As referenced in an earlier blog post, being intentional about supporting and challenging your team members is critical if you are going to unleash their true potential. This is specifically about how to best support your team. How do you most effectively make deposits so they are capable of taking on difficult challenges in pursuit of their goals.

But the key to doing this well is understanding that not everyone on your team is the same.

Typically there are four different ways that your team members will want to be supported. Understanding which method they prefer is critical to your effectiveness as a leader.

1:1 Time
What to do: Spend time with this type of team member, getting to know them and allowing them to get to know you. This needs to be quality time that can come in the form of going to lunch or grabbing coffee. It can also happen in the office as long as it doesn’t feel mechanical. During this time, allow yourself to be vulnerable and real so a genuine connection can be formed.

What to avoid: Avoid distractions like allowing someone to interrupt this time or engaging on your cell phone. Being uber professional in 1:1 time or just focusing on performance eeps everything superficial and distant.

Help or Partnering with Specific Tasks
What to do: 
Dive into the work or tasks they are currently engaging in and look for opportunities to serve this type of team member by helping them. Whether it be taking something off of their plate or guiding them through the execution plan, taking part in their success is meaningful.

What to avoid: Avoid taking too much on for them. This makes them feel disempowered or you may be mistaking this team member with someone who is lazy or not engaged.

Verbal and Written Praise or Acknowledgment
What to do: 
First step is to understand if they prefer recognition in a group setting or 1:1. Ensure this praise of acknowledgment is genuine and sincere. Typical forums will be in team meetings, group emails, 1:1 email or meeting as well as a personal note. This praise isn’t just about what they accomplished, it should also be about what impressed you about how they achieved it.

What to avoid: Insincere praise. Also, avoid public recognition if that’s something that makes your team member uncomfortable.

Compensation, Bonus, Awards for Performance
What to do: 
Reward performance with thoughtful incentives. If you know they won’t spend financial comp on anything special, then tell this team member they are doing a great job with a meaningful gift or incentive opportunity. Key here is to understand that team members who prefer this method of support are not greedy or spoiled. They just appreciate this type of recognition.

What to avoid: The same old compensation ideas. Most bonuses etc are thoughtless and cold. It is just an amount of money or the latest gadget and not tailored to the people.

Use these four methods to drop deposits into your team member’s bank accounts so there’s an adequate balance when you need to challenge them or make a withdrawal.