People are one of your primary responsibilities as a leader. You manage relationships with strategic partners and customers, both inside and outside of your organization. Chances are that you really focus on these relationships. You know who the key players are, what they’re good at and what their shortcomings are. If you need something from them, you probably know the best way to approach them. Are you as knowledgeable about your own team?
Some time ago, I was with an executive who was talking to a leader about upcoming salary increases. I was surprised when the leader didn’t know the person who he had recommended for an increase that was triple the average in his group. This high performing employee reported to one of his direct reports. He couldn’t provide any specifics about what made the person a high performer.
It is important to know who is on your team – beyond your direct reports and here are four reasons why:
1) Business is always changing and people will need to be reassigned periodically, including possibly your special projects. You should know what your talent pool is and what their strengths and weaknesses are without having to rely completely on people who report to you.
2) As someone involved in hiring and staff development processes, you should have an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your team so that you can keep your team properly calibrated to meet its goals.
3) As an employee, knowing that the boss’s boss (or boss’s boss’s boss) knows more than my name and cares enough about me to talk to me is a big motivator. It makes me feel connected to something larger and much more willing to bring my very best to my job.
4) Every company wants to keep an eye on high performing talent so that they can be given opportunities to grow. Not knowing what stars are hiding on your team doesn’t reflect well on you. Furthermore, when asked about the people on your team, don't you want to know firsthand who you're talking about?
How can you meet them? Depending on the number and location, make a point of talking to every single one of them one on one every few months. If you are an introvert and don’t do well meeting people on an impromptu basis, be intentional. Set up 10-15 minute meetings with everyone who reports to you. You might even ask them to come prepared to talk to you about anything that they think you could do to improve the functioning of the group and/or what activity puts them into flow – a place where they work on something oblivious to the passage of time. You’ll be surprised at how much people are willing to share once you break the ice and how much you will learn. The next time you need someone for that important special project, you will know exactly who the perfect person is.
QUESTION: How do you get to know your team?
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi is a certified Hogan provider. She works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.