A large number of entrepreneurs and business owners start their businesses not because they're fantastic managers, but because they have the vision and drive to put a new product or service out into the marketplace. Most learn very quickly, however, that the ability to manage and coach their employees is a challenging yet important one and it takes a lot of effort and practice to be proficient at it. Many seek out help from those, like me, who specialize in business coaching for growth. And one of the first things I cover with a new coaching client is the set of three things that I think they should know about every person they manage.
These three things will not only help them get to know their employees better, but will give them the opportunity to meet them where they are in their career journey and help them grow and develop into leaders down the road.
1. Personality Style
There are a number of different "personality assessments" out there, from the Kolbe to Myers-Briggs to the MMPI to the Enneagram, etc. And all personality assessments have their strengths and weaknesses. So find one you're comfortable with and go with what you know. Keep notes of where your team members fall in the different categories, paying attention to which team members share similar or complementary traits.
There is no such thing as a good or a bad personality type; it is simply the way that they tackle challenges and see the world. Remember, any assessment is simply a quick way to help you better understand and effectively interact with each team member.
2. Areas to Coach Around
The next thing you need to know about your team members has to do with their coachable areas. What are the key strengths this team member brings to the table? What are the areas this person needs to develop in order to progress in his or her career with your company? What areas of deficit are likely always going to be a deficit for this person? Knowing all of this helps you put this person in the right roles and assign them the most appropriate projects.
You want to leverage their strengths, give them opportunities to develop their key skills, and avoid placing them in a role that is one of their likely permanent deficit areas. And this will also help you develop a long-term coaching plan to help them mature as leaders themselves.
3. Performance Enhancers
The last thing you want to know about your team members is how to help them do their very best work. To bring out his or her best performance, consider these questions.
What three things do you need to remember to help bring out the best performance in this team member?
Does she thrive in novel, challenging roles but get bored with repetitive assignments?
Does he need projects that he's done successfully before or else his anxiety overwhelms his performance?
While there likely could be a dozen or more ideas for each key team member that you can focus on, pick the three most important reminders to yourself to get the best performance from him or her.