Entrepreneurs need to be effective team leaders…
…..since no one can transform an idea into a product and a business without some help. Fortunately, team building is a skill that can be learned and practiced, for those willing to put in some effort.
Take a look at this checklist as a starting point for developing team connections and building engaged team members as a key step in becoming an effective team leader.
7 Important Ways to Strengthen Your Team
1. Consciously reduce time spent on outside activities. You won’t be viewed as the team leader if you spend most of your time on activities that are not relevant to your team. Being visible and engaged on a random part-time basis, due to other jobs, won’t do it. If your team has trouble finding you, you won’t make productive connections.
2. Be compulsive about scheduling time for your team. Even busy entrepreneurs need to schedule regular and predictable times which will be devoted only to working and interacting with the team. Possibly an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon may be enough, if you make it happen consistently.
3. Maintain a weekly “huddle meeting” with the entire team. This can even be done remotely via Skype, but it’s important that every team member attends. You need to listen as each summarizes their accomplishments for the last week, and their plan for the week ahead. Leadership is making sure they have resources and understand the strategy.
4. Have monthly reviews with each team member. Team members need and crave feedback, much more frequently and informally than the annual performance review. Schedule monthly 30-minute informal checkpoints, as well as quarterly updates on objectives and performance. Ask what you can do for them in every review.
5. Practice leadership by walking around (LBWA). This is one of the most effective ways to find out what is going on, as well as an opportunity to provide feedback on strategy and direction. Go for walks every day and stop at people’s desks. Ask them what is going on, both in the team and outside of work. Listen.
6. Recognize team members for individual efforts. Communicate individual results as well as team results to everyone. Most leaders don’t say “thank you” enough. Recognition in front of peers is often more motivating that monetary awards. This is the time to talk about wins with customers and what is coming on the horizon, and the team role in each.
7. Be real and authentic in every interaction. If you are not, your team will see right through it and you will be worse off than if you stayed locked up in your office. Make sure you’re treating all team members as you would want to be treated. Be genuinely interested in learning something new every day from your team, and they will follow you.
The Importance of a Good Leader
The value of a startup team with an effective leader is much greater than the value of many strong individuals working independently. It’s not only your connection with the team, but their connection with each other that is critical. Only a dedicated leader can spot those special powers in each member and then build a effective team.
If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your team and improve business performance, call Williams & Kunkel today at 972-446-1040.
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