19 Mar '13
Creating a dynamic team
As a leader, one of my highest priorities is to create a happy, dynamic, results oriented team that is energized, creative, collegial and deeply committed to a common mission. Here are some of the key elements that I believe are non-negotiable if one wants that kind of team and working environment.
Hire the bestGod has gifted me with a wonderful team of professionals because we have worked on finding the very best people - in fact people that are a whole lot better at what they do than I am. This requires a leader who is not threatened by strong personalities and huge degrees of competency.
Tailor the JobsGreat team members want to play to their strengths. Spend the time you need to ensure that the job reflects the strengths of your team members. The rule is that 60 to 80% of our time should be spent in areas of strength, not weakness. If the targets are not met, the level of dissatisfaction goes up. As time goes on, continue to be flexible in tailoring jobs to keep your people engaged and fulfilled.
Monitor happiness factors
I ask my team members regularly, what is your happiness factor, and they ask their reports. We want to know on a scale of 1-10 where people are at. If the number is seven or below I will probe. Sometimes it is a life issue but often it is a work issue that I can seek to resolve.
Create a collegial atmosphere
Everyone on the team is a critical member of the team from the lowest paid to the senior executives. Everyone's opinion and voice is heard and counted. Our jobs may differ but the honor, respect and voice we give to everyone is absolutely critical.
Once a job has been defined, empower people to make appropriate decisions and to accomplish their job their way in line with the values and ethos of the organization. There is nothing more liberating than to allow people to use their gifts and creativity to accomplish their job.
Keep mission central
We are here for a common misson and we want to ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction. The more clear the mission is, the more committed people will be to that mission. In addition, clarity of mission and strategy give people the information they need to make good decisions in their area of work.
Practice a monthly coaching/mentoring meetingTake time each month to sit down and find out how your team members are doing, where they are facing challenges and what you can do as their supervisor to facilitate their success. Your investment in a monthly meeting sends a message to team members that you value them, want to help them and are committed to their success.
Senior leaders who are available to everyone on their team engender high loyalty. Often leaders see this as a distraction. In reality it is one of the most important things a leader does because your team members are the most important key to the organization's success. Show interest in people's lives, work and families.
Ask lots of questions
The more you know about what people are doing, the challenges they face and their wiring, the better you will be able to support them and help them maximize their gifting. Good leaders ask questions designed to probe and gain information they would not otherwise have. Few things show people great regard than to care about them and inquire about their work and lives.
Encourage robust dialogue
Rule. No issue is off the table except personal attacks or comments with hidden agendas behind them. Foster an atmosphere where honest dialogue is encouraged, new ways of doing things can be explored and creative collaboration is the standard.
Be generous with your praise
You cannot thank people enough or publicly recognize their contribution. After all, it is their work that makes the team successful. Go out of your way to make sure staff knows how much you appreciate them