Tailor or Force Your Approach

I woke up this morning to see an email from one of my past new managers at Intel. Nice surprise! He was looking for an answer to a question that had been burning at him for awhile. He asked his current manager, “should managers tailor their approach to fit the personalities of the team that they have?” He remembered that I touched on that subject during “New to Management: Managing Teams to Higher Performance.” Just could not remember exactly what I said. His manager told him that he should do what comes best to him. In short, do what has made you successful and get the team to follow you. Very simple and not very helpful answer I thought. What I liked about the answer was the get the team to follow… Or provide leadership! 

So, here is what I wrote back:

Great question! I think your manager was a bit vague in his answer.. I did like his part on getting the team to follow. So, building on that… Leadership is based in helping others succeed, having a vision, and the capability to utilize the knowledge, skills and abilities of your team to fulfill it. I truly believe a leader must adapt to the personalities of the team. When we discussed this in the class, everything was situational. If you have ever taken situational leadership or anything like that – key to success is in communication. Learning how to get through to each person and best motivate them is the leader’s job. By doing so creates a team of loyal, hard working team of individuals committed to the cause. That will follow you! Trying to have the team adopt to you would be like an old sports coach that only knows how to lead by bullying with a “heart” or setting up competition for the few scarce prizes. Those two ways may get results when you are around, but leave and so do the results. I have had those coaches and managers over the years, maybe good for short term results but no one every really wanted to follow them anywhere.  I hope that answered your question, if not we can always discuss further.

What do you think? Did I answer that question?

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