How To: Manage A Team With Different Interests And Perspectives


Last week we introduced you to the powerhouse that is Lise Buyer. This week, she’s sharing her tips for how she manages a group of people who might have divergent interests but need to somehow be unified in their work. Here are her three tips on how you can be in control, move the team towards their objective, and make sure everyone is behaving.

1. Everyone has a voice: make sure it’s heard.
We’ve all been in group project where you have a great idea, but feel like someone else is smarter, or has better ideas, or is simply better at interrupting to be heard. How do you counter self-silencing as a leader? Lise Buyer says, “start by listening to everyone. Because part of it is making everyone in the room feel like they have a part to play.” She explains that this is especially important in teams like the ones she works with, that have different objectives or perspectives. “If I only listen to the biggest at the banks and don’t listen to the smallest at the bank I’m disenfranchising the smaller one. So in terms of wrangling the banks, who often have different interests from one another but are playing on the same team, part one is to listen to them.”

2. Assign missions.
Instead of letting people sort out jobs to be completed for a project, distribute them yourself. This reinforces the idea that you are managing the team, while also ensuring that the various tasks are carried out. And by giving each team-member their own sphere to work in, you avoid overlaps in tasks, which could lead to tension and squabbling. Lise Buyer says, “Assign—very specifically—everyone individual tasks so they’re not all trying to step on each other’s toes. They’re actually trying to accomplish what has been put in front of them.”

3. Lay down the law.
Don’t let people’s attitude get in the way of the project. And while it may not be your favorite part of leading, it’s essential that you use your position to make sure everyone is staying in line. Lise Buyer says a good way to do this is “publicly calling out they’re behavior. Don’t look the other way.” Of course, you don’t want to fuel tension between different players or between them and you, so it’s key to direct but tactful: “If someone is stepping on somebody else’s toes say, ‘Thank you for your input John. We’ve heard enough from you. Bill, did you have something to add to that? John don’t comment.’ ”

Amazing! Thank you for your insight Lise. We hope that you all found her advice on how to turn a situation loaded with the potential to  be messy and unproductive into a well-oiled machine. Come back next week to learn from the queen of content how to succeed in a creative field!