Getting the Best from Others


People tend to revert back to “type” when they are under pressure. If you’re running a business, this can cause big problems when you need people to work together quickly and effectively. Understanding what lies behind the motivations for each one of your team members will result in better teamwork and greater business success. So, how do you get the best out of people? This was our theme for the March Concannon Connection event held at the Belmont Hotel in Leicester.


What motivates people?

In our last blog, we looked at The Magic of Teamwork and what can be achieved when a team works well together. Understanding your team – or anyone else – starts by gaining an insight into their individual characters. First, you need to discover what motivates them. At our event, we asked attendees for their thoughts - their responses included:

  • People like to feel respected and valued for their efforts

  • People like to be encouraged in their work

  • People tend to respond well to flattery!

People DO NOT respond well to negative interactions, e.g. being blackmailed or threatened, and yet many managers make this mistake by being overly dictatorial in their approach. I asked our event attendees to think of as many ways as possible for someone to get them a cup of coffee. For example, if I asked someone to get me a cup of coffee at gunpoint, they would react, but here lies the problem…I would have to go with them, which makes this demand pretty pointless. Negative motivators actually result in tasks taking longer, which is not an expedient or effective way of working. People feel resentful at the way they are being managed, resulting in lower morale, reduced quality, and a less incentivised team. This leads to less productivity in your business, which could have a big impact on your profit margin. Instead of demotivating people, how do you successfully motivate your team?

How do you get the best out of people?

Put simply; get out of your own head and into theirs. Try to understand each team member’s personal motivations by gaining a full awareness of their individual character types. As human beings, our personalities are immensely complex and challenging. I always like to imagine a person is like an onion: we all have different layers, and when we are put under pressure, those layers are peeled back to reveal our true nature. So, how do you discover your true “character” and those of your teams?

Character types and working styles

There are a lot of psychometric and behavioural tests available – for example, many businesses use Myers-Briggs for personality testing. However, I have a tool that I find works well with my clients in helping them to determine team character types and working styles. We explored these further with discussions around the room - you may find that each one of these character types resonates with you in some way. However, people tend to be a combination of two:

Be Strong

This person appears cool, calm and collected at all times, even when faced with a crisis. They are reliable and hate saying ‘no’, and they will feel uncomfortable if they are exposed in any way. However, what you see on the outside is not necessarily what’s going on inside! Despite a cool exterior, these people can be compassionate. To get the best out of a ‘”be strong”, you need to always give these people the respect they deserve.

Hurry Up

This person always starts with the end in mind; they hate long deadlines, hate detail, and they always seek the quickest route to get the job done. One of their faults includes a lack of quality, but they will always finish tasks, which is one of their strengths. They tend to talk fast and loudly, so you need to talk quickly to these people if you want to get the best out of a “hurry up”.

Be Perfect

You can expect precision, quality and detail with these people. They are great planners, always preparing well for the task in hand. However, they need to be given enough time to achieve set tasks. A common combination is “Be Strong / Be Perfect”, which can lead to someone being a bit of a “control freak” at times!

Try Hard

This is someone who is always willing to try something new once, but they are easily bored. They tend to be creative but can suffer from a lack of focus, so they may fail to compete tasks. You need to let these people work things out for themselves to get the best out of them. The combination of a “Try Hard / Be Perfect” is a person well suited to R&D (Research and Development) because they love discovering data and gathering information.

Please Person

These people are great team players; they are versatile, adaptable and you can rely on them to deliver. However, to get the best out of a “please person”, you need to be NICE to them! They can be easily overwhelmed, as they

can’t say ‘no’, and do not respond well to conflict or confrontation. If you’re looking for a sales person, an ideal combination of character types would be a “Hurry Up / Please Person”.

Focus on people to learn what motivates them

There are many different combinations of character types with varying strengths and weaknesses, but once you understand each team member’s working style, you will be able to get the best out of your people. If you want to run a successful business and achieve results, you need your teams to work well together. This requires trust, understanding, and an acceptance of people’s character traits.

When your team is under pressure to deliver, they are far more likely to go into action and respond effectively if they feel understood. Be aware that cultural influences can also have an effect on character traits. Another important point to remember is, as a leader, if you dominate over crisis situations, your team may feel deterred from responding effectively when faced with a future crisis. Our clients have benefited from the tools we use to help them discover team characters and working styles - please get in touch if you would like to find out more.

Next Concannon Connection event

Our next event will be on 18 May 2018 at Soft Touch Arts on New Walk, Leicester and the theme will be “Influencing others”. If you have been to one of my events before, you know the rule – it’s free to come along, but I do ask that you bring someone along with you. This could be a business contact, client or your best friend - it really doesn’t matter! To find out more about our Concannon Connection events, Business Club, or our Director’s Development Forum, please...