Influence

Do You Get Along With Your Team?

By February 24, 2021April 23rd, 202138 Comments

Old school leadership is you being in control and “micro-managing” the people. New school leadership is empowering the team to be in control and leading the people.

How do you lead your team? It’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many ways to lead a team. When you were given the position of manager you will have been given a set of objectives, and a team to help you complete those objectives.

How you manage or lead the team is your decision. It’s all entirely up to you. However, remember the position is not most important, who you are is. It’s also important to make the position your own, but not as important as how you make the position your own.

1. Its Not What You Are, It’s Who You Are

It’s up to you if you get along with the team or not, and if they follow you because they want to or because they have to.

We’ve already talked about climbing the leadership ladder, how you lead your team and that your style of leadership is your decision. Please remember, your leadership style will either push you up the ladder at a fast pace, or will pull you back down the ladder.

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It’s all about your character and who you are as a person. What you value and how you feel on the inside will ultimately be the key to determining your leadership style.

During my time in Scotland when I was hired as an engineering production manager, the hiring manager was very impressed with my interview. He was so impressed, he even told the whole leadership team that I was amazing.

Apparently I was going to change lots of things, make improvements, and that they should be on their toes for my arrival.

Talk about pressure.

I had only been a project manager previously, but I did have a lot of determination to become a great leader. I also told them that I wanted to make a huge difference.

The person who hired me would be my line manager, and he had 30 years of management experience. I hardly had any. So I was very surprised that he thought I could change things. Especially things that he previously hadn’t been able to change in his 10 years as engineering depot manager.

2. Building Relationships

Although I found his evaluation of me surprising following just one interview, I saw it as a challenge, and was one I wanted to grab with both hands. At that time my management and leadership experience wasn’t great, but I did know how to build relationships.

I was also studying how to build trust, and how to influence people. It didn’t matter if the team reported to me or not. People are people and we were all one team.

My first task was to improve the ‘in process’ and ‘depot checks’ within the engineering production management team. The goal for this improvement was to get the managers out of the office, and be more visible around the depot.

I felt this was a priority to improve because there is only one way we can bond with people, and build relationships. That is to actually be visible, and be there for the team. If we did this then we would show them that we cared.

The more visible we were, the more opportunities we had to talk to the team. We would also find out where and how we could help them.

For many years, the depot teams were complaining that they didn’t see their managers enough. They didn’t feel like they were cared for. It was the easy option for the manager on shift to stay in the office, close the door, and shut themselves off from the rest of the depot.

When actually they should be doing the total opposite. As I started work to improve the processes that would enable us to become more visible, the other managers didn’t like it all. The reason being is they would have to do a lot more walking around and engaging with the teams.

They didn’t like putting in the effort. They had been set in their ways for all this time, and didn’t want someone new like me coming in and changing it.

Actually, the engineering production managers were not looking forward to me starting because of that very reason. They were told that I was going to be changing lots of things, and this made them very upset.

So, when I made a quick start on improving the visibility of the team, they kind of retaliated and would send me messages trying to put me off.

3. Being Present for Your People

However, in the end they did understand that they needed to be more visible with the teams and around the depot. So after a few weeks they came around, and agreed with the improvement I wanted to make.

How I went about trying to make this improvement for the engineering production managers was to lead by example. I didn’t have the buy-in from them, or even my line manager when I told them about the changes I wanted to make.

So, I had to prove that this change would work by going through it myself, and validating the process for them. I did this by applying the principles that I am sharing with you in my articles. There was no time for me to plan anything, I had make this happen and make it happen quickly.

When I first started, I shadowed 3 of the engineering production managers for about three weeks. I did this so I knew my way around the depot and where everything was. When I was fully up to speed I began working on my first task.

What I needed to do first was to start being more visible myself, more accessible, and more engaging with the depot teams. I wanted to get to know them, and for them to get to know me. Most of all, I shared with them the leadership principles that I had been studying and applying.

I did this because I wanted to show the teams how we could accomplish amazing things together. The teams had never had this kind of engagement with the engineering production managers before. So this was brand new for all.

