Leadership Style

23.02.2018 |

Episode #7 of the course Leadership: How to be a great boss by Chris Croft


The people who work for you vary, so there is a need to vary your style depending on each person. Ideally, everyone in your team knows their jobs and is keen to do those jobs—in which case, you could assign/delegate work to them or even empower them, and know that it would be done correctly. Your objective is to build a team like this.

But unfortunately, in real life, we tend to get people who are either not completely competent in all areas or not motivated about all parts of their jobs, so we need to know how to manage them in these other areas.

In this lesson, we’ll talk about three types of people, categorized based on competence and motivation criteria. But you should remember that everyone can be in all these boxes at different times—so rather than put someone completely in one, it’s also important to bear in mind that all styles will be appropriate at different times, depending on the nature of the task you’re giving that person. So, the key is to ask yourself, “For this particular task, is this person competent and is this person motivated?” and then use the right style accordingly.

Competent but not motivated. “Surely anyone who is competent will also be motivated.” I wish that was the case! People who have become bored or feel neglected can lose their motivation despite being competent. They are an expensive wasted resource, and it’s important to get them motivated again. The best way to do this is to involve them in some of your decisions—to use their knowledge to get a better job done and motivate them at the same time. Make sure you give them plenty of respect and recognition for their knowledge and skills, and thank them for the good work they do.

Motivated but not competent. All new people start here—even if they arrive with knowledge and experience, they still need a bit of time to learn how things are done in your organization and in your team. So, for these new people, the key is to give them lots of information and training and to show and explain how things are done, either from you or from a more experienced colleague. The objective is to get them to become competent without losing their motivation.

Not competent and not motivated. Your initial reaction might be to want to get rid of anyone like this, but remember that:

• Everything is management’s fault—they are only like this because they haven’t been trained or motivated, so you at least owe them the chance to try to improve.

• If they can be saved, it’s usually cheaper and better than getting rid of them.

• They might have good areas as well as bad ones—most of us have areas of our work that we are great at and areas that we don’t like, so it’s wrong to condemn someone just for having an area of their work that they find difficult.

With such people, it’s all about explaining, encouragement, and praise. Clearly, if they don’t want to learn or end up proving incapable of learning, then it might be time to let them go, but you should certainly give them a chance to improve themselves. Sometimes if you give someone a chance, they turn out to be the best and most loyal employee of all.

So, the approach with someone who is neither competent nor motivated is a coaching style, which we’ll cover in the next lesson. Hopefully, by teaching them a bit, they will become a little more competent and therefore, a bit more motivated as well. Then teach them a little bit more, and they get a bit more competent and motivated, and so on.

Homework: For each member of your team, think about a job you can give them and where they would be in this model. Then use the recommended methods to move them toward the ideal of motivated and competent.

See you tomorrow when we’ll cover coaching.



Recommended book

The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell


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