Every manager believes that their team of dedicated people are operating at maximum capacity and efficiency. Sure, some teams are great but the reality is that a lot of “great” teams are only good, and it is on a leader to shape them into a collection of personalities and talents that can truly deliver.
What is holding your team back and what steps can you take to foster the traits that can elevate your team?
Start with an Honest Evaluation
To understand your team’s shortcomings and where gaps exist, you need to honestly evaluate each member, both individually and how they collaborate with others. This is also a good time to look inward and gauge how your team responds to your style. If you determine that your team is underperforming, then consider adopting a different style to better manage your team based on their personalities and styles. This step might seem obvious, but it is often overlooked as an honest evaluation can be tough for many to endure and properly execute.
In situational leadership theory, leaders place more or less emphasis on the task, and more or less emphasis on the empowerment with the people they’re leading, depending on what’s needed to get the job done successfully.
Dr. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard’s situational leadership model which is covered in their book Leadership and the One Minute Manager states that in the modern world, a leader cannot just rely on one management style to fit all situations. Managers and leaders must be flexible in their leadership styles, in order to get the best out of their teams and individuals. If you can master becoming a flexible leader using the principles from situational leadership theory, then your team can develop and improve and so too your team(s) outputs and goals.
Create a Feedback Loop
Your team needs to feel as if their opinions are being heard and their ideas are being considered. Constantly having their ideas ignored or cast aside can foster animosity or make them think twice before pitching the next idea. This will stop the flow of ideas while demoralizing your team.
Create a feedback loop, a process where your team has their ideas heard, evaluated and, if approved, executed promptly. Start by holding weekly or monthly meetings designed as pitch sessions where your team can present ideas. From there, you will provide a timeline to review the idea. For the ideas that advance, you can work with the ideator to create an implementation strategy. This creates accountability and engagement.
Appreciate More than Results
It’s easy to laud a team member who makes a big sale or completes a huge project. Many leaders think that applauding anything less than utter success will encourage mediocrity. By acknowledging the steps needed to reach individual and team goals, you are motivating your team to cross the finish line. A kind email or a quick encouraging word about the effort of a team member can make a world of difference.
When it comes to the people who can propel your company to new heights, don’t settle for good. Aspire to be great! Create a strategy that will get the best out of the people who you are relying upon to get the job done.