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How to Get to Know the Team You Are Leading

by Charli Mills

As a supervisor, you manage your work responsibilities along with those of your team. When you make time to get to know the people you are leading, you build relationships that can make the difference between an employee staying or quitting. You also create an environment of trust in which the team feels motivated to meet goals and contribute to company success. Your team will recognize your genuine efforts to get to know their perspectives and contributions.

Beverage in Hand

Coffee has a sociable quality and as a leader, you’ll appear more approachable with a beverage in hand. If your team is small enough, meet with each person individually for coffee, tea or a smoothie. If your team is larger, set up a beverage forum to meet with five to ten team members at a time. The point is to get away from your desk duties and to seek feedback about the issues your team faces daily, such as having the right tools to get the responsibilities met.

Strengths

An effective way to get to know your team is to understand their strengths. The book and assessment, “Strengths Finder 2.0” by business author Tom Rath is based on 40 years of Gallup research and is aimed at helping people understand how to do your best everyday. The assessment is quick, but requires a person to own the book to get the link to the test. The team understands each person's strengths when you share the results together. It also gives you insight on what engages each team member.

Visioning

Visioning is a method of connecting success to goals. When you get to know your team, you understand how they relate to the goals of the team. You can work on a vision as a group exercise, letting everybody contribute to the grand picture of what success looks and feels like. Ultimately, the team has a clearer picture of results and feels more engaged in the process. You also have a better idea of how in tune your team is with the projects at hand.

Communicating Expectations

As a supervisor, it is vital to communicate clear expectations. While getting to know your team, you are also creating an environment for the team to produce the best work possible. Companies often use annual reviews to measure how expectations are being met. Meet quarterly with your team to communicate updates and include your team members in their own progress. It’s also opportunity for you to correct a problem before it gets out of hand, or to praise good work before it's forgotten.

Resources

  • Strengths Finder 2.0; Tom Rath

About the Author

Charli Mills has covered the natural food industry since 2001 as a marketing communications manager for a highly successful retail cooperative. She built teams, brands and strategies. She is a writer and editor of "This is Living Naturally," a consultant for Carrot Ranch Communications and a Master Cooperative Communicator.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images