10 Steps to Building a Great Team

The greatest leverage any business owner, manager or leader can effect is that of bringing about the cohesiveness of their team. Although it is perceived as one of the most difficult challenges managers face, it also represents the greatest untapped potential for lower operating costs, higher profit margins and happier employees, all resulting in more satisfied customers and more time for you to spend with friends and loved ones.
Following these simple ten steps will help you bring your team together to achieve your mission and vision as their manager and leader.
1. Understand that the foundation of a great team is trust. A team will never support their leader if they do not trust him or her, and are not certain that their leader is willing to do anything that they might ask of one of their team members. Throughout my years of experience as a leader, I have found one of the most powerful actions is to step up and do some of the dirty work that no one wants to do. This will earn you immediate respect, and others will want to jump in and show you that they're willing to do the same. Others still will not, and this will be your first step in identifying who your real bad apples are.
2. Hold pre- and post-shift meetings. This is a powerful exercise that brings focus to your team before during and after their scheduled shifts. Keep a small notepad in your back pocket and take notes on employee performance during their shift. Note the positives as well as the negatives. Hold daily pre- and post-shift meetings where you can discuss these issues with everyone present. This will get your team on the same page, and provides a verbal forum for them to share their experiences, solve problems and vent their frustrations which all people need to do. Show a willingness to listen and help solve their challenges at work, and they will reward you with greater effort and pride in their work.
3. Be consistent in your message. Nothing is more vexatious for a team than mixed messages from their leadership. Spend the time to establish standards for your team members to adhere to. You do not want to make robots out of them, but you do want to ensure that they know EXACTLY how you want things done. If you do not give them this opportunity, you'll frustrate them to no end with confusion. Give them clear direction, and be consistent.
4. Give public praise. People that do things right for you deserve praise. Offer it in your pre- and post-shift meetings. Call individuals out by name and express gratitude for their having paid attention and done things as you've asked. For those requiring discussion about their poor performance, do so in private. NEVER humiliate your team members and never chastise them in front of their peers.
5. Take Control. This is your team, your venue and your standards. You have to establish control. Your team must understand that your are the leader and what you say is the final word. Do not argue with your employees in front of the team. If they persist, tell them to step out of the room and that you'll finish the conversation with them afterward. That does not mean you should not be willing to listen to good reason, and give others the opportunity to be heard, but when it comes down to it, you make the call and your team must respect that. If any team member does not comply, you seriously need to reconsider replacing them, as all they will do is tear down your efforts and create unified animosity toward you behind your back.
6. Track performance. Identify an area where all team members seem to be struggling to succeed at the level you want, and then find a way to monitor and reward the top performers. If tardiness is an ongoing issue, create a chart that tracks each individual's performance showing up for work on time. Publish this in an area for all employees to see. Soon you will find that your most dedicated team members will do much of your managing for you when they have the ability to hold their own coworkers accountable. Competition is an incredible motivator.
7. Reward team performance. When you see examples of great teamwork in action, reward it. Announce the example in one of your pre- or post-shift meetings and publicly offer a reward to those that deserve it. This could be a gift certificate to a restaurant, movie tickets, etc. When others see that they can do the same, they most often will. It is critical to identify the exact behavior and the direct end-result of that behavior when doing this, which leads me to my next point.
8. Identify specific behaviors. Too often I've heard managers say things like, "You're so lazy. You need to pick up the slack and do more to help the team." This is one of the most devastating, deconstructive approaches one could take toward building a team. When you say something like this, you immediately dismiss anything and everything that employee has contributed to date. If you have an employee that is being lazy, identify EXACTLY what it is they're doing wrong, and EXACTLY what they should do to remedy the situation. If they're standing around gossiping while other team members are getting their job done, pull them aside and tell them specifically, "(Name), I find it frustrating and unfair to the team when I see you standing in the corner, socializing with other team members when you should be getting your responsibilities taken care of. not only are you not getting your work done, but you're distracting others, and keeping them from getting their work done too. If you've already finished with your current tasks, please find something else productive to do. If you need some recommendations, I'd be happy to come up with some for you. " This will normally get their attention and they'd rather find their own chores than have you micromanage them throughout the shift. I'll normally only do this once or twice before I take more serious action.
9. Introduce your team to your customers and other people of influence. We're all human beings and want to feel important. When someone of value to your company is on premise, make a point to introduce them to your shining stars. This will let your best employees know how valued they are and that you trust them personally with your most prized assets – your customers.
10. Stay true to your word. If you expect others to do their job and keep their commitments to you, it's your responsibility to set the example and do the same. Never commit to something that you can not fulfill, as you're establishing the standards for the rest of your team to operate by.
That's it. Follow these easy to understand, but challenging to implement steps, and you'll be well on your way to developing a winning team that may be with you for many years to come. Never forget that your employees are real people with real challenges and real problems. It's easy to lose site of this when you're running your own business or managing an operation, but you'll have your own problems too one day, and there's nothing like having a solid team that respects and cares about you behind you to support you and pick you up when you need it the most. And they will.

Copyright @ 2009 Cecret Cervice Consulting LLC

Source by Benjamin H Gray

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