Getting the Most Out of Your Team
Whether you work in a small company, where you can just about make up a pub quiz team, or if you work in a much larger collective which fills the entire pub, optimising team performance is just as important.
Your workforce represents both the most expensive and most profitable resource at your disposal, while the task of getting the best from the team falls on the shoulders of you; the appointed leader or leaders.
It is here, where you really earn your paycheque.
“A leader is someone who holds her-or himself accountable for finding the potential in people and processes.”
– Brené Brown, Research Professor and best-selling author
One of the biggest challenges that people consistently face is to establish the buy-in of your staff. If they care about the achievements of the business, and how they can help them be successful, output will inevitably improve.
Everybody has a range of experiences when it comes to team-working …… some good…… some bad…… some ugly. But can you notice the details that separate the great leaders from the good, and the good leaders from the not-so-good?
Below are a few areas where successful, open-minded leaders are able to maximise the success of their teams.
Open-minded Leadership recognises:
Know your team as individuals
Every member of your team will have their own motivations be they family, travel, money, or personal progression to name a few.
Ask yourself a few of these questions:
Knowing people as individuals can only help you make better decisions when it comes to how you manage and lead. What rewards are going to most motivate everyone? Does Sam need a little extra support when things get difficult, or when work piles up? Does Marie perform best when she is challenged? Knowing this information will help you unite and drive your team from an individual.
Try to speak with every member of your team on a regular basis. Find out about them and what makes them tick.
Ask curious, open-ended questions, and then listen. Listening is a skill few ever really master yet can provide far more benefits that just talking, so give it a try next time you have the opportunity.
Set up open lines of communication
Establishing these early on can help boost morale within the team, manage staff expectations, build a positive environment in which to work, and build trust between yourself and your team members.
Below are a few of the key items that are good to share with your staff when appropriate:
- Why an individual has been chosen for a job, or a task,
- The goals you have for the project,
- Any timelines and deadlines,
The resources on which they can draw upon to complete their tasks, and
- A schedule for checking-in with progress updates.
It might not always be appropriate to be 100% transparent about all the inner details you know in your leadership position, but keeping your team informed often helps make it a far more comfortable environment in which to work.
Make your team work for your goal
It’s surprisingly common for your team members to be unaware of the team goals or the wider company goals. It is important to make your team aware of the wider picture of what you are trying to achieve, but also where they fit in to this wider picture.
In your role as a leader, it is important to know the goals and targets of your team members, but the great leaders can align those goals with their own. If you can do this successfully, not only will you get the best results for your team or company, but you will also be getting the best from your individuals.
Set the example
You cannot be seen to be putting in any less than anybody else if you are to gain the buy-in of your staff. Whether you are in the office all the time or not, you staff should always be aware that you are putting in as much or more than anybody else.
If your team knows that you are dependable and willing to do whatever work is necessary, they are more likely to work hard to achieve your goals and those of the team.
Don’t allow others to question your work ethic or your commitment.
When you have worked hard to achieve something, a sign of appreciation goes a long way. It can help build the confidence of your staff and help them grow……. and sometimes it is just the right thing to do to show your own appreciation for somebody’s effort.
You can take this one step further in the right environment. Praise people amongst the team.Not only does this give the individual a wonderfully warm, fuzzy feeling of achievement and appreciation, but it also shows the rest of the team the kind of standards that merit praise and can help set the benchmark for effort within the team.
Give it a go
There is no one way to get the best out of your team just like there is not one successful style of leadership. Each great leader has their own style to get results. But each of the topics mentioned aims to create an environment of greater comfort with individual staff and the team you work with.
There is a wonderful word in Spanish -‘tacaña’, which loosely translates to ‘one who is stingy’. So, don’t be tacaña with praise, throw it around like confetti.
The more comfortable people are, the better the returns. This means greater productivity, greater buy-in to your goals and targets, and if you are able to achieve both of these, you will be getting the best out of your team,and they in turn, will be getting the best out of their manager.
“When a leader makes the choice to put the safety and lives of the people inside the organisation first, to sacrifice their comforts and to sacrifice the tangible results so that the people remain and feel safe and feel like they belong, remarkable things happen”
– Simon Sinek – TEDTalks –‘Why good leaders make you feel safe?’
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Question:What is your experience of working in teams? Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share?
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