A strong team is not only good for business, but it is also essential to overall staff morale and your own peace of mind. Each individual contributes something of value to the team as a whole, so fostering those strengths is important. Your role as a leader is to provide the tools your team needs to succeed. Here are some suggestions for doing so.
- Teach practical skills. Team members obviously need specialized skills that work specifically for your business, but don’t overlook the importance of teaching practical skills. These skills allow your team to function autonomously in a variety of tasks. Skills such as time management, problem solving, organization, and delegation are all necessary to succeed no matter what industry you are in. Teach directly when necessary and always lead by example.
- Teach skills instead of trying to change personality traits. If you try to change who a person is, you’ll likely spend much of your time banging your head against the wall, figuratively speaking that is. If one of your team members has a shy personality and doesn’t assert himself with clients and colleagues because of that shyness, focus on teaching him tangible ways in which he can be more assertive. Encourage him to initiate follow-up correspondence with customers, prepare a script to anticipate objections, and give a firm handshake with consistent eye contact. The person will always tend to be shy, but that doesn’t mean he can’t succeed as part of the team.
- Assess improvements continually. Be on constant lookout for improvements your team makes, both large and small. This can be done through regular meetings, informal briefings, and even frequent observation, such as sitting in on a work session. By taking a proactive role in your team’s well-being, you can help steer them in the right direction or possibly help them get back on track if they are losing focus or approaching a project in an ineffective way. Nurturing a team atmosphere requires your continual awareness of what improvements are being made.
- Reinforce and support their improvements. Part of your job as a leader is to build up your team and recognize their good work. Positive reinforcement is an incredibly effective confidence booster and motivator. When your team is succeeding, show them that you notice with some kind words, a pep talk, or even treating them to lunch once in a while. Your opinion matters to them, so demonstrate your willingness to help, cheer them on, and support their hard work.
Team dynamics vary from group to group, so being able to recognize what the team needs is an important skill all in itself. Lead by example and practice positive reinforcement to motivate your team to succeed.
How do you provide for your team? Please share your ideas below!