Libraries could be filled with the books written about creating, managing and motivating teams. Most of them are missing quite a bit of vital information!
I’ve managed and motivated teams since 1979, and in that time I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. I’ve studied everything I could get my hands on, and tested it in the real world. What follows is an introduction to what I know works.
Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates documented that there were four ‘types’ of people, and many have rediscovered it since – for example Myers-Briggs, DISC, Enneagram and all the others. La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia has research including brain scans that demonstrates that there are indeed four types.
These ‘types’ are not racial, they do not follow family lineages, and members of the same club are likely to have many and varied ‘types’. It’s just tough to argue with the wealth of information (and brain scans!) that there are indeed four types of people.
That’s relevant to teams because the different types of people respond best to different management styles. Most existing texts present a single ‘best’ way to manage a team, so by definition they miss out the other three types of people.
To get the best out of the entire team there needs to be a mix of cultures that allows each person to do their individual best. Most likely each organisation will find a different and equally successful mix. Contact us if you want more detailed advice.
The four working styles are:
The Thinker – needs to plan everything before starting anything. They will also develop that plan in their head, and will not usually even announce that they are planning until the whole plan has been completely thought out.
The Actor – needs to get started with the ‘doing’ part of the project as soon as possible. Immediately there is agreement, meaning in the middle of the meeting, is just fine by them!
The Feeler – needs to be convinced that this is a good, worthwhile venture before wanting to start at all. Cannot give their best unless they mentally ‘sign up’.
The Realist – doesn’t much care about yesterday or tomorrow, they just want a good, practical direction with solid, predictable results.
All of these can be productive, and produce the exactly right result, although just like there are different ways to travel (walk, car, train, plane and boat for example) different tasks will be better suited to the different styles.
Your job as Manager is to allow for these different work styles, and in so doing you maximise the productivity of your team. That doesn’t mean that you have to establish an environment where there are no rules at all, only that you need to be aware and allow for some flexibility on an individual basis.
What stories do you have regarding working in teams? Are you a good team player or not, or do you know someone who demonstrated one of these work styles?