As a business owner and coach for over 25 years, I have worked with thousands of individuals across various industries and positions. All of them were looking to be better leaders and better managers for their teams.

At the end of the day, that is what all business owners ultimately want. They want to figure out what makes their team tick. What motivates them and how you as a leader can help facilitate their growth and development in their current and future positions. This in turn will lead to faster growth for your business as a whole.

That said, I wanted to share with you an exercise that I encourage all of my business coaching clients to do with their current team members, as well as any new hires that they bring on along the way. You may find this a valuable exercise for your management team as well an exercise to do with their own teams.

Make two lists.

At your next team meeting, ask your team to get out a piece of paper and create two lists. For the first, have them jot down the qualities and behaviors of their favorite past managers. And then second, the qualities and behaviors of their least favorite past managers. Then have them share their first list with the group.

When you have them share their favorite management experiences, these are the things that you want to strive for as a leader. Maybe they had a leader who really listened or someone who publicly acknowledged their victories. Or maybe they had a manager who protected their time and helped them focus. What you will find is that the items shared by your team members are indicative of the values and traits that they value the most and it will vary from person to person.

Next up, when they share their second list, you will find many common factors of traits they didn't like. Things like micromanaging, not recognizing victories, and not having clean delegation skills are likely to come up on the list. Chances are, you already know most of the bad manager traits, but a few may surprise you. So take note of their responses and if you find that you may be guilty of a few of the things on that list, it may be time to do some introspection and change the way you manage your team.

Filling In the Gaps

Once you have both lists, you will start to see some overlap. Maybe one employee loves when a manager gives them direct feedback, while another puts that in their bad manager column. One person may enjoy being micromanaged while a few other team members hate it.

Take notes. Pay attention to who says what, and then use that in your day-to-day management technique with each team member. As a manager and a leader, we have to look at the individual we are working with, and know that they each have different needs, wants, and preferences. If you just ask, they will tell you the best way to manage them.