Why ‘One size fits all’ management fits no-one

Employers realise that diversity and innovative thinking in the workplace lead to happy clients and massive financial wins. However, what they have failed to embrace so far is that in order to effectively manage or coach a group of vastly different people, a ‘one size fits all’ management style only works where you want to achieve mediocre results. 

It stands to sense that a twenty-something recent graduate may not be motivated in the same way or by the same means as a middle-aged parent of three. Equally, an introvert should be motivated in a totally different way to an extrovert. All too often I see teams whose management experience is dictated by the leadership style of their manager at the time. Whilst it is natural for this to occur to some extent, management style should gain direction from the style of the person being managed as opposed to the manager. This is because it is the team-member who we are expecting to produce the result or piece of work, not the leader. A similar, personalised style should be applied to the leader by their manager. 

So how can we best deploy an individualised management style to each and every employee without this being too time consuming or it having an unfavourable impact on the budget? The key is to motivate each person to produce and achieve to the highest level that they can. To make them genuinely want to deliver results for your organisation, rather than just the basic transaction of their work yielding a salary paid by you. 

What is the best way to discover what motivates a person? Quite simple, really. You could ask them. While some people may not be forthcoming or indeed honest with this information when asked the question directly, it does not take many conversations to figure out what is important to someone. Once you have this information, you are well on your way to motivating this individual to produce exceptional work for your business, in return for the small investment in their satisfaction. 

I find that the best time to have a catch-up with a team-member for maximum motivation is at the beginning of the month. I like to begin these meetings by simply asking how the previous month has been, and what they would like to work towards or achieve over the next month. If you operate an annual or biannual promotion cycle, I find that is is also helpful to gently remind them that we are another month closer to the next performance review. This allows your people the time to consider their career from a perspective of one month at a time. It also keeps a focus on striving for progression for them, as many managers have suggested to me in the past that their team’s performance spikes in the couple of months leading up to the performance review. If you approach performance monitoring with more of a month-by-month approach, this ensures that both you and your team members remain focused on objectives throughout the entire cycle. 

During one-to-ones with your team, regardless of when or how often they are carried out – although I would recommend having at least monthly meetings – it is vital to take the opportunity to get to know everyone on your team well. A good way to do this is to find a system to record a piece of information on each person, for example a sport they play or how many kids they have, boys or girls etc. This way, you are able to build a relationship with your employees by taking a personal interest in each of them and discouraging the notion that they are just a number. As a result, this can encourage loyalty within your team meaning that they will be motivated to help produce the best results for your team or organisation as a whole. You can also use monthly performance tracking to discover training and development goals your employees may have with the potential of facilitating them partaking in training to extend their expertise within the team. This is both inspiring for them and adds specialist knowledge to your team. 

We touched on money as a motivation factor in an earlier blogpost. Whilst we concluded that money in itself will not keep an unhappy employee from job-hunting, it is important to note that is does have its place as a motivating factor for some people. At least in the sense that we would not work for free. Therefore, the first step to ensuring a productive and motivation charged team is to ensure that they are being paid a fair dime for their contributions. This is a subject that I would recommend tackling head on with your employees by asking them what they think is fair remuneration for their job. This will give you an idea of how contented they are with what they have and also what salary they may be hoping for upon promotion. If you are beginning your employer journey and cannot afford to pay a salary which competes with what they may be offered by a bigger company, you could trade this off by helping lower their expenses. This could come in many forms however one could be offering a more flexible working arrangement to help a parent decrease childcare costs or a commuter travel at off-peak times. 

Above we have explored some of the ways you can personalise your management style. Truthfully, as with anything that is personalised, there are hundreds of ways you can employ this tactic. However, the foundational formula is that you communicate often and deeply with your employees discovering what makes them tick. What will make them want to produce the best results for your team specifically? The important thing is that you continue to monitor and develop your understanding of what motivates each member of your team as this can change through time. If you have any specific questions regarding personalised motivation please don’t hesitate to get in touch today and book a complimentary initial consultation with me. Let’s start to build your unique, exceptionally productive team today. 

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