- Hard to manage workers you don't click with
- Personality differences risk miscommunication
- Manage different goals, attitudes
MANAGING a team of Mini-Me’s can be a challenge as your clones compete for the same space, but at least you know what makes them tick.
Handling people who have contrasting personalities, styles of communication and motivational drivers brings with it a new set of issues for managers.
A simple recognition of whether a team member is an extrovert or an introvert can help guide communication and management style, says Professor Chris Jackson at the Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales.
However, everyone is an individual and spending time to gain an insight into what’s important to different people goes a long way.
"As a manager you need to know how to motivate people, and different people have different motivations," Mr Jackson says.
"You need to look at people’s goals and values."
But a leader who is too varied in style can appear manipulative, so be careful, he says.
"It’s a delicate balance."
Miscommunication can also be a problem between people with softer and more strident styles of expression, leading to misunderstandings and resentments, says Dr Polly Parker, MBA director at the University of Queensland.
Three-quarters of the population will communicate differently than you do, so failing to appreciate and handle those differences mean fewer resources available to help get a job done.
Individual words can sometimes have slightly different meanings for different people, so paraphrasing back to check you’ve understood a message correctly can help, says Ms Parker.
"It’s very easy to assume that if you speak the same language you attribute the same meaning to the same words," Ms Parker says.
"Trying to communicate in a way that raises the likelihood of being heard by the other person is key."
Instruments like the Myers-Briggs Indicator and the Merrill Social Styles model can help managers identify different personalities and guide leadership methods.
All human beings no matter what their personalities share some common motivations: to achieve something and to make a difference, says managing director of consultants Human Synergistics Australia Quentin Jones.
Mr Jones advocates SMART goals -Specific, Measurable, Agreed-upon, Realistic and Timebound.
Leaders need to combine that with building thinking capability in staff by asking them questions.
"As a manager, my job is to facilitate people achieving," Mr Jones says.
"It’s all about how to coach and mentor people to achieve their goals. I believe that transcends personality."