During the summer I’m the president of a cricket club and I also captain a team of ten diverse characters from whom I must extract the best possible performance.
In business or on the sporting field a good leader uses similar concepts to get the most out of their teams.
Whilst a reward system linking realistic expectations to incentives is always a winner, it only forms part of the picture. These are some simple methods through which you can get the most out of your team without using the words “budget” or “target”.
1. Give your team members the freedom to succeed or fail
o No one wants to be micro-managed. It’s important that your team members have the freedom to complete their role without having someone standing over them. You’re only going to make them dependent on you, stifle their creativity and increase your workload.
o Everyone has their own individual style and flair, let them show you what they’ve got – you may learn something.
2. Treat mistakes as a learning experience
o At uni, I was told the story of an employee who lost several million dollars of his organisation’s money and was called in to his boss’s office. Expecting to lose his job, his boss asked him “What have you learned from this mistake?” The employee explained that he would approach the situation differently if he had his time again and asked if he was being fired. His boss replied “Why would I fire you now? I’ve just spent several million dollars on your education- learn from your mistakes!”
o A mistake can happen once or twice but come the third time… something’s wrong. Ask yourself “is the problem at your end or theirs?” Explore whether you have given them the required tools, knowledge and support and ask if there’s more that you can do to help them.
3. Give your team members an area of responsibility
o This gives them something to take some pride in and focus on whilst helping increase the output of the collective.
o If a team member wants to take on a project, then do what you can to encourage them in that pursuit. Don’t be afraid to say “Yes.”
4. Actions speak louder than words. Lead from the front
o The “Do what I say, not as I do!” method of leadership doesn’t work unless you’re a parent withholding pocket money. Lead from the front, practice what you preach and your words will carry more weight with your team.
o Have you ever noticed that you pick up phrases and habits from people that you spend a lot of time with? Set a great example and your team members will pick up your good habits.
5. Don’t be stingy with encouragement
o A simple “Well done!” or acknowledgement of improvement costs nothing, is easy to do and goes a long way towards increasing the morale and performance of your team. It’s always reassuring to know that your efforts aren’t going unnoticed and that you’re on the right track.