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I once heard a manager say candidly, “Is everybody stupid, or is it just me?” And while that’s not the type of the thing any leader should ever say to their team, the thought has probably crossed all our minds at one point or another. The problem with managing people is that every single one of us is unique in how we communicate, how we think, how we interpret things, how we work, and what motivates us.

With limitless combinations of our natural tendencies and life experiences, people are incredibly complex. What if everybody isn’t stupid, but how we’re leading them, is?

At Emergenetics we believe that by understanding your innate strengths, or those of the people you seek to lead, you will be happier, more satisfied, and more productive. Leaders who harness this knowledge can leverage what is good about their team in a way that produces major dividends for the business.

Think about your current team. Are communication breakdowns getting in the way of project completion? Might this be the result of expecting everyone to behave and think the same way? Or even introspectively, do you only communicate within your thinking and behavioral comfort zone?

Awareness is essential, but what to do with this knowledge is where businesses win. The key here is understanding and then acting.

Let’s apply this knowledge to a real life situation like introducing your team to a new project:

  • Analytical Thinkers will want to know how success will be measured, how does this project fit into the strategic goals of the company, what is the ROI?
  • Structural Thinkers will need to know timelines, specific deliverables, and the parameters to work within. They’re already outlining a production schedule and assigning team roles.
  • Social Thinkers want to know who is involved in the project and might have ideas for someone who could contribute in a way you’ve never thought of.
  • Conceptual Thinkers will want for you to paint them a picture of the finished product, they’ll probably begin thinking about how this project plays into the growth of the company, the new opportunities to which it can lead.

With every person on the team thinking different things about the same project, it is important to make sure that they all take away the same message. That’s where behaviors come into play…it’s a critical step so don’t shortchange it!

  • Expressiveness plays a big role – you need to understand your own tendencies and know that some team members love dialogue and conversation while others need 1-on-1 time.
  • Assertiveness means driving the initiative or the ideas in a way that both gets things done and ensures harmony and cohesiveness
  • Flexibility takes the way people think and places it in the context of how they prefer to work. As a leader provide direction and focus as well as an openness to change when better paths come along.

As the leader, it is your responsibility to set your team up for success and ensure they are clear on the expectations. Knowing what we do about how each of thinking and behavioral categories can hear and act on the same message, it is crucial that you communicate it a different way for each person, making sure to touch on each aspect during your presentation.

Leaders who build a well-rounded team and make an effort to understand and effectively communicate will achieve far more than those who assume everybody is stupid. When people know clearly what they’re supposed to do, they’ll be more efficient, productive, and happier.

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