Before becoming a manager many employees share a common misconception: They think that management consists of a “one size fits all” approach – where all employees are treated and dealt with in the same manner, right across the board. Without even being aware of it, all managers have a natural management style – it’s up to you to consciously apply and adapt that style whilst making sure you deal with individuals – not treating your workforce as one big constant.

It’s true to say that some managers employ a one size fits all manner – but typically these managers don’t do so well when it comes to getting the best out of their workforce. The fact is that every single workplace out there is made up of a diverse range of personalities and individuals. No two employees are the same; therefore people management approaches must vary from worker to worker.

If you’ve been managing all staff the same so far doing your tenure as a manager, it may not have gone quite as well as you’d hoped. In this article we’re going to look at the key reasons why managing a team of individuals is a delicate process – and why you need to take time to get to know each and every one of the individuals within that team.

How do employees differ?

Each and every one of us is made up of an intricate set of ethics, beliefs and thoughts. Employees differ on a multitude of levels: Some employees may love personal praise, they may love the limelight – other employees may be much happier just to lurk in the background without coming to the fore. Some employees work solely for their pay packet at the end of each month – others work in order to achieve some sense of fulfilment or satisfaction. Some employees are receptive to feedback and criticisms from managers, others see it as a personal attack on them. These differing characteristics are just the tip of the iceberg – so it’s pretty easy to see why you need to adapt your management style for each and every member on your team.

Dealing with diversity

Diversity is great – it’s what makes us humans so interesting. As a manager diversity can be a challenge to get to grips with at first, so it’s important that you look for ways in which you can quickly identify how certain members of staff wish to be managed. Some managers will actively have to ask employees how they’d like to be managed – but in some cases employees will let the manager know without any prompting. You might think an employee is being a little brash or disrespectful in tell you how they wish to be managed, but as Geoffrey James at puts it:

“You’d be “crazy not to take that employee’s advice!”

A lot of managers think that retreating from a “one size fits all” approach to a more bespoke approach for each member of staff is a sign of weakness, or a sign of being a bad manager. This couldn’t be further from the truth however; if you get to know your employees well and how they like to be managed you’ll find that they work much harder for you. When employees work harder targets tend to be hit – then everyone’s happy!