Invest in Your Team – Know Them

It’s easy to forget that we people first, employees, team-members, SMEs, and executives second. Unfortunately the natural result is that we find variation and difference in who we are before we understand the similarities that we all share.

The result? Conflict. And it’s your job to manage it well. You see, people are truly the X-Factor.

You just never know how team dynamics will play out until you grow with your team or company. Some people work very well together, some people just don’t work out at all.

I’m always hesitant when I hear that someone left a company due to “not being a good culture fit.” I believe it is the fault of the employer almost 99% of the time for the individual leaving the company. Why? Because the company or boss did not care enough to know who that person was: Their passions, drivers, or what incentives move them to action.

In fact, the culture fit probably should have been the most-vetted area, even before skill set!

I worked with a company in which there were several individuals on a team that were very hard nuts to crack. They had prickly personalities and were rough-around-the-edges types of people. The company culture was changing – they were moving to Agile under my guidance. After many different types of attempts to bring them on board it seemed that it may just be impossible to get their full support.

Something had to give. Something had to change or we were headed in the wrong direction.

Understand Your People

After many different attempts I discovered the solution – it started with one individual and was tremendously simple: A conversation, coupled with a challenge: 

“Have you ever considered that people may see you as a leader?”

“No… not really.”

“Well, people do. They need your leadership and guidance to help us build this product better…”

“Really? I guess so…”

“What do you think your attitude does to the environment your team members live in? It’s hard for them to approach you, it’s hard for them to collaborate with you because of your general attitude.”

“Seriously? Wow, I hope I didn’t offend anyone…”

“Well, you’ll have to work on that. They need a leader. I know if you get up and help out more, get involved, people will be able to work with you better and we can create a better product.”

Don’t Give Up

People are an enigma until you make the serious attempt to get to know them. In more times than most it’ll take time to get to know that person.

Sometimes, even a bit of tough love may just work. You’ve hired (hopefully) top talent to help your company grow. That isn’t where the investment stops. Invest time into your people. Get to know them. Grow your relationships. Whatever industry you are in, it is the people who help teams and companies succeed.

[VIA: CTOBlog]

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8 Responses to “Invest in Your Team – Know Them”

  1. Sameer Bendre
    November 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Very sensible, 100% practical, words of encouragement – Peter. Solid!

  2. AgileRenee
    November 25, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    Firstly Peter you need to stop having this freaky mental telepathy with me. I was just about to do a blog so terribly similar to this it is scary. Take into account that the cult post is similar to a one I did a bit over a month ago and people will think we are twins.

    Anyway I really loved the opening bits and the motivation/cultural elements really rang true but when you got to the example of how you handled a problem person I felt lost. You didn’t ask them any reflective questions, you didn’t encourage them to find the solution, whilst you may have results with this I fear a number of people (ie those not good with criticism) could take this poorly. When did you ask them what motivated them? When did you ask them about the optimum culture they wanted to see?

    I remember hearing recently – people don’t join an organization unmotivated – we make them that way by the culture we have and the work we give them.

    I will try to expand further in my blog tonight.

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