When my line manager saw me doing this he didn’t like it, and thought I was working on the wrong things. All he was interested in was me changing things so that the performance of the trains would improve, and how we can get the trains out of the depot into service on time.

He wasn’t thinking about the teams or the people at all. His style of leadership was fuelled by his ego, and he wanted us to know that he was the boss. He told me and the team that I was wasting time trying to build relationships, and changing processes that would make us more visible.

The problem was, he needed to be more visible more than anyone. But, he didn’t know that, and he certainly didn’t think he needed to.

4. Being The Best You Can Be

He was the boss and he had to be in control, and basically micro manage us. My goal was to try to empower the teams and assist them rather than tell them what to do. My line manager loved to talk over everyone, not listen and then give out orders.

I thought it was best to ask questions and then listen rather than do all the talking. It was my time as an engineering production manager where I really learned what it was to be a highly effective leader. I learned what I needed to do to become one, and become the best person I could be.

I also learned that even though the boss brought me in to change things in his depot, underneath he actually didn’t want anything to change. Whenever I or any other member of the team recommended new changes, he totally dismissed them and rolled his eyes.

He was a control freak, and that is exactly what a manager does, take control. Leaders empower the team to be in control so that they can achieve a lot more.

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I was there to make a difference and have a positive influence on the team that I was leading. I was not there to manage them, to control them, or give out orders. So, I ignored my line manager and continued to build on my relationships.

I continued to get out of the office and talk to the people to see where I could help. My line manager’s influence on the team was getting weaker, and after a while he was replaced by someone else. I don’t think that had anything to do with what I was doing, but it was a good change in the end.

Managers who pride themselves on ego and being in control of everything are not followed because their team wants to. They are followed because they have to.

Leaders who pride themselves on building relationships, and empowering the team are followed because their team wants to. That is when you know if you get along with your team or not.

Do you want to manage or lead? It’s your choice.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

38 Comments

  • Hannie says:

    Hi Tom. We are all biased in our own ways, I guess. My husband has worked for the Dutch government and supervised a lot of tests. It turned out, the test leaders often had a hypothesis and worked toward that hypothesis.

    We also see that happening nowadays with the virus. Governments have a hypothesis and work toward it. Even when the virus is new, and nobody really knows what is best.

    I had to think of that, reading your story about your manager. He clearly had a hypothesis in his head which you didn’t share. 🙂

    Do you have any idea how he did after he left? Whether he had learned something himself?

    • Tom says:

      Hi Hannie,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you could relate to the article.

      I have no idea of where my old manager is or how he is at the moment. It would be great to get back in touch with him.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Jerry says:

    Hello Tom,

    This is a really great post and very grounded in reality for most people, regardless of if they are in leadership positions or not! I felt like this really said a lot about the type of person I would work for and I have been in situations where I’ve had a “Manager” and a “Leader. There was a huge difference in how I responded to them.

    Team meetings with a “Manager” would be short and unproductive because I simply wouldn’t have anything to say to someone who isn’t really taking my ideas and considerations seriously.

    In my last position our team manager was a pretty good leader. She did a great job in being visible and she had a door open policy. Anytime we had something to get off of our chest or a new idea to increase productivity, just come on in. Although I am no longer there, her leadership style resonates with me still and this post did a great job in pointing out the difference between the two.

    Great information and a really good read for anyone in any industry or position.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Jerry,

      Thank you for your detailed comment. I’m so pleased that you found this article valuable.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces as a manager because there will be people who read this article who can relate to you. Hopefully they can learn from you just as much as they learn from me. It’s great that you had a role model to follow in leadership, I hope you get back in touch with her in the future.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Goutam says:

    Hi Tom,

    Well work experience you have how you explain in your article. Yes lot of people hire staff and expectations are really high because of work demand . But each person ability and work knowledge is very . Being a good relationship is one of the key tactic in the industry .

    As much as you can help and good for the management as well staff really nicely presented.

    Happy Influencer .

