There is never a dull moment when you are leading people. Just when you think you’ve got your day planned out and you’re all set to be super productive, one of your team members will rock up at your desk (virtual or otherwise) and throw a spanner in the works. 

On any given day, you’ll find yourself moving between the three different roles that every boss plays

  1. Leader – setting direction, building team culture, motivating people
  2. Coach – working with the team and the individuals to bring out their best 
  3. Manager – day-to-day management and supervision 

Great leaders are adaptors. They change their style based on the needs of the individuals within their team. For example, high performers need coaches, whereas low performers need managers. They all need leaders.

How do you work out who needs what? 

I’m a big fan of the Skill/Will matrix. It’s an easy tool to use to evaluate your team members and work out how to adjust your approach to bring out the best in them. It works for teams of all shapes and sizes – small teams of one or two people or more complex, layered teams. 

Plot each of your team members on the two-by-two matrix according to their skill level and willingness to perform well. You’ll quickly identify those who are ready to be empowered and stretched so they can soar; those who have bucket loads of enthusiasm but need skill development; those who are great practitioners but not overly motivated; and your low performers who need tight supervision. 

High performing teams are full of people with ‘high will’. People can learn new skills and those with high will are usually hungry to develop them. Those with low will are often resistors or blockers that hold your team back and frustrate your top performers. They may also take up a lot of your time. The question is, can you motivate them to a higher will state or do you need to manage them out?

This tool has worked very well for me in the past. It helped me understand how to change my style in one-on-one meetings with my team members and what professional development they might need. 

It helped me understand who I could afford to lose and who I couldn’t and what actions I needed to take to keep my best people engaged, motivated and performing at their finest. I was able to identify team members who had the potential to become high performers, and I worked with them to understand what motivated them and to build their skills. 

I found the matrix particularly powerful when I asked my direct reports to complete it for their teams, and we discussed the consolidated view together. They became more equipped to keep an eye out for development opportunities for each other’s team members and assist in their skill development. 

Everything you need to give it a go is below. You can download the tool and there is an instructional video on how to get the most out of it. 

Let us know how you go at hello@betterbosses.com.au 

A quote to inspire you

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.

Muhammad Ali

A simple tool

Download the skill will matrix and instructions here

Download the skill will matrix and instructions

Something to watch

Watch this 10-minute video to learn more about how to use the matrix to evaluate your team and what it means for your leadership style

There is never a dull moment when you are leading people. Just when you think you’ve got your day planned out and you’re all set to be super productive, one of your team members will rock up at your desk (virtual or otherwise) and throw a spanner in the works. 

On any given day, you’ll find yourself moving between the three different roles that every boss plays

  1. Leader – setting direction, building team culture, motivating people
  2. Coach – working with the team and the individuals to bring out their best 
  3. Manager – day-to-day management and supervision 

Great leaders are adaptors. They change their style based on the needs of the individuals within their team. For example, high performers need coaches, whereas low performers need managers. They all need leaders.

How do you work out who needs what? 

I’m a big fan of the Skill/Will matrix. It’s an easy tool to use to evaluate your team members and work out how to adjust your approach to bring out the best in them. It works for teams of all shapes and sizes – small teams of one or two people or more complex, layered teams. 

Plot each of your team members on the two-by-two matrix according to their skill level and willingness to perform well. You’ll quickly identify those who are ready to be empowered and stretched so they can soar; those who have bucket loads of enthusiasm but need skill development; those who are great practitioners but not overly motivated; and your low performers who need tight supervision. 

High performing teams are full of people with ‘high will’. People can learn new skills and those with high will are usually hungry to develop them. Those with low will are often resistors or blockers that hold your team back and frustrate your top performers. They may also take up a lot of your time. The question is, can you motivate them to a higher will state or do you need to manage them out?

This tool has worked very well for me in the past. It helped me understand how to change my style in one-on-one meetings with my team members and what professional development they might need. 

It helped me understand who I could afford to lose and who I couldn’t and what actions I needed to take to keep my best people engaged, motivated and performing at their finest. I was able to identify team members who had the potential to become high performers, and I worked with them to understand what motivated them and to build their skills. 

I found the matrix particularly powerful when I asked my direct reports to complete it for their teams, and we discussed the consolidated view together. They became more equipped to keep an eye out for development opportunities for each other’s team members and assist in their skill development. 

Everything you need to give it a go is below. You can download the tool and there is an instructional video on how to get the most out of it. 

Let us know how you go at hello@betterbosses.com.au 

A quote to inspire you

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.

Muhammad Ali

A simple tool

Download the skill will matrix and instructions here

Download the skill will matrix and instructions

Something to watch

Watch this 10-minute video to learn more about how to use the matrix to evaluate your team and what it means for your leadership style

Written by : Melissa McCarney

Melissa knows first hand what it is like to be responsible for leading people and has experienced all the highs and lows. She wants leaders to feel supported and confident which is why she founded Better Bosses. Melissa cares about sharing what she has learnt and gets excited about creating great content and tools that help leaders bring out the best in themselves and their teams - because she knows how rewarding that is. She is a mum of two teenagers who put her people management skills to the test in entirely new ways. And when she needs to clear her head, she swims.

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