Is your team strong on ideas but weak when it comes to action? You may be managing a group of idealists. They jump from one point to another, and some of their comments may seem to come out of nowhere.
Idealists will focus on definite themes, even if they aren’t obvious. Harness their energy and commitment with these strategies:
- Introduce new tasks carefully. Don’t just offer instructions, talk about the purpose of your approach.
- Offer positive, genuine feedback. Empathy and honesty matter to idealists. They’ll reject safe but dishonest conversations.
- Focus on the big picture. Talk about systems, logic and principles and stand ready to answer “Why?”
- Talk about the benefits of actions. Link your organization’s goals to “the greater good.” Don’t provide too many practical details unless the team is ready to ask for them.
- Listen to their insights on people. They’re usually accurate. Your team members can recognize others’ unique qualities and they’ll offer genuine, spontaneous feedback on those qualities.
— Adapted from Turning Team Performance Inside Out, Susan Nash, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, http://nicholasbrealey.com.