What makes me tick? One of the highlights of my week is participating in an informal leadership forum held at 6:30am every Friday morning. In the small diverse group are the headmaster of a private junior school, the principal trauma surgeon of a 900-bed hospital, an industrialist, a graphic designer, COO of an environmental organisation, the director of the ‘mental health society’, a coach (that’s me!), the manager of a coffee bar, two pensioners, a chartered accountant etc. So what does this ‘unlikely combination’ of individuals (from different fields) have in common? We all have a passion for leadership excellence and value each other’s willingness to share our experiences and expertise.
This morning I shared ideas on capturing the hearts and minds of our team-members. Twelve participants added valuable input. So here is an outline of what we covered:
Leading and managing may go ‘hand in hand’. Although different business schools and authors use a range of definitions, there is usually a strong overlap. We manage the present and we lead to the future. If we don’t get the job done, we won’t ever reach our future state. Yet, having a vision with no means of sustaining the present will also create a vacuum preventing us from working towards the future.
So, how can strong leaders or managers go about creating high performing teams where the needs of the task, team and individual are all met? I believe that just getting the job done is no longer enough. We have to bring out the best in individuals. And in order to do that, we need to connect at both head and heart levels.
Let me put ‘what makes me tick?’ in context. I was privileged to attend an address by Kevin Roberts, worldwide CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, branding experts. His clients include Brand China and Brand United Nations. But there is a catch here. He is no longer talking about ‘branding’. He believes so strongly that we have to capture the hearts and the minds of our target customers that he now refers to ‘love marks’.
He provided background and elaborated on the role of business and showed us how we now go ‘beyond’ what was previously stated as the purpose of business. He outlined various approached to the role of business. For example, Jack Welch believes that the role is to create shareholder value. Peter Drucker refers to ‘creating a customer’. However, Kevin Roberts sees the role of business as making the world a better place for everyone. For some this is a huge revelation as this approach enhances the importance of social responsibility. This again connects ‘head and heart’ and informs our actions.
So, now that we have some of the concepts in context, let’s look at how we can tap into the hearts of the members of teams that we lead. We need to engage them as we want more than just their ‘hands’. We want them to connect and be committed to achieving quality results.
With technology meeting more and more of our needs, often there is less connection between humans. And a challenge facing current leaders and managers is ‘how do we get people to interact and build positive relationships’? For our own management team, I developed a simple exercise which we practised on a regular basis and I have adapted it to suit the needs of various organisations, businesses and professional teams.
Here are the steps in developing and using a ‘What makes me tick’? questionnaire:
- Develop a list of relevant questions for your leadership or management team. An example follows. Once trust has been built with these team-members, the concept could be extended to other teams in the organisation.
- All the members of the team fill in their answers.
- The completed sheets may be shared in a number of ways. In some cases a copy is given only to the leader. In other cases each member of the team is provided with a copy.
- At each weekly meeting, a different team member’s answers may be shared and discussed. In other cases the leader may keep them all ‘on the back burner’ and only when the need arises refer to one of the points on the questionaire: For example: ‘Matthew, I noticed that you preferred working in a quiet environment. How are others helping to avoid unnecessary noise?’
In that way you will help to bring out the best in the members of your team through giving them an opportunity to share information which in the course of ‘getting the job done’ may never surface. In addition, the interaction when using the information (management meetings, one-on-one etc.) leads to positive growth.
In summary, this method helps to treat individuals as special and unique. We can use this questionnaire to find out what their ‘hot buttons’ are. And then we focus on the things that motivate them. Thus team performance can be enhanced through helping others to achieve their potential. Press their ‘hot buttons’!
What makes me tick? – Questionnaire - example
Please provide only that information which you are happy to share with this team.
- Full name:
- Name or nickname by which you like to be addressed by team-members:
- Who am I?
- Some of my greatest achievements are….
- Who are the ‘significant others’ in my private life?
- Some personal issues facing me right now:
- Please avoid contacting me during the following ‘after hours’ times:
- Cell number: E-mail address:
- Birthday (day and month):
- Favourite foods: Foods I do not eat:
- Favourite type of music:
- I work better/worse when music is playing:
- The type of books/articles I enjoy reading:
- Interests and hobbies:
- Sport – involvement:
- Other organisations to which I belong:
- You will help me to perform better at work if you encourage me by ….
- Please try to avoid the following behaviour/expectations when dealing with me…
- Things that irritate me/pet hates and aversions (not necessarily in the workplace):
- I feel respected when:
- I show sincere appreciation by:
- Some reasons I really enjoy working for this hospital, school, organisation, company or firm:
- Some reasons I’m excited about the changes in the organisation:
- Some strengths which I bring to this team:
- What potential do I have that has not yet been tapped (at work)?
- Areas of my work performance I am trying to improve:
- You could help me in the following way:
- Working as a member of this team, you’ll bring out the best in me if you could
- do the following:
- avoid the following:
- Parts of my work I love:
- Parts of my work I don’t enjoy:
- Further information which will help you to get to know me better:
For more information on the facilitation of Leadership Development, please contact Brenda on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 82 4993311.