By Monika Kristofferson Office Efficiency
“Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield. The time you spend with your best is, quite simply, your most productive time.”
— Marcus Buckingham
Have you ever been on a team or worked with a colleague and your personalities didn’t quite click? The tension and butting of heads can definitely create a stressful work environment. Have you ever had a job that wasn’t a good fit for you to showcase your strengths and talents?
After I graduated from high school, I worked at a daycare with toddlers. Growing up as an only child and no parenting experience yet, I hated it. I can still remember how great I felt the day I quit that job and, of course, that was quite a few years ago.
It’s vital for us to know how to work together as a team in the workplace as well as how to relate to the many personalities we encounter through clients, customers and ancillary services. It takes knowledge about different personalies to know how to create the right fit for job duties and people. I love this quote for matching people to jobs:
“Every minute devoted to putting the proper person in the proper slot is worth weeks of time later.”
— Colman Mockler, CEO Gillette
Who doesn’t want to save time? Not only will you save time filling roles correctly, you will help avoid feelings of frustration, stress and poor morale. One of the most common personality tests that you’ve probably heard of is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment. This can be a good first step to learning more about how your team ticks. I also appreciate these two benchmark questions from Jim Collins in his book, “Good to Great,” when you are assessing your team?
• Would you hire this person again?
• If this person came to tell you he or she was leaving, would you feel terribly disappointed or secretly relieved?
So, how do you create and foster fantastic teams? Follow these tips:
Team melting pot
Your team needs variety, it needs yin and yang. You need the outspoken person who draws out the shy, quiet person, but they shouldn’t drown them out. Keep in mind, opposites attract in marriage and in relationships. I see it all the time in my business when one spouse is organized and the other is messy. Your team cannot be made up of all Type A personalities, there’s got to be a better balance so everyone can bring their best traits to the table.
I feel like I write about delegation a lot but I firmly believe delegation is where it’s at to increase productivity. In this case, it’s an excellent way to make sure your team is being assigned tasks that they enjoy, come easily to them and are the best fit for the needs of the project. Don’t confuse delegation with sending work down the chain of command. Delegation can take place upwardly, downwardly and parallel to you in the company.
Make sure you know your own strengths and weaknesses when dealing with other personality types and work on improving your weaknesses. Accept other people as they are without trying to change them. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or others and be willing to admit your own mistakes.
Lead the way
If you’re a leader in the company, you may need to focus on leading teams more than working on projects. According to Lee Ellis in Leading Talents, Leading Teams, this is the appropriate breakdown for leadership:
• First line supervisor may work 70 percent and lead 30 percent
• Mid-level manager may work 50 percent and lead 50 percent
• Senior manager may work 20 percent and lead 80 percent
A team should work together like a well-oiled machine. Think about how emergency room staff works together when a critical patient comes in. Everyone on the team stays calm, they know what their role is, they know what do and they work together to treat the patient in a life and death situation. If the team fell apart, the consequences would be dire.
Nurture your team to keep morale, productivity and spirits up. You can do that with solid, open communication. It also helps to celebrate successes, organize social events outside of work.
It’s well worth your time and energy to build a solid team and you will reap many rewards for doing so. For further reading, I’d recommend, “Leading Talents, Leading Teams” by Lee Ellis.
Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer and productivity consultant who owns Efficient Organization NW in Lake Stevens. Reach her at 425-220-8905 or firstname.lastname@example.org.