What type of manager are you? A common question. Whenever I deliver management training, I usually hear from managers that they have a specific leadership style. They say things like, “I’m not a micro-manager. My people do their jobs and know they can come to me with questions.” Others say, “I don’t think of myself as manager. We all work as a team to accomplish the same goal.” Still others say, “I set the goals and check in regularly for updates.” They sometimes start a debate about which management style is best. Eventually, they ask me to weigh in. My answer is that the best management style is the one that works for each individual employee.
We have all heard of the golden rule—treat others as you want to be treated. In general, this is a good philosophy both in your personal life as well as in management. Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect. We all would like to be dealt with honestly, fairly, and kindly. As a manager, you cannot go wrong following this principle. However, if you are ready to go beyond the golden rule to the platinum rule—treat others as they want to be treated—you are going to need some insight into how your employees want to be treated.
For example, how do you recognize your employees when they go the extra mile? Some employees prefer public recognition in front of their peers. Some employees prefer to be recognized privately by their manager. Some would like money, and others would prefer time off work. How do you know? You could ask each employee directly. I had one manager who did that. It was a little awkward stating how I prefer to be recognized, but I appreciated that she wanted to know. Another way to gain this insight is to have them take the Omnia behavioral assessment.
Let’s follow the story of a manager, Sharon, and her employee, Don. Sharon noticed that Don was working extra hard on a time-sensitive, enterprise-wide project and having fantastic results. She wanted to recognize his efforts. Sharon considered her options. She decided to look at his Omnia report for insight into Don’s motivators.
According to his Omnia report, Sharon found that Don is a Logistical Driver. The Logistical Driver’s columns are 1, 4, 5 with balanced or nearly balanced columns 7 and 8. Let’s explore what that means.
Knowing all this, Sharon decides to recognize Don with an email of sincere praise using supporting evidence for his efforts along with a shout-out of his individual achievement during the next team meeting. These motivational actions align with the Logistical Leader’s individualistic nature and analytical thinking style.
Don’s Omnia report made it easy to take a recognition action that would resonate. Sharon does not just stop there though; she uses the information in his report to take his overall performance management to the platinum level as well. By understanding Don’s preferences, she can manage performance review and performance improvement conversations more effectively.
Sharon can also use the data to set goals and build out a development plan specifically for Don. For example, Don did so well on the enterprise-wide project, and she knows from conversations with him along with his behavioral style that he is ready to take a leadership role. Based on this, Sharon is confident about assigning him to lead the next cross-functional project.
When she offers him the role, Don is thrilled! And he feels truly appreciated by the opportunity to move into a leadership role and prove himself for the next step in his career path.
So, the next time you find yourself caught up in “your style” of management, remember to look to your employees to find what they need from you. Sharon recognizing Don with the opportunity to lead was a great fit for him. However, some of Sharon’s other employees who do not want to move into leadership may have been discouraged by being put up for the lead role. In fact, it may motivate some to quit! Seek out insight into your employees’ motivators and watch them flourish and grow.