How well do you know your people

A number of leaders have asked how to motivate or deal with employees who are uninspired for any number of reasons… frustrations working virtually, the company in turmoil, no one getting raises, focused on “what ifs,” etc.  
My first question is: How well do you know the people working with or for you? I prefer “with” vs “for” because if they report to you, they are a vital element of your success. You are achieving goals together.

What have you said or done lately to let them know you care about them as individuals?
I encourage you to think about each person. Picture them when they’ve been at their best.

Ask yourself:
-What do I value most about this person?
-What are they good at?
-What has been their best work and how did they accomplish it?
-When are they at their best?
-What else do they do well?
-What’s important to them?
-What do I know about them personally?
-What do I know about how they want to grow?
Schedule a 1:1 meeting with them. If that’s already on your calendar, great! The best leaders meet with their people regularly. It’s the only way you’ll get to know them better as individuals, and that’s key.
When you meet, tell them you’ve been thinking about what they do well, what you appreciate about them and their work. Be specific. (If this is unusual for you, assure them there’s no hidden agenda. You just want to know them better and what’s important to them.)
Ask what other strengths, experiences, values they’d add that you may not be aware of. Make it a free-flowing conversation about them.
-What else are you good at or want to get better at?
-What aspects of your role do you enjoy most / least and why?
-How else would you like to grow?
-Are there any roles or growth opportunities you’d like to pursue?
-What would you do if nothing stood in your way?
-What makes you feel valued, appreciated?
If you don’t already know, ask how COVID has affected them and their family, friends. If you do know, what can you ask that is specific to them? If they’ve been acting uninspired or exhausted, be sure to ask about the behaviors you’ve noticed.

Remember: the best thing to say after they’ve spoken is, “Tell me more.”

Imagine the possibilities when you do this with each of your people, no matter how well you know them. You may be surprised at what you learn.
This awareness will help you look at what’s possible, capitalize on the various strengths of your team members. Plus, your people will know you’re thinking about them – that they matter as individuals – and you’re open to hearing their perspectives. This can lead to more open communication and paths to help them grow and do more of their best work.
When people believe they truly matter as individuals, it boosts their thinking, their morale and fosters a more positive mindset about their work. Think about what that might do for your team as a whole.
No matter how well you think you know people, there’s always more to learn. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what this does for them and you.

P.S. You can certainly use this approach to learn more about your peers and other colleagues, too. 
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