I had some great feedback about the questions last week and so I wanted to bring some more questions. These next questions we did not have time to answer so the answers to them are really my take, rather than anything else.
As a team leader, what if you don’t get along with your team? What if you just cannot connect with some people in your team?
For me this is a really interesting topic. Let us start with one the most effective leadership styles: to take the time to know and acare about your team members is one of the most effective ways to position yourself to be a good leader.
Now, if we start from there and you find that in your team there are people who you just cannot get along…. Well, on a normal capitalistic day to day approach the answer would be simple: replace them. But could there be another approach?
As I talk about this other approach I want you to keep in mind something really important: imagine what message your actions are sending to your team. If we assume the replacement route the message you are sending to your team is rather clear: get along with me or you are out. Is this motivational? Will this inspire others to work with you and go beyond the call to support you? Will this generate a team feeling or fear?
OK! So what else could we do? One of my old bosses once suggested that the most effective way to deal with a difficult client was to help that person to get a promotion. This is a very similar approach. If you have a team member who is just not connecting maybe one way to deal with them is to find them another opportunity. Surely as a leader and executive you have friends who also have teams. Would one of them not need another resource? Why not reach out in your network and see if there is anyone who needs a team member?
Well, this bring about a very important question, no? If you don’t connect with that team member can you still recommend that person?
My answer this is is rather simple: is the connection necessary for you to see the skills and assets of an individual? Can you see through your inability to connect to understand that persons value?
For example, I don’t like Trump. Maybe I am alone in this view, maybe not, but personally I do not appreciate his views, his mannerism, his behaviors etc. Yet, I am in awe of his ability to communicate and to move people through his rhetoric…
If you are able to pick out the skills of the people you find difficult to connect with in your team, then you can easily recommend this person to another team that may need those skills!
Now let us imagine the message you are sending to your team. Remember when you, hypothetically, replaced someone? What feelings and message did that generate? How did that impact the dynamic of the team? Now let us imagine that instead you took this person who was not connecting and you offered them an opportunity somewhere else… “Hi Joe Blogs, a good friend of mine called me today and asked if I knew anyone with X skills, they need this person to take on this role and I thought of you. Now, I know that you are a team member here but I thought I should talk to you as this seems like a great opportunity. What do you think?”
Would you like to be treated in this way?
As the harmony of the team returns when this individual leaves, what would your team members think? Would they believe that you are looking out for them and have their interests in your heart or that you see them as dispensable? If they see you as a caring person will this improve or hinder communication?
Let me know your thoughts!