Working With Your Team

Bill Jones, Senior Executive, Davenport Laroche

Recently these ideas have been shared for leaders to think about and try. What do you think of them and how they might work for your organization? At Davenport Laroche, we use a lot of different things, including:

Working with your teamMore Independent Thinkers

Psychology Professor Art Markman at UT Austin says that highly responsive bosses might be creating problems for the employees and the team. If a leader always provides the answers quickly, the result is that team members don’t have to work for knowledge. Just like many parents make their children look up the spelling of words in the dictionary. It’s not about better spelling as much as it is about becoming independent thinkers. You want fully-functioning employees, not ones that need you there to get them through every issue. Encourage them to think through possibilities and come back to discuss what they thought of later. You might even find that the answers they come up with are better than what your response would have been. That’s a good day.

Building Your Team

It’s easy to look at a resume and think about what you could do with a Harvard grad or a CPA with 10 years’ in your business, but though their skills may be tempting, it won’t be worth it if they don’t easily blend with the rest of your team. Take your time meeting with people when you need to fill an empty spot. Let the people you interview meet a few of your key team members to see how they communicate or not. With the new team member complement and support other team members? Hiring someone that fits the team, even sometimes when you their skills aren’t the best match, can turn into a great decision. You can often train people to specific tasks, but if their personality will cause contention and distractions, no matter what their skills are – they aren’t worth it.


Now you have a great team, it’s time to do a bit of investigation. Find out what motivates each of your team members. This may take a few discussions, even time away from the office for lunch or something. You can do this with more than one of them at a time, but keep it to no more than three or so. Then let the conversation flow where it will. You’ll begin to notice what topics get raised by people and what gets them excited or enthused. Those are big hints at what most likely motivates. Now you know some of those answers, they can be used to help keep people moving forward with work and within the organization. It can also help you know what bonuses and benefits will be helpful in their lives away from the office to keep them coming back as loyal and happy employees.