It takes more than one person to make a company successful--great businesses thrive because of outstanding teamwork. It might be easy to bring a group of people together, but creating a cooperative and cohesive team of people, one that's working for a common goal, isn't so simple. It takes good leadership to help them be excited and effective. Like Henry Ford said, "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."
People want to do a great job, and to have their hard work acknowledged. When you treat your team members with honesty and respect and show a willingness to join them, you're leading a culture of cooperation--and that's a culture that produces enthusiastic and productive followers.
Do you want to lead your team to success? Do these 10 things:
1. Lead by example. Don't ask your team to do something that you aren't willing to do. If you never stay late to finish a project, you can't expect them to give up their evenings.
2. Provide the tools. Do you know what your people need in order to succeed? Ask them and then listen--really listen. Maybe they need new software or special training. Whatever it is, show that you're attentive and ready to support them.
3. Don't micromanage. If you pick the right people, you can let them run with their own assignments. Checking on them causes frustration and wastes your time, so if you can't rely on others, you might need to re-evaluate your hiring process.
4. Be real. Leaders have emotions, too. When you can honestly share the joys and frustrations of a project, you're giving team members permission to be their authentic selves. Respect on both sides will grow and prosper.
5. Focus on the mission. Never lose sight of the reason your business exists. Teams want to be involved in a profitable project, but as the leader, bring them back to how their work impacts the company's true purpose.
6. Have fun. Be sure to laugh. Besides reducing stress and releasing endorphins, laughter creates a bond among team members. People look forward to working together when they can look forward to a positive experience.
7. Be available. You might not be involved in every project or committee, but you should be available for questions, comments, or requests as they come up. You'll also want to ask your own questions and get status updates, so don't isolate yourself behind a closed door.
8. Admit your mistakes. Nobody's perfect, so when you flub something up, be a good role model. And admit when you don't know something. Transparency builds trust, and problems get solved faster with it.
9. Challenge them. A healthy team looks forward to the opportunity to create something or to solve a problem, but a team that never leaves its comfort zone gets bored. Encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
10. Help them grow. Each team member has unique strengths and talents, and your business is going to need new leaders. Offer training and education--then, as people become interested in new topics, their curiosity can turn to expertise and lead to new product and service ideas.
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