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Defining Dynamic: Managing the Personalities in your Organization

Apr 12, 2008
The good manager learns from day one that maximizing your resources is essential to good organizational management. Whether it's people, materials, or money, using the resources on hand is the difference between success and failure. No resource is more critical or more hard to manage than your most valuable asset,your people.

It is the law of nature that when you put any group of people together a complex set of relationships develop and together they define the dynamic of a group. This dynamic is present in every group and one of the most important considerations is that an organization depends on how well the group functions. Your business lives and dies based on how well your team functions as a group. No one individual can carry an organization on his or her back. It takes a group of individuals to sustain and prosper in today's volatile marketplace.

One of the first things a manager must do is assess the talents, strengths, and vulnerabilities of each member of the team. Strengths and weakness are not just associated with skills. The capacity to work under stress, persistence, tolerance, diplomacy, and humor are all areas that affect a team member's performance in the group. Someone who is uncomfortable with long term projects, someone who can't handle the stress of downtime, or someone who doesn't take goals seriously can impact the dynamic of the group but none of these people are necessarily liabilities to the group.

The beauty of resource management is the ability to pair and group members whose skills and temperament combine to create complementary skills. Because the group is a living system, each member impacts the others and can bring out needed skills or abilities. An example is to pair your introverted salesperson with the "class clown" salesperson. Initially, expect fireworks but as time goes by these two can help each other learn to lighten up and tighten up. Together, their temperaments can make an outgoing but appropriate sales team that rolls with the punches and achieves goals. The key is to discover and group complementary abilities.

Managers must be intuitive and skilled interviewers to assess their team members. Observing how the individuals interact is invaluable. A good manager joins in group activities and shares time in casual settings to get to know exactly what their resources are. Employees should be thoroughly interviewed at the time of hire and at regular intervals after their hire. Because an addition to the group changes the group dynamic, employees should be interviewed whenever someone new is hired. These interviews are not necessarily structured or even private. A casual group conversation or a few minutes in the break room can give the manager an excellent picture of how their people are reacting to a new employee or if problems are developing in the group.

The point is to keep an ear to the ground and never assume that all's well until someone is banging on your door. Any good manager will constantly remind themselves that their group is both fragile and durable. Every living thing has innate strength but is also vulnerable. Just as the rule of sales is "know your product", the rule of management is "know your people." One may think that this examination and assessment of personnel is unnecessary. The days of "just do your job and get along" are over. Today's manager must avert harassment claims, hostile workplace accusations, and high turnover by paying attention to the personalities of their group and building a healthy and functional workplace.

When the manager is the architect of the group dynamic and group member's skills and temperaments are viewed as assets that can make a group far greater than any individual personality, the first step towards organizational success is taken. One of the definitions of any group is that it is more than the sum of its parts and the intuitive and progressive manager can make sure that every group contributes and forwards organizational goals. Making groups work is definitely "job one!"
About the Author
Melissa Vokoun is a successful Business Advisor, Coach and Trainer. To learn more about the services available, please visit the website at: http://www.coachingqueen.com or call 847-392-6886.
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