Leadership Intimacy, Do You Have It?

Melissa is brilliant with people. She has a calming affect. Melissa can move her way through the most stressful, emotionally charged environments and make friends all along they way.  It’s not Melissa’s charisma that connects with people, but her easygoing people centric approach. Melissa has an uncanny knack of making people feel good about themselves. I don’t think she has an enemy in the world.

Melissa is also extremely detailed oriented. She is excellent at getting things done. Nothing falls through the cracks. Melissa can follow process, manage competing demands and deliver with amazing precision. She’s a workhorse. Melissa is motivated by acceptance. She likes to know she is doing a good job and responds well to praise.  Melissa doesn’t respond well to being overly criticized.

Diego is a driver. He loves the chase. He too likes to be “liked.” Diego is very intelligent and knowledgeable. Diego is affable, fun, and engaging. He leverages his knowledge to position himself with customers and his fellow employees.  Diego isn’t detailed oriented, but will do whatever it takes to get the deal done. Diego is loyal and EXTEMELY coachable. He’s a sponge.  Responsive to feedback and criticism nothing upsets Diego.  He has extremely thick skin. He can take a licking and he keeps on ticking. Diego is known to stretch the truth and can be a kiss-ass, so it’s important to call him out sometimes and to dig deep when you’re looking to get answers.  Diego responds to being told he his doing well. He likes to know he is part of something bigger and is accepted. Being embraced and a part of something special motivate Diego.

Scott has a personality bigger than life. He has an aura that surrounds him. He is EXTREMELY intelligent and even more articulate. Scott absorbs information on the fly and can leverage that information immediately. Scott draws people to him, as he knows what to say to disarm them.  Scott can see the path to a sale 10-20 moves ahead of most people. Scott understands the emotional responses of his prospects and customers better than they do. Scott knows what people are thinking and feeling every second and leverages this sense to precisely engage with them, knowing exactly what responses required to move the sale.

Scott sucks at details. He is easily discouraged when things aren’t going well. Scott hates process. Scott can’t be relied on to deliver consistently. Scott is a roller coaster, with high, highs and low, lows. Scott is very self-centered. Scott brings tremendous energy to the team, but can also bring it down.

Scott is motivated by acknowledgment. He wants to be seen as the top dog. Admiration drives Scott. He is motivated by how others perceive him. Scott has low self-esteem in spite of his outward confidence. Scott is driven by money and status.

Melissa, Diego and Scott are real people that used to work for me. I knew them well. I knew what they were good at and what they weren’t. I knew what motivated them and what they responded to.  I knew what environments they would succeed in and which they wouldn’t.  I knew what NOT to say to Melissa and what NOT to expect from Diego. I knew where Scott would excel an were he wouldn’t.

Intimately knowing my people gave me an incredible advantage to making my number.

A long time ago, one of my bosses said to me: “Jim you’re easy to manage, all I have to say to you is; I don’t think you can do it, and then you go running off to get it done.” He was right. I respond very well to being challenged and told I can’t do something.

Needless to say, later in my career I had another boss who told my what to do. He rarely let me make my own decisions.  That didn’t work out too well. I don’t respond well to be told how to do my job. This boss had no clue on what motivated me.

What do you know about the INDIVIDUALS on your team? Do you know what makes them tick? Do you know what they are good at? Do you know what motivates them? Do you know what they like and don’t like? How intimately do you know your team?

Know the people on your team.  It’s not enough to have talented people if you can’t use them correctly. You end up wasting your time and their skills.

Do you have leadership intimacy?