Individualised approach to leadership can help managers succeed

Managers should implement individualised consideration to meet the divergent needs of employees, says new research from MIT.
By: | December 16, 2022

In times of uncertainty, taking an individualised approach can help middle and direct managers better support employees to perform better and develop more trusting relationships, according to new research published in the MIT Sloan Management Review.

Drawing on interviews with employees during the pandemic, the report identified five categories of needs managers could provide for, which are centred around information, support, communication, leadership, and resources.

Jessica B.B. Diaz, Co-Author of the report and Assistant Professor at Claremont Graduate University, said, “To meet divergent needs, managers must implement individualised consideration, varying their management approach based on each employee.”

This approach, she added, allows managers to tailor their leadership style to meet employee needs where they are but is contingent on trust, which grows out of the confidence an employee has in their manager’s integrity, care, and capability.

READ: How managers can take the next step to be great leaders

In times of crisis, individuals revert to pre-crisis orientations and beliefs about their manager’s trustworthiness, which means that much of how employees experience uncertainty rests on the level of trust managers establish long before a crisis happens.

Practising individualised consideration and developing trusting relationships can help employees cope with uncertainty, both now and in the future, the report concluded.