Care about your team, not just in a, “of course I care about my team” sort of way. I’m talking about caring about your team and showing it with your actions consistently.
I’ve been fortunate to have current and past team members that are some of the most amazing and inspiring people I’ve ever met. These kind of people want to be part of something special, they want to continue to learn and grow, they want to do a great job.
Support your people in doing these things.
There are a few ways to do this that I’ve found to be invaluable to the overall team, the individual team members, and the owners of a company.
- Provide ample opportunities for team members to learn, grow, and make mistakes
I cannot overstate this. A-players are always hungry to learn and grow – both professionally and personally.
Giving autonomy to your team to deliver on their roles is a proven way to promote their professional growth. Standing over their shoulders or only allowing them to handle the lowest level tasks is not an effective way to maximize the potential of team members.
Here’s how you can do this in a realistic and sustainable way –
- Set up a strong process around the function this team member will perform
- Have the team member watch you or the team lead perform the function a few times
- Have the team member perform the function a few times and receive feedback from you or the team lead
- Give the team member autonomy to perform the function
This person may make mistakes and may not perform at the same capacity as you or the team lead the first time around. What will happen, is this team member will get reps in. This person will gain confidence. This person will increase his skills. This person will grow. And after some time, this person may even perform this function better than you. That’s leadership.
- Share your wisdom, experience, and time
Another way to promote growth for your team members is to coach them. Coaching and managing are two very different actions. Managing is ensuring a team member is doing her job. Coaching is helping her improve skills to perform her job at a higher level.
Coaching a team member to improve her sales tactics, her own leadership skills, and even her time management efficiency can have big-time payoffs and will buy her in to you as a leader and to the company’s mission.
- Encourage outside growth
Many strong leaders follow both of the items I mentioned. They give team members autonomy and they coach their team members. Take this to the next level by putting a focus on your team members’ personal growth. This is worth it.
How do you focus on your team’s personal growth? One way I’ve done it is through a company book club. Each month we all read the same book, and each Friday, we came together for 30 minutes to discuss the team book for that month. The team LOVED it and we all learned and grew.
You want personal growth ingrained in your culture. Lead by example by sharing articles that you enjoyed, recommending books that you think team members would gain value from, and even connecting team members to interesting people in your personal network who they could learn from.
You’ll know you’ve created a growth-focused culture when team members are sharing these kinds of resources with each other and with you.
- Let it be known with crystal clarity that you are their to support your team members and that you want them to win
This is easy to do, and it goes a long way.
In my first position as a leader, a friend of mine told me that every day he asks his team, “Do you need anything?”. This stuck with me. I take every opportunity to let my team members know to reach out if there’s any way I can support. And I mean it.
Encourage your team to reach out for support. Be available. If you don’t have time for your team, it’s time to set up processes to open up that time. Your team is everything. They take care of your customers. They bring in cash. They drive the company’s mission forward.
When you have to deliver criticism, especially if it is on the heavier side, ensure your team member knows that you are on his side and want him to win. I make a point to preface criticism by saying, “Hey Steve, I am on your side here, I’m giving you this feedback because I want you to win…”.
A team member should never have to wonder if you care about him. It should be crystal clear.
- Take a genuine interest in the personal lives of your team members
I was once sitting in a sales team leadership dinner for business owners who wanted to better lead their sales teams. The group was made up of mostly middle aged men who were numbers driven, and determined to boost revenue. One man said, “I have meetings to go over numbers with each of my salespeople, I am always on top of them to make more calls, and I just can’t seem to push them to hit their numbers”.
Instinctively,, somewhat emotionally, I interjected – “You can’t push your team to get results. They’re people. You have to care about them. And they have to know you care about them. That’s how you buy your team into your mission. Do you know what their personal goals are?”
This provoked a curious look on his face and some of the other men in the room. And a powerful conversation ensued.
I’ve been fortunate to have been lead by some amazing people – from football and basketball coaches, to managers and CEOs. The best ones have this in common:
They all took a genuine interest in my personal life.
Coach Bowden, my basketball coach from ages 11-12, who I still stay in contact with from time to time, would send me a handwritten note and a scratch ticket whenever he saw my name in the local newspaper for making honor roll. Do you think I gave my all for Coach Bowden? Do you think I dug a little deeper and pushed to do the small things better when I played for Coach Bowden?
Take an honest look at how you’re leading your team.
Are you providing opportunities for them to learn and grow? Could you be providing more of these opportunities? Are you making time to coach them to improve their skills?
If an outsider asked each of your team members if they feel you’re there to support them, what would they say? Does your team know that you’re on their side and you want them to win? Is it possible that some of your team members sometimes feel a ‘you vs.them’ energy?
Do you know about your team members’ personal goals? Do you know about the events in their personal lives? Do you know which movie she watched this past weekend? Or what concert he went to?
If you want to dive into leadership and how to buy your team into the mission, and into you as the leader, let’s connect –
Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a call here.