It’s not all about you

We are very clear on what we need from our managers regarding direction, support, mentorship, recognition, etc. When we become people managers, we can make the misstep of managing through the lens of what we need.

For example, I don’t need a lot of recognition, so I don’t provide much recognition to my team. But on the other hand, I didn’t particularly appreciate working with micromanagers, so I now offer my team members the outcome I am looking for and let them go on their way.

The question, though, isn’t about what you need. Instead, what does your team member need?

Members aren’t getting what they need from those managing

My clients aren’t consciously trying to ignore their team members’ needs. However, a blindspot that shows up, often through 360 surveys, is that team members aren’t getting what they need from their leader.

In many cases, my clients have mentioned that because they don’t need a specific behavior from their manager, they can unintentionally overlook that their team members need it.  

Learn your team’s needs

Different team members have different needs regarding the amount of direction they need. In addition, they have different needs in terms of support throughout a project.

You will need different follow-up techniques with team members if you’re managing.

You will have different personality styles on your team; some members need more connection points, and some won’t. Communication is different. Recognition looks different across team members as well. 

Managing communication is key

A team member should let you know when their needs aren’t being met in these ways. It certainly happened when a report mentioned that I dive too quickly into new/upcoming projects without spending time recognizing the success of the project we just completed.

I had no idea that it was negatively affecting the team. I was proud of the job we had done and felt that the work stood for itself…for me. I did not need to spend time recapping the success, but my team members did.

 

How can I identify this potential blindspot?

  • Take some time to reflect on this topic. Identify what you need from your manager regarding connection, direction, support, follow-up, career development/mentorship, communication, and recognition. Now challenge yourself to answer the question through the lens of your team members. Where might you need to spend more time? 
  • If you don’t have team members who will speak up, ask them. You can frame it as, what should I start, stop, and continue doing? It’s an easier way for you to get feedback from your team members. 
  • If you want to keep the feedback anonymous and from multiple sources, consider a 360 assessment. 

Reflect on the needs before the outcomes

It’s natural, when managing others, to lead them through behaviors that work for us. However, we need to spend more time reflecting on the needs of our team and see what small changes we can make that lead to significant results.

We are not trying to boil the ocean and tackle everything. We are not looking to make 180-degree shifts. Instead, focus on the minor adjustments you can make, as they can often lead to big results.