not arrogant, just better

paul stallard's pr blog

Are you part of the team or just leading the team?

Written by Paul Stallard

Are you really part of the team or just leading it? An interesting question for leaders to ask themselves. I would imagine that most will automatically say yes, of course I am part of it. But is that really true?

One simple test I was told about recently, that will help show if you are part of the team, is the canteen test. If your team is sat having lunch in the canteen and you join table, would the conversation change? If it does or goes silent, that is quite telling.

I’m a believer that a leader should be able to join in conversations. I personally like to sit with my team in the office rather than hidden away in an office removed from the issues everyone has to deal with. I love the banter, hearing the cheers and frustrations. It is why I love the office.

I believe a leader should know enough to get on well with any member of their team. They should know details about their life outside of work – such as hobbies, family or pets, but also not overstep the respect line.

The team should find you approachable but I think it is important to keep a slight distance. They should know how far a conversation can be pushed, what is constructive and what is gossip, but also if you suggest an action to be completed by a specific time, that it is essential they do so. Being able to deliver difficult feedback without it feeling personal is a very important part of being a manager.

Would the conversation change if you sat at the table?