The best teams are made of members who have each other's backs. They care for one another. They look out for each other. They're unselfish. Team first. This doesn't happen by accident. Rather, it is built over time from the top-down. Here are 10 tips that you can follow, as a leader, to establish this type of work environment within your business:

  1. Be accountable. You're all in it together. So, act that way! Let your team know that you have their backs by taking responsibility whenever the team misfires.
  2. Be transparent. Meet with your staff regularly. Share information about the business and let them know what's happening in the organization. If you don't, they'll fill the vacuum with their own theories, stories of fiction and misinformation.
  3. Be empowering. Micromanagement is not good for anyone. So, set expectations. Train them properly. Let them gain some supervised experience, and then let them loose. They'll exceed all expectations.
  4. Regularly ask "How can I help?" This demonstrates a level of empathy that endears people to you and invites them to discuss their issue or challenge without fear of judgment or ridicule. It also makes for an environment open dialogue and trust-both, essential for enduring workplace excellence.
  5. Immediately take action. Don't let a bad work situation fester. They rarely get better on their own. If you come to recognize a behavior that must be adjusted then address it in real time. It's proactive and serves to gain the team's faith in you as their leader.
  6. Don't make excuses when you make a mistake. You're human. You will make some mistakes. When you do make a mistake own up to it, take corrective action and move on. Such behavior sets a tone and encourages respect.
  7. Don't forget to give positive feedback. Leaders are often really good at providing constructive feedback. But, sometimes, we forget to say "thanks" for a job well done. So, remember to recognize accomplishments when they occur. Make it genuine and regular and your people will knock through a brick wall for you.
  8. If you're uncertain, say so. Your integrity and reputation among your team is always at stake. Nothing beats honesty when it comes to managing through challenging and ambiguous issues. You're not always going to have the answer. But, give yourself the time to find out by admitting that you're uncertain, but, you'll find out.
  9. Let your people express their feelings. Invite them to talk, vent and explore ideas by establishing an open door policy and living by it. This builds esprit de corps and encourages open and honest exchanges within the team.
  10. Be fully invested in creating a superior work environment. Make your business into one that is widely recognized as being the best in your industry. When you do, countless other improvements in the work environment will result as a by-product.

To close, I hope that these 10 tips come in handy as you drive cultural change within your business. They've been tried and true for me and countless clients over the years. Just be sure to be deliberate and authentic and I know that they will work for you, too.

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