Being a leader is never easy. Luckily there are hundreds of successful leaders who not only prove that it’s possible but also show you the way to do it right. You can draw inspiration from reading their stories or even their books that range from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (a Roman emperor so great he was actually revered) to Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos).
One of the most important tasks a leader must handle is assigning tasks. Your ability to do this well will have a great effect on your business success as you really can’t expect your employees to do their job if they don’t know what exactly they must do to help the company achieve success. Thus, you should always start your leadership training (or a refreshment course for this crucial skill) with redefining your task management.
Task-Oriented or Relationship-Oriented Leaders: Which Are You?
Start with understanding what kind of leader you are. There are some specialized tests that can help you determine it, but the definitions offered by them vary greatly. In essence, all leadership types boil down to the two main principles:
This type of leaders is focused primarily on the task, meaning the actual job instead of the people performing it. This can be a good thing because they put much thought into developing a detailed step-by-step plan for achieving their goals. Such instruction helps people perform better and makes it easier to fix any mistakes that occur during the process.
On the other hand, lack of personal care reduces motivation and can even cause conflicts. In essence, this is a system of total autocratic leadership, so employees may often be dissatisfied, which will reduce the overall productivity.
These leaders have a primary focus on the team, which allows them to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. This makes it easier to provide feedback and motivate employees. The knowledge is also instrumental in choosing the perfect person for every task.
However, if taken too far, this approach may prove ineffective. You must have a dual focus on both the task and the team in equal measure, in order to achieve the best balance of performance and results.
How to Set Tasks Effectively
Set the right task for the right person
This is the key factor when it comes to task management. Remember that each of your employees is unique and thus, has a different level of ability. Demanding something that a person simply cannot do is unreasonable, so it’s vital to understand what your employees are capable of.
Start learning this from the job interviews so that you can pick people who are capable of handling the tasks you need them to do. Be sure to include a personality test in your candidate screening process or use a specialized personality testing service to do the testing for you.
Bear in mind that you must consider not only the personality and temperament of the workers, but also their actual skills, abilities, and ambitions.
For your company to work best it must be cohesive. To achieve this, you must make sure every department (or employee when you are a smaller business) knows exactly what the others do and how they fit into the general scheme of things.
This transparency about assigned tasks will ensure that each of your employees knows exactly where to go for help if they need it.
Promote productive competition
Competition encourages better performance, so introduce some small incentives that will motivate your employees to ‘win’.
However, it’s a dangerous tool because if the office turns too competitive, people can become malicious and cruel to each other. You must develop competitions that would be fun and enjoyable for all participants, but still offer enough incentive to win.
Use online team task-management tools
Forego boring meetings, which are a total waste of time. You’ll achieve better results using specialized software, like Zoho or Trello, and they’ll give you a chance to track progress on the tasks in real time.
Develop tasks and plans with the team
Get people involved from the planning stage so that they can offer their input and help you decide who is actually the best choice for the job. This will also help them understand the task better.
Explain the ‘big picture’
Always tell your employees what your long-term and ultimate goals are. They must know how the task they are assigned NOW will influence the company as a whole in the future. This would be a great boost in motivation.
Be reasonable with status updates requirements
Hourly status updates will prevent a person from concentrating on the task. Take the deadline into account and develop a reasonable timeframe that will allow your employees to actually work.
Employee Personality Types and How to Manage Them
There are many different personality type classifications, but the one created by Jung is the most popular today. It’s quite a complex system, but a good leader has to understand it in some measure to ensure they create a positive environment and use the right approach to reach their employees. Remember the words of Frederick Herzberg who determined that the best way to motivate people is to ensure the job doesn’t DISsatisfy them.
Check out the 6 basic personalities that can be found in any office:
These are idealists guided by their core values and with an affinity for finding creative solutions.
Motivation: Offer them a chance to get creative.
People who love analyzing and influencing others. They will never back down from a challenge.
Motivation: Offer them a challenge.
These are sensitive personalities with an affinity for empathy and desire for total cooperation.
Motivation: Explain how the task will help people.
These people are hardworking and ‘by the book’. They make great managers.
Motivation: Set them clear goals and offering managing responsibilities.
These are introverts but with a keenness to make sure everything meets specific standards (think OCD, but lighter).
Motivation: Get them involved into the planning process and allow to work at their own pace.
These people are energetic and love being the center of attention.
Motivation: Give them a chance to impress others with their performance.
Be a Good Leader: Understand Your Team
There is no arguing the fact that being a good leader is hard, and you’ll definitely make some mistakes along the way. However, you can prevent many of them and reduce potential problems for the business by learning to understand your team. Set the right tasks to the right people and you’ll get the results you need.