Servant Leadership Workplace-Know

12 Things to Know About Your Team Members

It’s hard for me to imagine a good leader – especially a servant-leader – who took no interest in the lives of her or his team members.

The best servant-leaders I’ve experienced knew me as a total person. They understood me well inside the workplace. Why? Because they knew about my life outside the workplace.

Indeed, understanding one’s followers seems to be a hallmark of a servant-leader. That’s why Stephen R. Covey counsels:

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen and a great servant leadership advocate, would agree. Cheryl uses this expression when talking about developing her people:

“I got to know you to grow you.”

Here are 12 things to know about your team members. For each individual you work with closely, how many answers would you get right?

  1. Where did you grow up?
  2. Where did you go to school?
  3. What you field if study did you most enjoy?
  4. Where do you live?
  5. What’s the name of you spouse or partner?
  6. How many children do you have?
  7. What do you like to do most on weekends?
  8. Where did you go on your last vacation?
  9. If you like movies, reading, music or sports, what is your favorite film, book, group or team?
  10. What cause are you most passionate about?
  11. What has been your career path within our company and before?
  12. Where would you like to be professionally in a few years?

The questions seem pretty simple, don’t they?

But practically, knowing the answers could give us some useful information.

Let’s take question 4 as an example (based on my own experience, by the way): Where do you live?

If one of our team members lived with a sick parent and commuted two hours to the office, wouldn’t we want to know about it? Might that affect the way we scheduled calls or meetings with that team member? Could that information be relevant in other situations as well?

Many of the questions might not have such dramatic answers. But all of them can be used in building good relationships.

Seriously, if your boss could answer every question above about you without hesitation, wouldn’t you feel good about that?

Heck, I would!

What do you think? Are there questions you would add? Have you followed a leader who tried to get to know you as a whole person? What was that experience like?

Let us know.


As always, we appreciate your views.