Phil Gerbyshak of Slacker Manager wrote a great post on Getting to know your team.  In it he had this list of questions to know about your employees.

Do you know…

  • What their spouse’s/significant other’s name is?
  • Children’s name (or a pet’s name if that’s important to them)?
  • Why they first looked at the job they’re currently in?
  • Do they have any friends that work with them?
  • Favorite sports team?
  • Favorite TV show?
  • Favorite book?
  • Favorite movie?
  • Are they a morning person or a night owl?


Some people would say that this is “too personal.” 

My belief is that the only way you can truly lead your team is if you get personal. 

You cannot effectively lead people if you don’t understand how they tick.  You need to invest in them and take time with them.  Not one of them is the same so the time spent or energy spent needs to be different based on their different personalities.  Great managers can get away with not knowing their people.  But if you want to be a great leader you need to take some time that might seem like “Unproductive” time.  I learned that the hard way the last couple of weeks.  I put my tasks in front of  other people and it burned me in the end.

So called “Unproductive” Time is….

  • Worked on everyday with your people.
  • Is done even when you don’t want to or think you don’t really care.
  • Comes before your time spent on your things.
  • Time that ends up multiplying the effectiveness of your team.

“Unproductive” time in your own sense, because you aren’t getting anything done, is “Productive” time for the whole team.  So think of investing in your team as productive time because it will be in the end.