By Tommy Mello, Owner of A1 Garage Doors.

You've probably seen those online   listicles that teach you how to manage your team more effectively. The funny thing is, the tips featured on these listicles are so black and white: "Do X. Don't do Y. Avoid Z at all costs."

That's not how leadership works. You can't boil down effective leadership into a bunch of do's and don'ts, without taking who you're leading into consideration. Remember, no two people on your team think the same way.

Depending on their personality, you can use the exact same words and present the same body language to team members who will hear two completely different things.

First, understand the mindset of your team members (I personally use the DISC model to do this), then lead them in a way resonates with them individually. For those who aren't familiar with the DISC model, DISC translates to:

  • D: Dominant
  • I: Influence
  • S: Steadiness
  • C: Conscientiousness

There are plenty of free DISC tests online. Get your team to sit for one of them and report their results back to you. Now, let's look at how to best lead each DISC personality type:

The Dominant Type

These people are task-oriented and outgoing. They're the ones who will go all out and make things happen. Dominant employees get excited by big-picture ideas, so motivate them by talking about results and outcomes. If you can tell them that a certain project will contribute to the company's bottom line by 20 percent, for example, you'll instantly get their buy-in.

In my company, we use an organizational chart to not only make it clear the roles of each employee, but also to set expectations. So we take advantage of this tool to let these dominant types know what outcomes and results we expect from them.

The Influence Type

The influencers, as you might imagine, are people-oriented and outgoing. When you talk to these team members, always relate your project goals back to teamwork and communication. These people feel most at home when they're working with their colleagues, so allow them to rope other people in and build a cross-functional team.

The Steadiness Type

Those who score high in steadiness tend to be more reserved and quiet, and they like to support their team members from behind the scenes. These people don't feel comfortable in the limelight -- so instead of pushing them to take the lead, have them think about how they can help their other team members thrive.

The Conscientiousness Type

Finally, your team members who are conscientious are both task and detail-oriented. These people serve as a great counter-balance to the dominant folks, and they can help keep their team on track. Get them involved in planning and documenting a project and ask them to make sure their colleagues are accountable.

I like to get this type of personality involved when I need to create a new process for a certain activity or document something we're excelling at. These people never miss the important details and always create checks and balances for each process.

At the end of the day, you'll never be able to get anywhere if you've got a team full of confident, opinionated employees who are shouting down each other's throats and trying to make themselves heard. Nor will you have much success with a team full of meek, introverted employees who don't want to speak up. Balance is key here, so embrace your team members' differences and lead them according to what they need.  

Tommy Mello is the Owner of A1 Garage Doors, a $25M+ home service business. 

Published on: Jul 27, 2018