If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know my passion for building great teams. A great team isn’t built overnight, so I guess that’s why I find team building so fulfilling.
My satisfaction comes from seeing the growth of each teammate. The return on your investment as a leader is that you get their best, and when you get their best the company benefits with high morale, momentum, and growth, not to mention it’s a fun place to work.
So how can you work toward getting the best out of your team? Here are six simple tips.
Six Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Team
• Establish a clear vision and strategy. The questions swirling around in teammates’ heads are: “Where are we going? “How will we get there? What actions should we focus on to get there?” It’s the leader’s job to answer those questions.
• Communicate your expectations. People should know what is expected of them. How else will they know if they are successful or not? A teammate could fall short of your expectations simply because they aren’t clear on exactly what they need to be doing and what areas need improvement. A person’s performance – and how they can improve – should be discussed throughout the year. Don’t wait until the annual review to drop a bomb about their poor performance. Keep the lines of communication open through good times and challenging times.
• Set the standard. Your team is watching. What are they learning from you? They may listen to your words, but they learn from your actions. For example, if you show stress or anxiety, then you place the team is a state of worry and doubt about the future. As the leader you are the “standard setter.”
• Give the team the glory when make progress, and celebrate their success. When the team experiences setbacks and failures, you take responsibility.
• Hold teammates (and yourself) accountable! High achievers want to be held accountable, and they expect you to hold others accountable.
• Know the strengths of your team. Even top performers can become poor performers when their responsibilities don’t align with their strengths. In John Maxwell’s “The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork,” Maxwell talks about the Law of the Niche, which says that, “All players have a place where they add the most value.” Working in our strengths is crucial to our job satisfaction, and we all know that a happy employee is a more productive employee.
Just for fun, let’s look at what the opposite would be like. What are ways we can demotivate our team and encourage poor performance?
Five Tips for Demotivating Achievers
• Micromanage. Don’t allow your teammates to make a single decision without your input. Constantly look over their shoulder and scrutinize every project and decision.
• Discourage growth. If you’ve led the same group of people for a year and none of them have experienced growth, it’s a reflection of your leadership.
• Make it all about you. Take credit for the team’s accomplishments, but don’t take any responsibility for failures and mistakes.
• Avoid setting any measurable goals or paint a realistic, sustainable vision. Instead, keep changing your expectations and what teammates should accomplish.
•Be unpredictable in your moods, decisions, and direction. This keeps employees on their toes so that they never know what to expect.
Ha ha! Yuck! I usually like looking at the opposite side of things, but this list wasn’t a fun one to make. Thankfully this is just a list. Working in an environment like this and for a leader like this would not make for an exciting career. So how are you doing in creating an environment that encourages teammates to perform at their best? Focus this week on becoming a leader who grows achievers.