The Leadership Areas of Need
As a leader there is always an endless to-do list. Ultimately though, when we get down to the nuts and bolts, a leader must aim to satisfy three key areas of need:
Achieving the task;
Building the team; and
As leaders you are responsible for getting the job done through the people you lead. It is impossible to do everything yourself - you need the help and support of your team. If your team members are happy and satisfied in their role and, the team is able to work cohesively together, a better result is more likely.
Let's have a look at each of these areas of needs in more detail:
A task need is all the things that are needed in order to be able to achieve a task.
To satisfy task needs a leader must:
Have a clear understanding of the task at hand and the desired outcome;
Be able to communicate the task clearly and concisely;
Develop clear plans and targets to aim for in coordination with the team members;
Set priorities and ensure the work is fairly spread around the team;
Ensure that the team understands how the task at hand fits into the objectives of the team and organisation;
Ensure that the team has the necessary resources required to do the task (including time and authority);
Provide any necessary training or support for the team as required whilst the task is being completed;
Monitor progress and provide feedback to team members along the way;
Constantly look for ways that the team can improve performance of the tasks; and
Continue to plan for future task requirements.
A team need is all the things that are needed to ensure that your team is cohesive and working together. You can have the most intellectual, highly skilled individuals but this isn’t enough to make a team. If the people are not working together as a joint force, then they may fail the task.
To satisfy team needs a leader must:
Set team goals and standards;
Conduct team building activities which aid the team in getting to know each other, trust each other and cohesively work together;
Promote a positive and collaborative workplace culture;
Hold regular team meetings for team members to share information;
Use methods such as brainstorming and mind mapping to involve all members in aspects of a project so they feel part of the solution;
Encourage a collaborative approach by involving the team in decision making and problem solving activities;
Regularly seek out ideas and suggestions from the team;
Provide regular feedback to team members;
Recognise and reward work well done; and
Cross-skill the team across different tasks and functions to ensure that everyone has support in times of need.
An individual need is all the things that are needed to ensure that an employee is satisfied with their role. Everyone has individual needs which include physical (extrinsic) needs such as being able to take a break when needed and psychological (intrinsic) needs such as wanting to feel part of a team and have their work appreciated.
To satisfy individual needs a leader must:
Provide individual targets for employees to meet;
Maintain an environment which encourages open communication, trust and respect;
Give feedback and recognition of achievement;
Provide support to employees during challenging times (for example in times of change);
Promote collaboration and a sense of team togetherness;
Identify what motivates each employee;
Encourage and motivate team members;
Provide training and development opportunities;
Be fair, consistent and equal in your treatment of all team members;
Encourage individual responsibility and accountability in order to build the self-confidence and abilities of team members; and
Provide interesting and challenging work which will stretch and develop employees.
There are many times that the task needs may dominate and take priority over team and individual needs, after all task needs are what gets the work done that is required to run a successful business.
A good leader however, understands that they must allow time for the team and individual needs in order to have a better performing, more productive team.
Focusing on team and individual needs during quieter periods, will put the team in a good place for the next heavy task-focussed phase.
About PDI Solutions:
Kathy Miles from PDI Solutions has trained hundreds of management and leadership courses across Australia and is well placed to develop and facilitate a customised leadership program for your organisation.