Most of the time when your company or leadership team is not performing, it is not because the team is not skilled or talented. It is other conditions. I believe you can address those conditions and boost your staff’s performance by effectively executing on 3 important success factors.
1. Build Trust
First, in your quest to lead your team to the promised land, you have to build trust. Do you look at your staff and feel trust and love towards them? Why not? They have toiled and labored and laughed with you to help you achieve greatness. They want to win. They are fighting side by side with you, even those teams in the past that may have ‘failed’. Focus on helping them succeed, and you will succeed!
At least once a year I have an exercise in my staff meetings where we go around the room and each person writes down two qualities about the person next to them that makes them great at what they do! We then pass the note to the person they wrote about. This becomes a special team moment. You can see walls come down, and a mutual respect build. This is an example of an opportunity where you can show as their leader that being political is not acceptable.
2. Individually Motivate
When I moved to Europe as President of a $50M operation that spanned across EMEA, we would have many meetings with my HQ staff and the country managers. My European staff always asked me to stand up after dinner to say a few words to everyone. They really looked forward to it! My approach in this kind of setting is to walk around the table, and as I get to each of my direct reports chairs, I would say a word about them – first something funny, and then something special. Each person. Something different. Something about their accomplishments. Something heartfelt. Those moments were bonding.
I believe the second staff team building success factor is recognizing that you have some very talented people on your staff, and to manage each of them individually. They are most likely all working hard. You have to stay with them, in their own way; guide them, push them, recognize them, and know what individually motivates them.
3. Team Goal Commitment
Finally, look at any great team that accomplished the impossible or difficult, and they all shared one common characteristic: Passionate and relentless commitment to achieve the team goal. There needs to be a team goal, and an aggressive one – and the best way to get to the team goal is to sit down as a team and discuss and commit to the goals together. You get commitment by being collaborative, open to ideas and discussion and involving your team – not by dictating to them. This has proven to me to be the best way; invest this time and it will pay off for you in the long run!
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
— Phil Jackson —
Recently, I met with one of my former VP’s and we were talking about one of the teams we worked on together, and the VP said, ‘Gary, the team we had together… I have never been on a team where I actually trusted everyone around the table.’
Wow! That is very motivating as a leader to hear someone on your team say this because many days you feel like you are not making progress and yet it is a goal all of us leaders strive for. So, if you feel you are not quite there yet today with your team, it illustrates that it can be done and you can break through!
If you can execute on the staff team building success factors I am recommending – (1) Make sure you are supporting, trusting, and respecting each other; (2) build a relationship with each person and individually motivate them; and (3) get the whole group at the top pursuing an aggressive and meaningful goal – then you can take your company or division all the way to the top!