Why you should pay attention to team's demographics

Great leaders know that treating each team member as an individual is worth the work. In this blog, executive leadership coach John M McKee shares ideas that can make a big difference.

Today - more than ever - a "one size fits all" approach in management style simply isn't effective.

I belong to The International Coach Federation.  The largest association of coaches worldwide, they have become the standard for the coaching industry.  In addition to developing training programs to ensure that people who call themselves coaches can actually deliver what clients expect, the ICF develops standards for behaviors and ethics.

In that space, it monitors trends. It looks at the needs of various industry sectors, businesses, and organizations.  To understand more about issues faced by individuals and companies, the Federation polls various constituencies.

In one study it asked questions about leadership. When looking at the relationship between the boss and subordinates, the study found - not surprisingly - that there are a few common values that are critical to a successful outcome. Those were ranked:

  1. Feeling that I am trusted
  2. Feeling challenged, feeling like I am growing
  3. Feeling good about myself
  4. Feeling competent and skilled
  5. Being appreciated for who I am and what I do
  6. Feeling excited about what I am doing or what is going on
  7. Feeling involved in activities that matter to me.

Noodle a bit on these values.  How you would value them?  Do you act that way with your subordinates?

That these values cut across both genders in the survey is hardly surprising. However, when asked about relationships on the job, the most commonly stated needs were sugared down a bit more.  These are worth noting:

Both genders indicated common needs in their relationships with managers.

1. Honesty and Integrity

2. Fairness

3. Discretion

4. Respect

5. Professionalism

More interesting was the prioritization by gender.

Women's prioritization:

1. Courtesy and consideration

2. Feeling valued and respected

3. Rewards and recognition

4. Respecting their space

Men's rankings:

1. Loyalty

2. Shared values

3. Friendship/companionship/shared interests

4. Unconditional acceptance and availability

The spirituality marker plays importantly. Because spirituality-grounded emotions are among the most powerful and behavior shaping, the extent to which they can impact how a manager interacts with subordinates is worth looking at:

Spiritual people had greater needs for:

1. Forgiveness

2. Love and emotional support

3. Courtesy

4. Valued and accepted as they are

5. Trusting

6. Dependability/reliability

Non-spiritual people ranked their needs as:

1. Shared values

2. Trust and honesty, (citing integrity, strong work ethic)

3. Loyalty and unconditional acceptance

4. Compassion and respect

5. Interesting conversation/good sense of humor

Knowing more about your team is just smart.  It develops a better bond and can significantly improve satisfaction and productivity.

Act accordingly.