Some days as a leader, you start thinking that working with plants instead of people would be a fantastic idea because there’s just so much drama, disunity and disharmony within your team! It feels like you’re back at high school some days!
Though if you’re not truly planning a career in Horticulture, pay attention as I’ve got some tips today to help you navigate the often murky waters of creating unity and harmony among the people you lead, so you can get on with business.
In my last article, we got talking about the positive impact that edifying your people, both publicly and privately, has on their level of devotion and loyalty to you as the leader and to the team culture as a whole. And, I touched on the necessity that to properly edify your people, you need to know your team and know them well, and in this instance, you need to know how they like to be edified.
For example, say for instance, a member of your team did a cracking job, taking it upon themselves to develop a new idea for a client, pull a proposal together, present it and then win new business and you, being incredibly impressed and grateful, planned a surprise thank you morning tea for them in front of the whole company. However, what you didn’t realise was that they hate being made a big deal of in front of a group of people – they’d rather cut off their right arm than have to be in front of a group to receive praise! So, your well-intentioned plans fall flat, and actually have the opposite effect to the one you well-meaningly intended, all because you didn’t know how they like to be praised and edified. So instead of increasing their belief in you as the leader, you’ll probably get the opposite effect, all because you didn’t take the time to intentionally find out how they like to be recognised and praised.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that all praise is good praise for everyone, just because it could be for you, as often that’s not the case at all.
How well do you know your key people?
Do you know what makes them tick?
Do you know the main reason they come to work each day?
What’s their partners name?
Do you know what they value?
Do you know what makes them feel valued?
Do you know how they liked to be edified?
How well you truly know your key people has a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of your leadership.
When you truly take the time to know each of your key people, it allows you to tailor your leadership style to suit each key individual, and this results in you as the leader showing you actually care about your employee beyond just a member of your team just to serve a purpose. And when you do this, you build your people up on the inside and they in turn can’t help but increase their loyalty and devotion to you, building unity and harmony and thus helping you achieve the vision you have for your business. Nice hey? So simple yet so powerful.
You can’t expect to relate to each person the same and get the same result. If you do, you’ll most likely find that you won’t get the most out those who you’re not relating well to.
I’ve been leading teams since 1988 and I’ve found two strategies extremely effective to help me get to know my key people better and they are firstly, to get to know their Personality Profile, and secondly, get to know their primary Love Languages.
Florence Littauer, in her book, Personality Plus, outlines 4 key Personality Profiles that give leaders key insights into how an individual operates. I read that book for the first time in 1990 and it had a profound effect on my life and my wife’s life, because we were close to getting divorced. What it did was take the scales off our eyes and we understood for the first time what our personality strengths and personality weaknesses were. We understood what our partners’ personality was and gave us strategies for us to be able to unify and align within our own relationship and today we’re still married, some 31 years later. If it wasn’t for that book, there would’ve been no way we could have maintained our own relationship, nor develop the unity and harmony within our life and within our businesses.
I took the principles of Personality Plus and deliberately bought them into my business life, into my client’s lives and into professional sport, with great success. Without understanding people, which starts with understanding yourself, you won’t be able to create unity and harmony.
Florence Littauer’s Personality Profiles are:
- Sanguine – the extrovert, the talker, the optimist
- Melancholy – the introvert, the thinker, the pessimist
- Phlegmatic – the introvert, the watcher, the pessimist
- Choleric – the extrovert, the doer, the optimist
You can find out which profile you are, and that of your people, by doing the simple profiling test that Florence outlines in her book. She then goes into great detail of each Personality Profile and explains the strengths and weaknesses of each. I can’t recommend her book highly enough as it truly was a game changer for not only my marriage but also my business and those of my clients.
Do you know your Personality Profile?
Do you know the Personality Profile of your key people?
To build unity and harmony, you also need to understand the 5 Love Languages as defined in Gary Chapman’s book of the same title. I teach all my clients that when you understand the Love Languages of the people you lead, you’re working on the heart and spirit of your organisation to build trust, and this in turn creates unity and harmony, which in my experience is essential for getting to where you want to go.
We all have different things in our heart that make us feel valued and special and when leaders know what makes each member on their team feel special and adjust their leadership to suit, it’s pretty powerful as you’re showing that you really do care for each of your key people, and this my friends, pays dividends to your team performance.
Gary Chapman has identified 5 overall Love Languages that apply and they are:
- Words of affirmation, e.g. “Your contribution to the project was invaluable”, “I love how you handled that difficult client”
- Physical touch, e.g. a high five, a hand shake, a hug, a pat on the back
- Quality time, e.g. a coffee, dinner at your home, a one on one meeting
- Acts of service, e.g. helping with a difficult task
- Receiving gifts, e.g. buying them tickets to an event they’d like, buying a lunch/coffee
In his book, Gary explains each of the 5 Love Languages in detail to give you the ability to better understand and care for the key people in your life, from your partner and kids, to the significant people you surround yourself with.
This isn’t about getting all mushy with Stan in Accounting, but what it is about is knowing how you can best show Stan, how much you appreciate all he does for your business – perhaps getting a coffee at his favourite cafe (quality time) or purchasing him a cap from his favourite sporting team (receiving gifts). It all depends on his Love Language!
How do you like to be shown love, care and appreciation?
Do you know how your key people like to be shown?
So, here’s two things to focus upon for your key people – knowing their Personality Profiles and Love Languages – to ensure you know them in a meaningful way and in a way that builds them up, makes their heart a little bit bigger, as after all, as leaders, that should be our job, right? It’s our responsibility to care for those we lead and, truly taking the time to intentionally get to know your people and serving them will pay dividends for not only achieving unity and harmony, but also for you to achieve the vision you have for your business.
How well do you truly know your people?
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I trust it helps you build your leadership strength so you can live a better life!
Take care and keep climbing!
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I case you missed them, here are the links to the rest of the Servant Leadership Series: