[Editor’s Synopsis: This article discusses the various types of people who might make up the average team. My Learning to listen to the players, leader will better understand the role of each person in accomplishing the task at hand. Everyone listens and acts differently. By knowing your team better, you will become a greater leader. The following is 1040 words.]

Get To Know Your Team:

Who Is Who And What Do They Do?

By Joe Curcillo

Angie walks into the conference room and addresses her new staff.  When she took the job, the front office educated her as to the qualities and backgrounds of each of her employees. She’s positive that she knows their skill sets. What she does not know is their personalities.

When confronting a staff for the first time or for that matter anytime, it is always best to take the time to listen. People’s needs and goals change from day today. While they may have the best interest of the company at heart, many factors from the outside world will affect their internal delivery system. How they will respond and act is a function of their state of mind.

As Angie begins with her new team, she will listen for the responses as she creates a dialogue. The key to identifying the roles of your team players will surface as you listen to how they respond to the tasks and concepts that you are presenting.

By listening, you can determine their personality types and how they will fit into your master plan. Identify your team members by the way they respond. Some of the phrases you may hear or as follows:

  1. “We can do that.”The operative word is “we”; it is very likely that the Cheerleader will play well with others. But, this individual is more likely to work well with others than ever take the initiative or lead. They can be counted on for their desire to be liked and their desire to see this team succeed as a whole rather than claim an individual trophy at the end of the project.
  2. “Why are you doing that?”This person is likely to challenge you every step of the way. Frankly, this could be one of your most valuable players. By challenging you, theAntagonistwill keep you on your toes, so you continue to second-guess yourself, thus improving your game. Also, once you win over the Antagonist, the rest of the team will be easy. Make sure that you complement this person for their honesty, outspoken attitude and willingness to question you. Build trust with this person. Shutting them down rarely works.
  3. “I have a really cool idea…”The thinker or Dreamer always has a better idea. This individual may prove to be your most creative team member. Your most challenging role may be to keep this person on task as they are inclined to think beyond the mission at hand. A creative person can get caught up in their own imagination and make the problem bigger that it is in reality.   Be prepared to rein them in, but never allow their fresh new ideas to run dry by shutting them down.
  4. “I was looking into that and I found…”In every crowd, there is someone that feels the need to research and dig deeper. Listen well to this person, because it is this voice that will bring unforeseen issues to the surface. Also, this is going to be your Quartermaster who can get their hands on anything and find resources that may otherwise be overlooked.
  5. “I can explain much clearer.”It is necessary to identify the Communicator at the table. It is this person who will be best at compiling your information in an understandable and operable fashion. Also, the communicator can be your best asset at persuading people to follow your lead and get on board with your project. As the team leader, you may not be the individual who has to present the results upon completion. Be willing to consider that the glory of success will go to you as the leader if you allow the communicator to present the final completed vision.
  6. “That is right up my alley.”The person uttering words like this will be your Expert. Being the leader doesn’t mean you know everything, but it means you can identify who does know what is needed. If the project requires certain knowledge that you do not possess, or it is in an area of expertise that is not in your wheelhouse, you want someone to step up and say “I got this!” Allow them to teach a group to the technical details needed to achieve the goal.
  7. “Are we going to break for lunch?” Yes, there’s always likelihood that you will be stuck with a Paycheck on your team. That is usually someone who simply has become disillusioned-or was never excited about their job; they are there for the paycheck and free coffee. The paycheck can always use a little bit of motivation, and if that doesn’t work, make sure you assign the Paycheck very specific tasks. They usually will do what you tell them but will not become fully engaged or go beyond the work at hand. You can motivate a paycheck by making them feel important. This can be done successfully by letting them be your scribe or assistant. Making them feel the closest to you may actually get some work out of them.

When you are done evaluating your team, you may find that you have one or more of each category or none from some of the categories. Look at each individual and evaluate how that individual can best be used.  If it just so happens that the dreamer and the quartermaster are the same person, you could find that their research allows for plausible dreams, thus leading to greater success.  On the other hand, if your dreamer is also your antagonist, you may have to find a firm message to rein individual in to keep them on track.

Hopefully, the reason you are where you are is your flexibility. Therefore, if you are missing a key team member, you will now know the role you must play. Will you have to be your own antagonist? Will you have to be the communicator? Be ready to fill the void to solidify your team to keep balance.

Keep in mind it is your job to make sure that everyone plays well together and keeps the sand in the sandbox. Identify each player and conduct them like a symphony.

  • JOE CURCILLO is a speaker, consultant and entertainer who focusses on his passion for improving leadership, communication & culture with a Unifying Vision. He is the author of the Best Seller Getting to ‘US’: Discover the Ability to Lead Your Team to Any Result You Desire, and Don’t be a Hamster: 30 Tips to Spark the Imagination of Busy People.