Remember the topic where we discussed how to make things work if your job is becoming a nightmare? I asked a question, what do you do to build a strong team, even if you have been told point blank that there is no money or you get the feeling management no longer believes in you after all the opportunities you have had to make things work? By this point I hope you have implemented all the tips I told you about in your life? If you have and are ready to take ownership of your team and make them as happy as you know they can be, you don’t need a large sum of money or threats from the boss directly to them.
For the last ten years, whether it was in an ICT firm, consultancy, school, bar, or resturaunt and no matter which part of Nigeria the company existed in, the same tips consistently helped business owners and managers build the same team. I took out time earlier this year to write them down and I want to share them with you. Here are four fail proof tips to building a better team:
1. Invest in your people
I’ve always believed in promoting from within whenever possible and this doesn’t always have to involve huge fanfare and an official looking letter from human resources. Know who is(are) the leaders(s) within your team. Informally start mentoring them to take up bigger jobs and responsibilities. Start training them on more complicated aspects of the job and carry them with you to meet important clients and attend meetings. Send them in your place when you are not ready. Ensure you give good reviews and recommend them for promotion when they are due them. It sends a strong message that loyalty, performance and productivity are rewarded, not sidestepped in favor of new blood from outside and this will make people happier to work with and for you. However do not ever try to turn your team into a cult, ensure you teach them how to work well with others and appreciate other people in the office as well as customers. This will ensure that if and when you get new employees they will be warmly received rather than having the other employees gang up on them
2. Pay attention to what people are good at
What are each employee’s job duties? More importantly, which of those roles are they really good at? Look for ways to enhance those skills, develop the competencies, find little ways to reward them and then for a job well done publically and privately.
3. Assess what needs improvement
Know this. Nothing and no one is perfect. Your team and team members will always have their strengths, good points, and unique skills. But there will always be weaknesses, bad points, and even employees who need help with their job and or people skills. Pinpoint the areas that need working on to get your team in top condition. Do not use people's weaknesses and attack them in public. Do a thorough assesment of their weaknesses at work, come up with a plan to improve them, have a one on one meeting with them to agree on milestones and implement your plan. For example, if you notice that your lead sales person has never really understood the need to be more tactful with customers, make it your mission to teach this person empathy by pointing out how it can not only benefit them but practical ways to implement better customer service. Do not scream at them infront of every one, that will only work once or twice to change their behaviour (if you are lucky) and in the long wrong you could loose a great person. Instead let them know the problem, advice them on the possible consequences of not changing, and agree practical ways to change their approach with customers.
4. Train your team to fit your goals
If you can match your employees’ skills and interests with your company’s growth needs, you’re on your way to having a winning bench. Job shadowing, cross training, attending industry events and conferences, and online training are all smart ways to teach your employees new things without spending a bundle. Before you know it, you’ll have a well-rounded team working with you and not against you. For example there is no point having a administrative team that is attending courses on training on paper database management if your CEO has decided the office should go paperless within the next 6 months. Always align training and skill building in your team with what the company needs. It will ensure you remain a team of added value and you will be recognized for all the right reasons.
So remember, to build a great team: invest in your people and promote from within; build up your high performers; work on weaknesses; and align your strengths and training plans with the company needs and requirements. For a free practical assesment and work plan on how you implement the tips above for your team or office's unique needs, please do not hesistate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org