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Good leaders don’t just rely on one managerial style-they get the best out of every team member by meeting their needs.
Good managers are defined by their employees’ performance and know how to get the best out of every team member.
At a recent AMCP Nexus talk, Patty Taddei-Allen, PharmD, MBA, BCACP, BCGP, director of outcomes research at WellDyneRx, outlined strategies for leading a team successfully. She stressed that leadership isn’t a static thing-it requires managers to continually adapt to their employees needs and behaviors.
Here are four tips for helping you get the most out of your team.
1. Hire right
Even the best manager could do very little with a bad team. That’s why hiring is a vital part of a team-building strategy.
Taddei-Allen said that one area managers should focus on is a potential employee’s soft skills. She said that, while still very important, great resumes or perfect clinical skills mean little next to a person’s ability to relate to people-whether that be patients or colleagues.
She highlighted several skills employers should look for:
The final, and perhaps most important soft skill according to Taddei-Allen, is empathy. Empathy, she said, is the ability to build trust among team members. A team member who sees only his or her own personal agenda will bring down team morale and create a poor work environment.
2. Know what skills you need
Certain personality traits make for a good leader. Not only is this important for hiring potential leaders, it’s also important to recognize what category you fall into. Tadei-Allen discussed the Big Five model of personality, which can be summarized by the acronym OCEAN.
When groups of leaders were surveyed about the most important traits, respondents agreed that openness and extroversion were the most important traits in a good leader, while they associate agreeableness with poor leadership skills. Interestingly, neuroticism was not significant to them in determining leadership effectiveness.
3. Explain the why to employees
A good team is a motivated team and, according to Taddei-Allen, emotional intelligence is key for creating that motivation. She defined emotional intelligence as the ability to understand others’ feelings while also controlling and understanding your own. Emotional intelligence allows leaders to build the relationships that create good teams.
With a good relationship, leaders can then give employees what Taddei-Allen said is possibly the most important-but often overlooked-aspect of what motivates employees. Good leaders show their employees the “why” of what they are doing, not just the “how” and the “what.”
Do your employees know why their work is important? This may seem easier in a healthcare setting, but do all of your employees know how everything they’re doing is directly helping someone?
4. Manage the individual
Taddei-Allen advocated for the Leader-Member Exchange Theory (LMX), which posits that successful leaders have individualized, personal relationships with every team member. The research backs this up too-studies have shown that LMX leads to greater employee performance, improved overall job satisfaction, increased commitment to the organization, and greater satisfaction with the supervisor.
LMX is all about catering your managerial style to an individual employee’s needs, with the thinking that not all employees prefer the same style of management. No one style will get the best out of every employee, so good leaders need to be constantly altering their managerial styles to fit a given situation. Some styles might work more often than others, but no style is right for every situation.
Taddei-Allen laid out six leadership styles and briefly discussed their situational benefits:
Taddei-Allen also added that many managers prefer to manage the way they would like to be managed themselves, but that good management requires flexibility and an effort to understand what your team members need.