One of the books that’s had the biggest impact on my management style of late is Susan Cain’s Quiet. Superficially a book about Introverts, Quiet got me thinking about the individuals on the Actionable team; who they are, how they work, and when they really shine. The takeaway from Quiet was that introverts are most effective in meetings when they’re given opportunity to prepare for a team discussion. Extroverts, in contrast, derive little (or certainly less) value from advance prep time, agendas, etc. I’m an extrovert. Most of my team are introverts. So I send them details on what we’re going to discuss ahead of time. Dramatically improves the quality of conversation.
Fine. But I think it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Understanding the desired working conditions of your team members – and of yourself – is an ongoing process, and one worth pursuing. Not only do you get better work from people when you can cater to their styles, you also show them that you care. At the end of the day, that’s really what we’re all looking for – to feel heard, appreciated and understood.
My opinion – the role of the leader is actually quite simple: Paint a clear picture of the future, find out what personally motivates each team member to work towards that future, and give them as much support as you possibly can to realize that future. Everything else is details.
Susan Cain is joining us for #BizBkChat – our real time Twitter conversation – on Monday, July 22nd. This is a great opportunity to interact with Susan, live.