When I think of a team, I think of a cooking recipe. Every ingredient in the recipe is different. That’s obvious right?
Here is a simple recipe for salsa:
Each of the ingredients come from different “places”, the ground, a tree, the ocean, etc. Alone, each ingredient has a different taste; Spicy, Salty, Sour, Sweet, Hot, Mild. When we put them all together, they blend to make a delicious dip/sauce.
Teams of people are comprised of different ingredients as well, coming from different places, having different skills and qualities, yet often we want the individuals in our teams to be similar. It is easier for managers if all of our supervisees behave in one way, think in one way, culturally act in one way, have all the same needs. Yet that isn’t how people are. Each person carries with them their history, their unique learning style, their unique way of thinking and speaking. This makes your job challenging. Humans are also very unpredictable. Yet another challenge. Often leaders attempt to get a hold on this by having their staff take personality tests like the Myers Briggs, the DISC assessment or Enneagram test, just to name a few. While these can help people understand each other a bit, they often put people in a box and do not allow them the opportunity to grow.
So how do you interact with your team as if it they are part of a recipe?
1. Share who they are and what they care about.
I often start a team off by having them do life story maps and individual values sorts that they share with each other. Getting to know how people have come to be the person they are can give you more understanding of someone than to know if they are an Introvert on the Myers Briggs Scale.
2. Share what they are best at.
Have your staff share what they believe their strengths are. What do they bring to the team? What are their talents? What are their hidden skills? You can do this in a general morning meeting and even make flip charts of the answers to remind each other.
3. Share intentions.
Have people let their intentions for their work and life be known to each other. The Latin root of the word intention means “to stretch oneself.” When we know how teammates want to grow, there is more awareness of possible opportunities for people to try their hand at something.
When you get to know your staff at these levels, you can start to understand how to bring out the best that they have to offer.