Ask yourself – what do I need? How do I want to be treated? What matters most to me? People tend to do more for you when they feel valued and appreciated. So here is where the platinum rule trumps gold – treat others the way they want to be treated. It is really that simple.
Building a team can be a bit more complicated. There are several factors to consider, especially in today’s economy. Your employees may be considering other opportunities that can provide a better quality of life or work/life balance, not to mention greater compensation. Before you know it, your competition is benefiting from your blind eye.
Building a great team requires an effective strategy just like if you are trying to gain market share. Assuming you already have a talented crew in place, focusing on a few key areas will have employees excited to come to work every day, people clamoring to work for you, and competitors wondering how you did it. The following strategy can help you get there.
T: Tell and Teach – It would be so nice if everyone did exactly what you wanted without having to be told. Mind readers aside, that is not how it works. Clear instructions and good communication are critical. What are the expectations? What rules are employees expected to follow? Ineffective leadership and poor communication are the primary ingredients in the recipe for confusion. First and foremost, you have to have a vision and make sure your team knows and understands it. There is a good chance you will have to show how you want things done. The amount of time, money, and overall energy wasted on poorly thought-out plans can be avoided if everyone knows what you are trying to achieve and how to do it. What is needed to execute the plan? Is more training required? Who is responsible for the plan? Your goals should be realistic and attainable. Employers need to explain how everyone benefits from achieving the goal or they will risk losing interest among teammates. Increasing revenue 50 percent over last year is certainly worth shooting for, but it may not be doable. In the end, your team may end up feeling discouraged, not energized.
E: Engage and Edify – Do you want mindless drones or valuable contributors on your team? You might not be getting the most out of your teammates because they are bored, utterly confused, or otherwise cannot relate or identify with your big picture. Ask for their ideas and input and acknowledge what was said. A simple “That’s a great idea!” or “Hey, I hear you” goes a long way in making your employees feel confident in making suggestions. Allow people to be creative and allow for the occasional mistake. Engagement means that you are listening as well. If your suggestion box just becomes the black hole where ideas go to die, what is the point?
A: Ask and Acknowledge – So far, this discussion has focused on what your employees can do for you. Now, ask what they need and acknowledge the value they each bring. Tell them how their inputs affect your bottom line. Speaking to their needs tells what you can do for them. Remember, when you make people feel appreciated they will work harder for you. Find out where they see themselves in your company. What role do they want to play? How can you help them get there? Now is the time to find out what everyone’s secret gifts and talents are and how they can be utilized on the team. If a team member feels unnoticed or ignored, your competitor will soon inherit a valuable asset.
M: Mentor and Motivate – This last section has two distinct parts and both will test your full strength as an effective manager. You may have a few diamonds in the rough on your team. They might have tremendous raw talent and just need a little polishing to turn them into your top performers. Mentoring can be challenging. What are you going to do with all that untapped potential? Is there room for advancement within your organization? Can you create new opportunities to continue to hone their skills? If you have not considered these questions before, it is in your best interest to give them some real thought. Your top talent will soon tire of lateral moves on the career ladder.
Motivating is a lot like understanding consumer buying behaviors and you may have to put forth extra effort to understand what motivates your staff. Keeping employees excited about their jobs really begins and ends with you. If you are excited and your commitment is evident not only to the business but to the team, chances are you will ignite that same level of passion in your employees. This does not mean compensatory motivation is not important. But you cannot tell your employees you cannot afford to give a raise; instead, you can throw lavish Christmas parties or plan week-long poolside retreats. Do not misunderstand, these sorts of rewards are not bad and can serve a greater purpose of boosting employee morale. But you have to determine what will have greater impact for your staff. If you are in tune with their needs, you may find your employees would rather have an extra dollar in a paycheck than a fancy meal once a year or frivolous spending in areas that mean little, if anything, to them.
Building a cohesive unit and keeping all your employees on the same page can no doubt be stressful. The only alternative is everyone doing their own thing and before long, chaos will ensue. At the heart of a successful team is a clear mission. Not only do you want your employees to know and understand what you are trying to achieve, but you want to make sure you and your management team are effective edifiers, encouragers, teachers, mentors, motivators, and communicators. Without that, there is no team or business.
Tasha Manigo-Bizzell, L.E., M.B.A., I.H.P., M.S., is a licensed aesthetician, makeup artist, Maryland state trainer for the Look Good…Feel Better program, and self-esteem coach. She received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in marketing; and a master’s degree in nutrition and integrative health. Manigo-Bizzell has been active in the health and wellness industry for more than 16 years as an educator, writer, guest lecturer, and consultant. Through her outreach program, she uses aesthetic and nutrition education to inspire women and girls who have struggled with feeling beautiful.