What is your personality like? Are you an extrovert or an introvert? How are you encouraged best? What ways do you like to show encouragement?
Now think about those you lead. What are their personalities like? Chances are that you will lead many, many people with personalities quite different from your own. Your people might not have the same love language and might not connect with the way you show encouragement. At times, you might find yourself totally at odds with someone you lead simply because of personality differences.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Leading people well relates directly with connecting with the people you lead. They must know that you care about them and that you desire to build a relationship with them. In my leadership journey, it has sometimes been extremely difficult to connect with those different than me.
Here are four mistakes I’ve made and seen when leading different personalities.
Never find out how they work. You’re busy as a leader, so you don’t have time to figure out how your people receive encouragement, right? WRONG! This should be a high priority. The best way to know how to connect with your team is to find out how they feel valued. I have asked my team in the past to take the Myers-Briggs Personality test and Love Languages test to find out how I could best serve them.
Never adapt to their personality. As the leader, sometimes you might think it is the other person’s responsibility to adapt to your personality style and make the connection. In actuality, it is the leader’s responsibility to find out how they tick and adapt to connect with them. This may mean simply altering your schedule a bit to catch them at their best time or taking a few minutes to encourage in a way that you would not normally.
Never seek help. I have found it helpful to ask others with similar personality types to those I am trying to lead how to best connect with them. I have found seeking guidance from others to be extremely helpful when trying to serve and lead people who are encouraged differently that I am.
Never admit that you were wrong. Sometimes you might naturally not connect with someone on your team and not even realize it. If it is brought to your attention, go and fix it immediately. Sometimes this means admitting that you were in the wrong for not seeing how that person felt encouraged.
Ultimately, do your best to connect and encourage each person on your team. Try not to make the mistakes above, and it won’t be as hard as you might think.