    Good luck.

    Regards,
    Goutam

    • Tom says:

      Hi Goutam,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you found this article valuable.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Jean says:

    Hi Tom

    I really love this post. It reminds me of a time when I worked for a BMW dealer in Perth. It was one of the few independent, family-owned dealerships. The Dealer Principal/owner took time daily to speak to every single employee just to say hi and see how they were. The result was that everyone felt valued and would let him know if there were any problems.

    It also reminds me of a time when I worked for News International in advertising. When there was space to sell at the end of the day, we had a supervisor who would shout and generally threaten us. We preferred if the Manager was in because she would get on the phone and start selling. What do you think we quickly did then? Yep, got on the phone and started selling.

    Leading by example is everything.

    Looking forward to checking out more of your posts.

    Best,

    Jean

    • Tom says:

      Hi Jean,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you love this article, means so much to me.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences with working for the BMY dealer in Perth. Hopefully a lot of people can relate to you and learn from your expereinces too. I love when others share similar expereinces to me so we can all learn from each other, so thank you for that.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Kathy says:

    This is a well written post and shows how important it is to build relationships with team members. I absolutely agree that empowering others is the best way to lead. Though I’ve never been in management I agree that being visible and engaging with your team is the best way to increase production. Controlling and not listening to others sounds like a recipe for disaster, and was probably for the best that your line manager was replaced.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate your kind words in saying this is a well written article, means a lot to me.

      Empowering others is one of the best ways to lead yes, there are so many ways to lead well. Empowering our teams is so important to give them your power and responsibility.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Tom,

    You are absolutely right that you need to be there for the people that work for you. I used to walk the floor of my old warehouse every day, making time for all my depts and asking what they needed and how they were doing.

    It helped me to understand more about what their day looked like, as well as helped them with getting tasks done. Some days, the customers were so crowded that while the managers in the depts helped the customers, I would help restock things as needed.

    It’s supposed to be a team, never a one man show,

    Great article!

    Katrina

    • Tom says:

      Hi Katrina,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found this a great article.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences of walking your warehouse and making time for all the different departments. That is very inspiring and I hope people who read this article will learn from you just as much as they learn from me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Leah says:

    Hi Tom,

    This article really resonates with me. In my experience, building solid relationships with colleagues and managers makes all the difference in creating a healthy and productive workplace.

    I’ve heard it said before that “People don’t care what you know, until they know you care.” So true.

    Asking questions, engaging with the team, and empowering others – sounds like a highly effective leaderships style to me. I’m interested to hear more through your free e-book!

    • Tom says:

      Hi Leah,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased this article has resonated with you.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences in building relationships because it is so important. Hopefully people can learn from your expereinces, from their own expereinces and from mine.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Your opening statement doesn’t get any better than this. You’re right; new school leadership is all about empowering the people around you and ensuring that the trust goes both ways.

    I always encourage my teammates to think outside of the box and fuel one another with ideas. Only then can we grow as a team and achieve great things and do better than we did yesterday.

    I have a hard time getting along with people that think they know everything. If you ask me, it’s all about communication and thought exchange.

    We as entrepreneurs must find a common language and ideally learn to get along with others and accept their experiences, whether they are good or bad.

    Thanks for the lovely read, Tom. Out of this world as always!

    • Tom says:

      Hi Gorjan,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that the opening statement resonated with you, that tells me those opening statements are doing their job.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces with your team and encouraging your them to think deeper and outside the box. Growing as an individual and growing as a team are so important.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Jamie L. says:

    Hi Tom. I love all your articles. They are such simple recommendations and when put into action are actually common sense. In the middle of a busy stressful position we never think of these techniques and qualities. Your articles always help me identify these situations and flaws as I do them and your articles come to mind. I quickly put your recommendations into action. Your results have made such an impact on me that I try to adopt a new tip each day. I’ve been reading your other articles and always find something that fits my current challenges. Thank you for your leadership and insight.
    Stay Healthy!

