyone seemed to get along really well most of the time.
Understanding the behavioral styles of others; their values, what motivates them, their fears, their approaches to solving problems and making decisions is critical to helping develop the action steps necessary to meet their individual and team goals. For some people, we demonstrate their absolute value to us when we affirm their desire to know the overall, big picture goals while letting them hammer out the path to get there. For others, knowing the specific actions we want them to take and sometimes helping by identifying the required resources, timelines and expected challenges along the way, is most assuring to their action planning.
Helping to establish meaningful goals that motivate action will be easier when we look beyond knowledge, skill or ability to personal values and preferences of each individual’s working style. Identifying and even providing opportunities to leverage those style strengths while minimiing potential blind spots is a leader’s responsibility ensuring success for everyone.
Sheila Krejci, M.Ed HRD
Leadership & Learning and Developmental consultant Sheila Krejci specializes in helping experts craft and deliver compelling presentations motivating their audiences with a call to action. She designs and delivers research-based, interactive workshops, training events, and individual and peer coaching sessions with professionals in all industries called upon to share their expertise with others.
She is an award winning authorized partner in Wiley Publishing and an author of The Engaging Expert: a Fieldbook for Occasional Presenters & Accidental Trainers and Networking is a Lifetime Skill: Giving, encouraging and supporting without keeping score.