While I was working as an assistant producer in college for a national morning show, a connection I had made with a Marine escorted my team and I to Parris Island, South Carolina to document the training required to become a US Marine. During those few days, we documented the stories of recruits from all walks of life and captured stories of survival, dreams and hope. The experience was life changing and taught me some powerful lessons on leadership.
As a leader you must lead a team that shares some common goals, however every team member is unique and there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your team remains engaged and productive.
Every member of your team has a different motivation Each recruit we came into contact with had different reasons for wanting to become a member of the US Marine Corps. Some were following in the footsteps of a family tradition, some were solely encouraged by the pride in their country and others were there in search of a freedom many of us are unaware of. Take the time to understand what motivates each member of your team and use that to assist you in keeping them engaged and motivated.
Keep empathy in mind We interviewed recruits from all over the world and while every single recruit was technically undergoing the same mental and physical training, there were individual battles being fought inside every single one of them. Every single person we engage with in our daily lives is going through their own internal struggle and all it takes is a small dose of empathy to connect with them. If you happen to notice uncharacteristic behavior, take the time to ask and empathize with your employee.
Reassure each employee When you took a look at the group of recruits from afar, they all were dressed the same and looked uniform. However, as we got to know them, we realized each one brought a unique talent to the table. I like to use the analogy of a puzzle. Every single piece is unique in shape and size, however without each piece fitting together, the puzzle isn’t complete. Constantly remind your employees of the value they not only bring to the company as a team, but as an individual.
I encourage you to take a step back at times and make a small gesture to create a meaningful connection with every single employee.
If you have a question or are interested in learning more, connect with me.