    • Tom says:

      Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for your comment. I am so pleased that you love this and my other articles, means a lot to me.

      Your kind words are very inspiring to me and really helps me in pushing on and writing more articles to help you and my toher readers with their leadership, personal growth and influence.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Christine says:

    It’s true that employees have to follow the boss because they have to, and if the manager doesn’t work on his personal relationship with his team they will continue following his instructions simply because he or she is in charge. They’ll likely also complain a lot and may be unsatisfied with the work or general performance.

    A boss who is really out there like you describe, who asks questions, who checks on his team, and who makes sure that he is part of the team and not just the “top dog”, is the one the rest of the team will learn to respect, and they will follow his/her instructions or suggestions because they want to and agree with it.
    I wish more managers would understand that.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you found this article valuable.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this topic, I hope a lot of managers read this article too and learn from your thoughts just as much as they do from mine. A boss who doesn’t look at themselves as the “top dog” is definitely on the right path.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Cornelia says:

    Hi Tom, I had a manager once that was so good, she was a leader, she knew how the system worked and you could have asked her anytime for assistance. She knew us and she always listened and was really great in building relationships. Our team did very well, those were the days and she was a little bit luckier than you because her manager also was a leader.

    It’s very difficult to work for “the boss” that only believes in micro-managing, like you said that was what managers were about.

    I think you did great, it’s best to lead by example.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Cornelia,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s my pleasure to share these articles and I am so pleased you find them valuable.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces with your previous leader. It sounds like she was a great leader and one that you followed because you wanted to. Listening to understand the team is one of the most important traits of any leader and it sounds like she did that.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Vicky says:

    Hi Tom!

    That’s funny, just yesterday I was listening to a podcast about leadership, and this is exactly what they were talking about. The “new” leadership.

    I always felt like micromanaging a team isn’t the best way to help them. Managing every detail makes them feel weighed down, and afraid of making a mistake. A great leader not only allows others to make mistakes, they understand that greatness comes from mistakes and what we learn from them.

    I once had an internship where my boss basically said “do what you think will help, I trust you”, and oh my, that was the best job ever. Did I procrastinate and waste time? Heck no! I had nothing to push against. My creativity was at the forefront and in the short time I was there I built a full website, designed business cards and created posters for our non-profit adult learning program. Trusting your team is a huge factor.

    I’m really glad to see the mindset shift around leadership is starting to gain momentum!

    Interesting read, thank you!

    Vicky

    • Tom says:

      Hi Vicky,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found this an interesting read.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces in your internship. The leader you had during this time sounds like they knew what they were doing and it’s great that you can share this with us. Hopefully there will be many who can relate to you and learn from you just as much.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Mick says:

    It is all about your character and for many in positions of leadership doesn’t come naturally and some have to work at it.

    A great communicator and a person who is approachable and listens to their team are key elements to being a success as a leader.

    Also, someone who loves his job and position because many just go through the motions.

    I have worked with many different leaders over my years as a freelancer and never come across the two who were similar.

    Another great post Tom, and thank you for sharing.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Mick,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you found this a great article, means a lot to me.

      Leadership is very, very tough and we need to work on our leadership every single day of the week. When we do that we are strengthening our character at the same time.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Dalibor says:

    Being the best you can is always appreciated. But when you combine it with GOOD leadership strategy, you are becoming the person to look at. As you said: it’s not what you are, it’s who you are.

    I myself value when a person leads by example, not words. That is how I want to be, and I am trying to be that.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Dalibor,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you found the article valuable.

      It sounds great that you are working on yourself and that you want to lead your people by example. Leading by example is the most important leadership principle for me. Showing our people that we care and doing what we say is a lot more powerful than just telling them.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Andrew says:

    The difference between a manager and a leader is huge.
    I know there are many people in the workforce who just want to be told what to do, get their pay-check, and go home, and these people need a wise manager to ‘keep an eye on them.’

    However, any organization that wants to be progressive and have the support of all of the people they employ needs to employ leaders as you have suggested. And a great leader will foster great relationships within the workplace which will make everyone in the team feel like an important member. They will then put in effort over and above what they were employed for to make sure that their organization does well.

