Leadership lessons from kids: Do you know your team?


Team building is an art, and a good leader knows the importance of getting to know his or her team members. 

A few days back my daughter’s homework was to write a paragraph on her family. Our conversation went as below.

She: So what should I write about?

Me: Your family

She: I know. But what do you think I should write?

Me: Think, be creative and write. Let's see how much you know about your family...

She: Why don't you tell me?

Me: Why don't you attempt? Try to write a few sentences; then I will help you. Anyway your mother is a writer so I am sure you can write something.

She: OK.

After 10 minutes, she brings me her work.

I look at it. She has done a good job and filled a page with 10 sentences. All factually and grammatically correct. What piqued my interested was the part in which she described her parents. She writes, “Papa is Director at XXX. Mama is a writer and a working mother. She is the best.” What she wrote made me happy. But in contrast to her description of Papa, it had no mention of where I work or what I do. I wasn't sure if she did not know, or she chose not to write. I check with her. She knows where I work and what I do, but she chose to describe me the way she did!

That episode got me thinking.

Performance and success at the workplace is directly co-related to the teams we are part of and the relationships we build and nurture at the workplace. A prerequisite have high performing teams is “Knowing Your Team”.

In Math, 1 + 1 is 2. In teams, 1 + 1 can be 10 or less than 2. It all depends on the people who make the team, the dynamics between them and the power equations. A lot of things in these equations are fluid. A lot of things evolve. A lot of things change with time, situations and circumstances.

But here's what I do know from my corporate career. The bosses or teams who took a little extra effort to learn about me, who respected me for the work I did and my contributions, and who appreciated me in public and private for the impact of my work will always be remembered and will have a special place in my heart.

In the long run - How well you know your team, the words you choose in personal interactions, what you acknowledge and appreciate about your team, and how you make them feel - both in private and public - make all the difference in how much of their heart they put into work.

So how well do you know your team? How do you introduce them? How much time do you invest in learning about them?

In terms of facts

In terms of interests

In terms of what motivates them

In terms of where their passion and interests lie

In terms of their achievements and key contributions

Last but not least, how do you make them feel? Think about it!

Do you really know your team? Do you make them feel good about themselves and the work they do? If yes, great. If no, start today by learning one small facet of what makes them unique or appreciating something they did - however big or small. Never know where it leads you!

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)