A short one this week to get you thinking. As is often the case in this blog, the posts are triggered by something I see or something someone perhaps says. This week it's the latter.
Shane Barry and I were hanging out with all the cool Googlers in the Bath on Bath Avenue in Dublin a couple of weeks ago (I say that, but really they were just sitting near us! :) ) . We'd gone through the usual catch-up list and got to talking about leaders and leadership when Shane reminded me of something he'd said years ago.
"The whole idea that you should treat people as YOU want to be treated is wrong. You should treat people as THEY want to be treated"
Which flies in the face of advice we've gotten throughout our lives.
We're told as children to 'Treat others as you'd like to be treated'. And if you're of a religious bent, doesn't the bible say, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'?
Even Buddhism has the Golden Rule - "We must treat others as we wish others to treat us".
So this idea has been hammered into us over our entire lives.
For everyday life it’s not a bad guiding principle. Assuming you’re an inherently decent and honest person that is. We can’t expect to know and understand the values and preferences of the hundreds of people we meet every week, so this isn't a bad starting point.
However, if you’re a people leader, it’s a different kettle of fish. A team is a collection of individuals with different wants and needs. Knowing your people, understanding their values and how they like to be treated, is key to ensuring that that team is successful.
So in your next 1-1, or perhaps as part of a team meeting, ask your people to share their values and what’s important to them. It might just give you a bit of insight into how to build a more cohesive and high performing feam.
Showing that you don’t know but you’re willing to ask shows a level of humility and vulnerability that can strengthen a leaders bond with their team. You’re not afraid to show that you don’t know all the answers.