Truly successful leaders understand that individuals must be managed as individuals.
From 1st grade through college I was a slow classroom learner. Perhaps logically, I was placed in some classes for slow learners until 6th grade. I felt awful. I was ashamed. I was intelligent! My brain’s way of learning, containing and discerning information and regurgitating it out on a test was not in line with the then “one way of teaching fits all” methods commonly used in the 60’s and 70’s.
I struggled to conform. I could not memorize material like the average kid. I wondered if I was broken. Outwardly, I was fun, smiled and a cute kid with a headful of curls. Inside, I struggled to understand how my brain operated and what I could do to adjust.
College was the key. Not the degree – the teachers. It was looser and I needed that. It was more customized, still used logic, but allowed for free thought as long as you could back it up. And, back it up I did. Now receiving B’s and C’s and the occasional A, I took my new-found confidence into the corporate world. When I asked my Sociology professor, Dr. Alvin Robinson, if I could take more time on his final because I felt it would help me land a better grade, he gave me permission to do so. I received a B.
In the workplace and in any department, truly successful leaders understand that individuals must be managed as individuals. Treating everyone the same with regards to policy and fairness is essential. However, using common sense and logic to find the right fit for each employee at work enables staff to connect, produce and leads to higher retention.
You were hire to do A, but your skills and temperament are better suited for B. This, is logic used correctly and benefits many. On the other side of the coin, we can be stuck in a mindset that often confirms that employee A should do what employee A was hired to do. Logical, unless things change – and they often do. This is why it is equally important to use and trust logical business decisions and also question them often.
When I began to lead teams at a Berkshire Hathaway company I had a distinct edge. It was compassion for individuals and understanding that we all functioned differently. How can I help you succeed became my inner mantra. What can I do to make you happy at work? What should we/I do to help you flourish?
The results matter most. The journey to having more successful employees begins with a logical understanding that we are human yet wired as individuals – not a collective.
My work has been rewarding. The individuals who have enriched and inspired me along the way often used logic as a base-line and mixed in compassion, humor and a genuine willingness to listen to the needs of individuals.
Are you doing this as a leader? Are you focused, not just on the bottom line, but on the top needs of your staff as it relates to their productivity and happiness? Doing so has many benefits. Not doing this can hurt relationships, reduce productivity and send employees looking for another job.
Are you using logic to connect, guide and lead? Will you check in with yourself to avoid getting stuck only using logic for all decisions? Will you allow for flexibility and treat those on your team with individual attention customized for their style?