Leadership is not a solo act. It is for that reason, effective leaders make an effort to gain a clear understanding of the individuals on their team. Understanding cultivates trust. Achieving understanding at an individual level takes time. The rewards, however, show up in commitment, loyalty, enhanced performance, and quality relationships with you and within the team. Try this exercise to test your understanding of your direct reports.
Before your next one-on-one take the time to think about the needs and expectations the person tends to bring to the table. Ask yourself, “What issues do I need to be sensitive towards and prepared to address?” Jot down a few questions you can ask during the meeting to further understand the needs of the person. Finally, after the meeting reflect on and note your correct predictions (hits) and incorrect predictions (misses) of the issues and actions that person brings up. Reduce the number of misses by working to understand each individual team member on a deeper level. Make time to enjoy lunch or a cup of coffee together from time to time. Extend the exercise to your leader, peers and colleagues. Watch the trust grow.