Building a team requires more than just giving everyone on your staff embroidered polo shirts. Leaders have to learn to lead in a way that motivates and even inspires their team members to not just follow, but work as a cohesive force. Creating esprit-de-corps requires a skill set that they don't teach in business school; you need to understand what makes your people tick. Here are 10 tips that have been used by the best leaders I know to build exceptional teams and successful companies.
Lead with passion
If you are a low energy leader, your team will reflect your energy. This will not get the job done. Your passion is everything, without it success will elude you.
Share your vision
Propose it, print it, and post it. Let everyone see it everyday. It helps your people stay in the course and reminds them of a higher purpose.
Understand your purpose
If making money is your only purpose, you may achieve it but the resulting experience will be empty. Helping your team grow - as people and in their careers - gives you a much higher purpose and will inspire both, you and them.
Educate and enlighten your team
The more people know the better job they will do. In addition, offering them some education builds loyalty. Many companies pay for MBA programmes with powerful results. Also try the Knowledge Lunch idea, bring in an outside professional to teach industry insights once a week.
Treat them like volunteers
This may be a difficult concept to grasp, after all we do pay them. The idea here is to make them feel that their presence and contribution are valued. People give their all when they feel valued.
Be present and available
Do you have an MBWA? That's Management by Walking Around. Your team needs to know that their head-coach is there if the going gets tough. Just knowing that there is someone to turn to, gives people the strength to sort problems.
Don't lose it in front of your team. Don't criticise any team member in front of another. Treat yourself and your people with this respect and they will honour you and your company in the same manner.
If you only reward success, your people will not be inspired to try harder. Let them know that failure is part of the success process and reward them for trying. It gives them the inspiration to invent and create.
After one success, we say "What's next?" Take some time, outside of work, to celebrate with those that are helping you to succeed. Also remember to pat yourself on the back from time to time.
Ask for their opinion
In addition to money, what keeps them at their job? What do they think the company needs to do to succeed? What have they learned from working there? These are the type of questions that when asked will make them feel that they are valued and will also give you insight into how to improve your business.
Don't try to use all of these techniques at once; it will be overwhelming for you and for your team members. Integrate one or two changes per month, and in a very short time you will have improved your company's culture, your leadership style and your bottom line.
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