First understand … then manage

If you want to successfully manage a team, you must first understand them.

In a world of educated people, where the work they have to do is much more cerebral than manual, traditional management by “command and control” is no longer effective.  Think of the old adage, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” and you pretty much have where we are with the old fashioned thinking of “do as I say, not as I do.”

If we are to get our people to “drink” once we get them to the water, and we know we cannot force them, then what can we do?  Well, the analogy works well if we take it a stage further. We know that people have to drink to survive, and it is understandable that frustrations arise when people don’t do as we expect them to.

So if we apply this to managing a team, we know that most people do actually like to work; if not, then there would be many more people unemployed.  We also know that people prefer to be happy than sad, and that the more something makes a person happy, the more they will be inclined to do it.  So we just have to make our team members happy, and they will be more effective.  But the challenge is that not everybody is wired in the same way, and what motivates one person may not work for another.

 The challenge of diversity

We all know that each human is totally unique.  If we were all motivated and driven by the same things life might be simpler, but it would definitely be less interesting.  Diverse teams are better for business, as they solve problems faster and bring more ideas to the table.  Studies have shown that we fall all into one of several categories in terms of behaviour.  Once we know who belongs in which category, we can start to develop a more cohesive team.  So how do we find out about our team members’ motivating factors?

The first tool I use to categorise people is DISC profiling, which is based on the personality theory of psychologist William Marston from  way back in1928, and was developed into an assessment tool by Walter Clarke in 1956.  It is one of the oldest and most tried and tested behavioural profiling systems around today.

So who’s in your team?

Using DISC profiling tools enables you to identify the personality traits of your team members.  The tools categorise people into four basic types, dependent on whether and to what extent they are outgoing, reserved, task focused or people focused.

The D’s Dominate –  these people are outgoing, task focused, dominant and driven.

The I’s  Influence –  they are outgoing, people focused, inspiring and influential.

The S’s Support – reserved and people focused team members, who are steady and supportive.

The C’s Comply –  people who are reserved, task focused, compliant and correct.

Understanding the different personalities of their team will help management  to recognise that they need to engage with each behavioural type in a different way.  D’s like a challenge, they like to take charge and not mess around.  I ‘s need to be liked, and want recognition and praise when they are doing things right.  S’s work best with a team, supporting others and keeping out of the limelight.  C’s love a problem to solve, but would rather solve it on their own.

Get a deeper understanding

There is a second profiling tool which should be used in conjunction with DISC .  For me, it adds a vital extra dimension to the profile and gives a much better understanding of the person.  This tool identifies people’s motivational factors and this goes into the real core of who we are as human beings.

Cutting away all the superfluous factors, a human being is made up of three elements – Mind, Body and Spirit.  You can go back thousands of years and all writings, wherever you are in the world, talk about the essence of mankind as being these three things.

So to be motivated, happy and at one with ourselves and the universe, we should  be seeking harmony between these three aspects.  To grow our mind, we need to be learning new skills.  To grow our body, we need to be doing new activities.  To grow our spirit we need to be connecting and building relationships with others, because we are, after all, essentially social creatures.

So a Dominant person might be motivated by performing at a higher level, learning new skills to do this and seeking recognition from peers of a job well done.  A Supportive type might want to learn more, so they can provide better support and feel more valued by the team.  Compliant people will want to be the best they can be so that they can perform to perfection, and are not that bothered about recognition from others.  The Influencers want the world to love them, and will do what is necessary to achieve that.

By understanding these concepts, I believe that we can manage anybody, and motivate them to achieve goals that benefit both themselves and the business.  So go on, take ACTION, apply the tools to get a better understanding of your people and start building an engaged team.

To find out more about DISC profiling and motivational factors, you can contact me on 02380 560833.