Working in a team is never easy. Different people with different backgrounds, beliefs, and morals have several, sometimes opposite, opinions at a time. On the other hand, running a team is harder still. As a manager, you are tasked to work on something with the help of diverse team members. However, having team members who are different from each other need not be problematic. There are ways to identify what each member brings in the team and how to make it work.
This does not exactly mean you, the manager. There is usually someone in your team who is so organized from big projects down to the workplace design. This member is usually the one with a very tidy desk, and a board full of memo pads. The manager actually monitors the tasks of the team, whether it is asked or not. He is much updated with the progress of the project.
However, this member likes defined tasks with very clear goals and schedules. Meaning, he finds it hard to join brainstorming sessions or any other projects that need creative thinking or original ideas. It does not mean that he lacks creativity. It’s just that it lies elsewhere, like organizing events or coordinating with people.
How to manage a manager: Assign him to projects that have clear quota, schedule, and goals. Also, running a team is a breeze for a manager, making him your perfect assistant or protégée.
Let’s imagine a team member who dresses “differently” from the others. Let this member be a girl, who marches on her own drums and always seems to be out of sync with everyone in the team. You might have scratched your head how to help her help the team, but that just might not be the best solution. More often than not, an artist is juggling dozens of ideas in her head most of the time. This is why she seems to be day-dreaming for most of the day. This type of member should not be stuck doing the same job over and over again. If so, you are wasting a very valuable talent. Usually very creative and innovative, the artist can offer out-of-the-box ideas that might improve projects. According to Jim Taggart of Changing Winds, the artist “sees the big picture and likes ideas and concepts. She lets the team’s vision and mission be the driver. She doesn’t like getting bogged down in details”.
How to manage an artist: Let her be whoever she wants to be. Forcing someone with a lot of creativity in a box usually hampers their confidence. Make her lead brainstorming sessions and always ask her opinion about projects that need creativity like marketing or PR. However, constantly check if she meets her deadlines as she can favor perfectionism over goals.
More often than not, a workaholic is the one who often stays late to see a project through. His razor sharp focus is envied by everyone in the team, probably including you, and he usually has the biggest contributions in any project. Unlike the manager, the workaholic loves solitary tasks. No one can disturb him when he is “in the zone”. You are usually surprised how he manages to finish multiple tasks or projects on time. He has a can-do attitude and won’t say “no” to any task. However, the workaholic has the potential to become, well, workaholic. This is detrimental to him as burn-out is just right around the corner. Losing him in the team will greatly affect your productivity.
How to manage a workaholic: The manager and the workaholic can be a perfect pair. He can get his hands dirty while the manager can monitor his progress and make sure he does not overwork himself. It is also important to ensure that the artist and the workaholic understand each other as the latter brings to life the ideas created by the former.
This type of worker is very critical with what he and the team do. He usually criticizes idea brought up during meeting and dissects it. Others in the team may not appreciate his insights as he often gives them without hesitation. He can be very direct and at some point, tactless. However, you know that his ideas are valid and essential to your team.
On the other hand, he can be hard on himself also. He aims to provide the team with perfect ideas that he succumbs to insecurity. This leads to hiding his original ideas and rely too much on others.
How to manage an investigator: He can be very valuable in the team; however his delivery of message needs to be adjusted. Teach him how to give positive criticisms and suggestions. He can be the future team manager, but his talents should be developed by you. Work with him closely and ask for his opinion every now and then.
Not to be confused with the Workaholic, the Worker does usually render overtime and provide extra effort. Most of your team member is a Worker. He may not have the intensity of the Manager or the creativity of the Artist, but he gets things done. Of course, his performance can be extremely efficient to completely frustrating. Although not a prominent member of the team, he is essential to the success of your projects and the organization itself.
He may be just passing by and waiting for the right career. Sometimes he may seem uninterested and just follows the crowd. However, given the right motivation and goal setting, he can be an asset to the team.
How to manage a worker: Most of your team members are probably workers. Since they are not looking to “make it big” in the company, there should be a constant flow of motivation from you. Changes in tasks are also necessary to avoid burn-out due to routines.
This should be you! There’s a reason why it’s better to be a leader than a manager. A manager monitors tasks, numbers, and productivity. A leader inspires, motivates, and pushes the team for improvement. It is not necessary for you to be liked by everyone; however, it is important that you are respected by your team. This means your work ethics should be in-line with the company’s mission and vision. You should be an example of how not to work hard, but how to work smart. Building relationships with your team and helping them build their own with each other is the key to making a very diverse team work. Share a positive energy that is very contagious. Instead of annoying the team with constant reminders about the project, why not help them solve the issues creatively? Believing in their capabilities allows them to work on their own while keeping tabs with their progress. It’s a balancing act, but you are in your position for a reason.
Anna Rodriguez is a training manager for a Philippine real estate developer. She also has varied background in real estate brokerage, investing, and content writing
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