Great teams are built around great leaders: people who are able to show new recruits the way, energize them and make them into high productive and effective people. Great leaders don’t shy away from making difficult decisions, and they make sure that everybody is accountable to their standards of work, helping others to improve all the time.
But team building is far from simple. It requires the constant managing of people and their egos. When people work in a team, there is the additional problem not only of their relationship to your and their work but also to their colleagues. Not everybody will get along.
The art of building a great company is really the art of creating a long-lasting team. The reason why most leaders don’t reach the pinnacle of success is that they fail to keep people together over the long term. They get so bogged down with having to replace people who leave that they never manage to put together a well-oiled machine, one that’s able to take on the market and win. Having a great team is about making everybody feel included, knowing how to use their competencies in the best way possible. It’s a constant game of strategy where every move can win your company hundreds of thousands of dollars, or make it go bust.
Here are some ways to make successful teams that last.
#1: Stay Aware Of The Way You Work
Leaders in business need to have an “observing eye” – the ability to look at themselves from the perspective of another person and work out whether they are doing a good job. Leaders need to constant ask themselves whether they are as effective as they think they are and how well they are accepted by their team. It’s important, therefore, that leaders in small businesses and startups evaluate themselves, asking whether they could do anything better than would bring their teams closer together.
It’s worth remembering that although you might have good intentions, how you work will have knock-on effects for whether you are appreciated by your team. Keeping yourself accountable and making sure that you course-correct if you realize you’ve done something wrong is incredibly important to maintaining trust and authenticity.
#2: Take Time To Celebrate Success
Working for a small business or a startup can be unnerving, not least because of the fact that the work is so uncertain. Often the difference between business success and business failure is one large contract that, were it to end, would result in the failing of the entire venture.
In an atmosphere like that, it’s important to take time and to step back and reflect on what individuals and teams have accomplished. Many people in today’s fast-paced world, don’t take enough time to understand what they achieved and why they were so successful. Team leaders need to take the time to make sure that all team members are sharing in the success of what the team achieved. Leaders must be careful not to aggrandize success to themselves, but to make sure that the people who made it happen are those who are praised.
#3: Acknowledge Top Performers And Reward Them
According to Pareto’s rule, 20 percent of your team members will be responsible for 80 percent of the productivity. And so when an employee goes the extra miles to deliver, it’s worth acknowledging that employee, and rewarding them for their efforts. Leaders, along with other teammates, should take the time to give team members the accolades they deserve, especially if their performance has been exceptional.
#4: Clearly, Define Roles
A key element of running a successful team is making sure that each person has a clearly defined set of roles and responsibilities. These roles need to be outlined from the moment you go to a payroll recruiter and tell them the type of person you’re looking for. Clearly defining roles for people is no easy task. Often you’ll find people who are great at things that are outside of their job description.
Great teams rely on teamwork where each person’s responsibilities are interconnected with others. As a boss, you want people who are “system players” – those who might not be the most talented by themselves, but come into their own when placed in a team. This means that great leaders can’t just choose people for a role based on their particular skills: rather, they have to make sure that new people are able to fit into their workplace culture and be team players.
Often, you’ll find that you have employees who aren’t particularly good at the tasks to which you have assigned them. Instead of firing them, which might damage morale and your reputation, ask yourself whether that person would be better placed in a role as a facilitator, who can keep all of the moving parts of your organization working together nicely. Often people who aren’t very good at specific tasks are excellent at helping different parts of your business communicate with one another.
#5: Be More Proactive With Feedback
If you want to build an A-Team, it’s important to be proactive with feedback. Many businesses leave giving feedback until there is a problem. Then they focus on the problem individual and hit them with the bad news. Many employees don’t even see it coming, and they’re often annoyed that nothing was said before.
Top leaders aren’t afraid to give out proactive feedback: it’s an essential part of the art of communication. Feedback should be weaved into your dialogue as both informal praise and formal cautions. When the feedback process becomes too formal, it can often be stiff and not react to the actual performance of team members on the ground.
It’s also important to make sure that the feedback that you give is proportionate. Often an employee will be doing a great job and putting in lots of effort, but there will be just one thing that they’re not doing quite right. Focus on the good stuff that they’ve done, and then tell them about the small change you’d like them to make.