Understanding and Leading Team Members

Jul 31, 2016 | Uncategorized

Motivation, worker behavior, and efficiency studies have been conducted since the industrial revolution.  Management scientists like Abraham Maslow, Frederick Herzberg, and David McClelland and even more modern studies like the recent MIT Federal Reserve Board study reach much of the same conclusion: We all want to be the Happy Carpenter!

Happy CarpenterPNG

We as leaders must work to support and even create happy carpenters if we are to succeed in our projects and in our companies.  Here are some recommendations:

> Start recognizing and rewarding passion, commitment, teamwork, customer service…. not just project success.

> Look to hire (or acquire) team members that have demonstrated “great team member traits”.

> Recruit team members with positive attitudes first and technical skills second.

> Seek to understand the whole person not just the “worker.” Get to know your team members on a personal level and work to respect their personal situations.

>Organizations must resist offering financial incentives thinking it will result in improved performance. Pay fairly and money becomes less of an issue.

> Practice Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world[1].  To accomplish this effectively, the organizations strategy, culture and management style must be committed to employees, customers and to the community as a whole.  In summary, Servant Leadership consists of 7 basic pillars[2] that state a servant leader is:

1. A Person of Character

2. Puts people first

3. A Skilled Communicator

4. A Compassionate Collaborator

5. Has Foresight

6. A Systems Thinker

7. Leads with Moral Authority

Stephen Covey said in his book Seven Habits of Highly Successful People said: “Seek first to understand then to be understood”.  When we understand our team members, commit to make a difference in their careers and work to improve the lives of our customers, then we are better positioned to lead and find success that impacts the entire community. Clearly Servant Leadership is a high character, people-centric approach to doing great work through people.


[2] Based on James W. Sipe and Don M. Frick.  Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership; Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving, 2015, Paulist Press

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