Effective teams are vital to the success of a business. They consistently perform at a high level, methodically achieving goals and setting the bar ever higher. Although it takes talented employees to build an effective team, the most capable teams seem to have something else in common--a strong leader.
It isn't easy to lead a group of employees well, but figuring out how to do it is essential. Bad managers can turn a strong team into a disjointed mess, and one study indicates that bad managers are the primary cause of employee dissatisfaction. To keep talented employees around, leaders should always be honing their skills and putting their best foot forward.
To lay the foundation upon which a strong team is built, follow these three steps, and your team will accomplish more than ever before.
1. Share--and this is the important part--the right data.
Every business decision your team makes should be informed by data--the problem is, teams are often drowning in it. If your business is like most, you have sales reports, shift reports, email chains, Google documents, and managerial notes all coming at you from multiple directions. Juggling all of this information is difficult, but there are valuable insights buried within it that can inform future business decisions. So make sure you're sharing the right data in a clear, concise way.
When employees are in the loop, they feel a greater sense of ownership that will show in their work. Consider sending an email stating the highlights along with that weekly data-filled report. For instance, Upserve's Daily Digest tool helps restaurant leaders pinpoint the most important information for their teams in a customizable email, sent daily, that analyzes the previous day's sales, performance, and trends. Find a similar tool for your industry or create an email newsletter template specifically for your internal data-sharing communications.
2. Get friendly with failure.
Want to know what this really looks like? For more than two decades, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has held "failure parties" to celebrate intelligent efforts that didn't necessarily pan out the way people intended. These parties are also where employees are transferred to new projects, acknowledging the fact that good things can come out of mistakes. Life goes on.
Embracing failure is much easier said than done. The good news is that if you can do it, the rest of your organization will follow. Employees notice the behavior of leaders. If you talk openly about failures and how to learn from them, other people will be encouraged to do the same. Call attention to your failures and break down how things will go the next time around.
3. Encourage transparency, even when it's hard.
Cultivate openness, encouraging all employees to ask tough questions of each other and their leaders. In too many organizations, questions flow from the top down. Instead, every voice should be heard, from executives to interns. When the lines of communication are open, a team will become more accountable. One of the hardest parts about leading a team is telling people things they don't want to hear, but it's vital to achieving transparency.
In the same way you praise employees for a job well done, you need to be honest about subpar work. Try adopting what Kim Scott, co-founder of Candor, calls radical candor with the members of your team. Starting from a place of genuine caring, challenge them to be better in a direct way. These interactions should happen in private, and you should always let your employees know that you're giving them critical feedback because you're trying to help them be the best they can be.
A strong team can make your business successful. If that doesn't describe your team right now, that's OK. Taking these three steps will help your team members come together to realize their true potential and, in the process, propel your business to new heights.