Ever tried to herd cats into the bath? That’s what it can feel like when you’re the one in charge.
Whether you are the owner of a business, the manager of a store or division, or volunteered to head up the committee or fundraiser, being in charge of a wide variety of people brings on a whole new dynamic to interpersonal relationships.
But before we get to all those crazy people you’re trying to herd, let’s start with the parameters under which you are in charge. First and foremost, are you crystal clear on your job description and your mission? If the person in charge is not clear on what they are expected to produce, that trickles down and plays into the weaknesses and fears of the people you are trying to lead.
Once you have the role well-defined and a mission that you can convey to a third grader, are you actually playing that part? Women especially need to get this next part – being in charge does not mean that you are everyone’s therapist, nor does it mean that you have to be a bitch to get things done. Even if you’re a volunteer manager for the PTA Spring Fling, your job is not to make everyone happy. That is insanity. And if you’re in charge of the sales team that has not met its quota in the past five months putting your own job in jeopardy, bearing down harder is not the answer either.
Understanding personality styles, layered with strengths and weaknesses, will make you a better manager of both people and projects. People who are in the right role for their personality style and skill set will tend to operate from their strengths, and people who are not will operate from their weaknesses. Your job is to motivate them, utilize them, and train them in ways that fulfill your mission while getting the best from them.
For the Talker in your group, they are energized around people and want to be liked. If you have a Talker stuck in a back room doing data entry, chances are they will find every excuse in the book to get up from their desk and wander around. The Talker is also not the person you want in charge of money or tracking sales and commissions. They might be capable of doing it, but they do not love doing it so they will tend to cut corners, be disorganized, or miss deadlines. Put your Talker in front of people and in charge of group rah-rah sessions.
The Doer in the office likes to be in charge, even if they are not. I worked with a client who hired a young lady to be the receptionist and a floating assistant, but she took it upon herself to tell everyone from the Vice President of the company to the UPS man how to do their job. The intervention was not pretty, but once she realized that she could earn her way into higher training programs and promotions by learning the ropes, her whole attitude changed. Keep your Doers challenged, but in check. They are also very good in roles where a presentation or a sales call requires some hard convincing. They command authority when operating at their best.
The Thinker in the group oftentimes comes across as the pessimist. They sit in a meeting and start to shoot down every idea or challenge every sentence, even before you’ve finished it. Their brain is very detail oriented and constantly on the lookout for risk. Make sure this person is appreciated for their attention to detail, put them in positions requiring detailed accounting, or technical things, but don’t let their perfectionism slow you to a grinding halt.
The Watcher is your Gal Friday sort of person who seems to be able to do just about anything, but often gets dumped on. They show little emotion until they are pushed over their limit, so if you see someone who always seemed to be calm just losing it over something little, understand that this has been building for a while. They are very analytical but not very opinionated. They would rather take a vote than make a decision. But their insights can often prove to be that missing key you were looking for so take time to ask them their thoughts on a new project or a better way to do things, just don’t put them on the spot.
Each of these four social styles needs to be motivated a little differently so your company rewards program or your inter-office contest will usually produce the same winners unless you change things up.
To motivate the Talker, move the spotlight. They love to be the center of attention and if the “reward” remains the same, they will become bored.
To motivate the Doer, set a new goal. They are very goal and production oriented so keeping the reward at the same place month after month will have them looking somewhere else for something exciting, or starting a little coup against you.
To motivate the Thinker, change the policy. This person is very driven by rules, regulations, fairness and equal discipline. If they are problematic on your team, get them to analyze where the policies might need some sprucing up and then take their suggestions seriously. They might be on to something.
To motivate the Watcher, take a vote. They have good ideas, but don’t want to be left holding the bag if it all goes wrong. They want to give input, but they don’t want to be in the spotlight when they do. They crumble under authoritative demands, but like having an opportunity to vote on a new project.
These motivation tips are ways to draw people in and make them want to work harder and better for the team. When people do not feel like they have some skin in the game, then they are just coming to a J-O-B and that creates an environment for rotten fruit to ruin the whole basket.
If you’d like to know more about the four personality social styles, check out the Personality Plus assessment for free HERE.