Leading a team is far from easy. You are responsible for managing expectations, egos, and ensuring that the team stay on task, as well as managing yourself. Some leaders would prefer to lead without having to deal with people in general, but real leadership requires patience, and a good understanding of psychology and drivers. Here are some techniques to help to bring the best out of your team.
Praise in public
Everyone likes hearing that they have done a good job, but it feels even better when it’s done publicly. I am a huge fan of praising publicly, because it makes the team member feel good, and can also encourage other team members to do well. This is not in a ‘pit people against each other’ kind of way. Far from it. It’s possible to praise individuals and teams publicly. From experience, the feeling that the team/team member receives makes them want to keep performing well in their role, and can often result in consistent results. This is why some retail outlets have competitions like “employee of the month.”
Correct in private
One way to create a low sense of morale in a team is to correct people openly. No one likes being treated like an idiot, and if you treat someone like an idiot in public, they can feel like they have let the whole team down, which can result in continual under-achievement. No one is perfect, so there will be times when you need to correct your team members, but address the individual(s) in private, give them the opportunity to improve, and use positive language, like “I can see that you are trying, but this is not quite how I wanted it. Maybe next time, try this…..” As a leader, it’s down to you to create unity in your team, and lambasting someone in public is the quickest way to create a divided, unmotivated team.
Lead by example
Like it or loathe it, your team are watching your every move. Do you lock yourself in your office all day, come out to bark orders, and then retreat back into your office? If so, the chances are, your team do not like you, and are only following you out of a sense of fear of losing their livelihoods. Don’t let authority go to your head; lead by example, and model the techniques that you would like your team to display. If you want a unified team, don’t talk behind people’s backs in a negative way, ever. One of the reasons why Richard Branson is so respected is because he leads by example.
Have a team lunch
Food has a way of bringing people together, and team lunches are a good way to motivate your team. Rewarding team members for a job well done is priceless, and spending money on a team lunch is a good investment. Conversations can flow easily over lunch, and it also gives you an indication of what people are like outside of work.You might find out that the team member who is always late may be doing an evening course, and having only a few hours of sleep every night to get it done. People won’t implicitly talk about their situations at work, because it’s often not the right context. However, team lunches not only build a community spirit, but can also give you an insight into the day to day lives of your team members, and enable you to highlight situations that might be hindering their performance.
Rehearse the vision
You can’t expect your team to do well, unless they are reminded of the vision, and they are clear on what is expected of them. When you have a team totally committed to the vision of the company, and what you stand for, they will do their role excellently and effortlessly because they want to see the success of the company. Rehearse the vision at least once a year. Remind your team of the history, what you have achieved, and where you are going, and remind them that you want them to be a part of it. This can work wonders for the company.
Anthony Fleming is an experienced business consultant, with the proven ability to turn businesses around.