Knowing the Pulse of Your Team

There is no exact science to the art of leadership. People are moved and motivated by all kinds of people, events, and circumstances. So how do you keep people happy and productive, and how much of that has to do with great leadership? What do your employees want and need to stay motivated? What can you as a leader do to make a difference, truly get to know your team members and find out what makes them tick?

Achieving this often requires connecting on a personal level and maintaining this personal relationship on a consistent basis. Leaders have a critical responsibility to monitor the pulse of their team. Here are some tangible tips and tools that belong in your leadership tool kit:

  • Take the time to check in with your people and find out how they are feeling about what they are doing.

The more input team members have into the way they do their job and the more they have the opportunity to share with you their own ideas and needs, the more motivated they are likely to be. For example, seek out your employees’ thoughts on finding a new way of doing old tasks. Ask, “what exactly would you change to get job X done in a more efficient or effective manner?”

  • Go out of your way to catch employees doing something right.

This often doesn’t come naturally to managers. As leaders, it is so easy to be blinded by people falling short or not meeting our expectations that we miss when they get it right. Look for employees’ successes and when you find them, immediately let the employee know exactly how much you personally appreciate it and how the organization benefits from their efforts.

  • Establish trust among team members by creating opportunities to build personal relationships with each other.

You can’t force team members to like each other or to be friends, nor should you even try. But truly getting to know your people will also present the potential to put them in situations where they can interact, connect, and find common ground with their colleagues. Often, in a way they wouldn’t be able to do if you as a leader weren’t aware enough to create such a positive and collaborative environment.

  • Share the spotlight by encouraging team members to voice their opinions.

Allow team members to make presentations both internally and externally; in fact, don’t only allow it, but encourage it, report it, and reward it. Just because you may be the official leader of a team doesn’t mean you should be doing all the talking. In fact, when you do this you send the message to your team that you believe you are the only one that has something to say. Plus, you lose touch with team members because they’re convinced you have no confidence in them and their abilities.

  • Don’t make every decision.

Rather, challenge team members to find the solution on their own with difficult problems and questions. Your objective is not only to get them to think for themselves but also to have them identify options and alternatives that you as a leader may not have thought of. In the process you will not only engage team members and motivate them, you will also get to know them better—including the way they think or don’t think about strategic issues and decision making.

What specific steps do YOU take to monitor the pulse of your team? Write to Steve Adubato at

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Steve Adubato

Steve Adubato

Steve Adubato Ph.D., is an Emmy Award-winning anchor of three television series, “One-on-One with Steve Adubato,” “Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato,” and “State of Affairs with Steve Adubato” airing on PBS stations, Thirteen/WNET, NJTV and WHYY and on cable on FiOS. He has appeared on the Today show, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, AM970, SiriusXM and NPR as a media and political analyst. Steve is the author of numerous books including his latest, “Lessons in Leadership.” Steve also provides executive leadership coaching and seminars for a variety of corporations and organizations both regionally and nationally.

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  1. Jane_aau 26 June, 2016 at 06:46 Reply

    Great article! Individuality in each team is good to have to get more views and perspectives, however this should not diminish teamwork. The work of the leader is to inspire its members to cooperate and be more proactive in groups activities.

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