    I can’t understand any person in a leadership role who does not take the time to interact with their employees to find out how they can help the employees to do a better job????? It should be the number one consideration of any manager.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I still work with people who just want to be told what to do, get paid and go home. It is sad to see because they have so much potential to be a lot more and become leaders. I agree the number one consideration of a leader needs to be their people and knowing who they are, and how they are.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Roopesh says:

    Hi Tom
    As I was reading your article I smiled. It reminded me of my boss that I had when I still had a full-time job. They were managers and not leaders. The environment was a retail pharmacy chain.

    So, my manager followed orders from the bosses upstairs and simply relayed the orders to us, the workers. We felt like a number, just people to come in and do the work.

    The only time we were given the attention is when the stats or targets did not make the big boys on top happy.

    I would also hear the folks on my level, say ‘we are doing what they tell us to do, because we have to, not because we want to.’

    And when I read how you changed things by implementing those changes, I could imagine how valued the staff felt when you engaged with them. I can also imagine how productivity might have soared.

    Sure nobody likes changes, but nobody likes to feel a nobody either. And that’s the difference between a leader and a manager.

    One makes you feel like somebody. And in the end, we all get along on the same team.

    Lovely article, Tom

    • Tom says:

      Hi Roopesh,

      Thank you for your detailed comment. It makes me smile that this article has made you smile too. Means a lot to me.

      I appreciate you sharing your expereinces with your manager because I am hoping that the people who read this article can resonate with you and learn from you too. Nobody likes to be a nobody, I love that. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure that everybody on their team is a somebody.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Ceci says:

    Hi Tom,
    An interesting article. I have worked at a senior manager level for many years with Directors and VPs in O&G who contrary to what they said, really were not looking for change – but were quick to take credit when things worked out! We respected these individuals because of their titles.

    I have also worked with a Director who empowered me in very way, and actually became one of my mentors. He led by example, being willing to roll up his sleeves to get the work done in whatever way was necessary. We respected him for that, not because of his title.

    Sometimes though, I have seen that even in a team, we cannot apply a broad brush of leadership style to all. Some folks require micromanagement to get them to the next level, while others will simply take up their assignment and run with it will little or no supervision. The important thing is that they recognize that you are there for them no matter the way in which they present. I’m sure you would have observed this as well.

    Loved the article.

    Ceci

    • Tom says:

      Hi Ceci,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you loved this article, really means a lot to me.

      It’s great that you share your expereinces as a senior manager because there will be many senior managers who read this article and will be able to relate to you. You have experience of working with a manager and a leader, just like I have and it’s great that you can share those expereinces too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • shalisha says:

    I love this post! Any team leader or office manager that micro-manages me, not only stifles my ability to do the job, but creates friction between her and I. Because what you’re telling the person that you’re micro-managing is that you don’t trust that they can do the job. I’d love to send this to my office manager (on the down low of course).

    I want to be lead, not managed.

    Another great point you made is: “Its Not What You Are, It’s Who You Are” I can’t tell you how many times a manager has demanded respect because of her title – when her character totally sucked. Great post.

    But how can I convey this to my manager without seeming like I’m being insubordinate?

    • Tom says:

      Hi Shalisha,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you love this article, really means a lot to me.

      You are absolutely right about micro-management. I had exactly the same problem when I was micro-managed, I was not allowed to reach my full potential as a leader. The worst thing was, I didn’t realise it at the time.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  • Hi, Tom thank you so much for this informative article. I have to testify on the part where you talk about relationship building, Being a thought leader is all about not only building relationships but nurturing them as well. You as a thought leader finding ways to connect with people, that help them stay motivated to express their ideas. Ideas that can potentially be innovative and make a difference in the world. Thank you again 🙂

    • Tom says:

      Hi Viviana,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you found this an informative article.

      Building relationships and strengthening those relationships is imperative for any leader. Especially if they want to keep building trust and increasing their influence with their people.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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