When you first start your business, working by yourself is hard. You’re doing everything alone, and you can’t wait to grow your team so you can get more done, serve more customers, and share the load. But, when you hire more people, you realize how much work it takes to get them all moving in the same direction, and you may want to just go back to working by yourself.
Leading a team is like trying to harness together wild horses to pull a stagecoach. You have to be a very powerful leader because the horses all want to go their separate ways. If you don’t lead them effectively, they’ll wildly pull your business off track.
Here are five ways to get your team working together and pulling your company in the right direction.
No. 1 — Create an Inspiring Vision: Chances are, you have some idea of where you want your business to grow. Maybe you want to break through to $1 million a year. Maybe you’re already doing $1 million and want to reach $10 million. Maybe you want to expand into a certain geographic area. Maybe you want to serve a certain number of customers.
You already have an idea of how you want to grow, but for most owners, it is just a vague thought. Take it further by thinking clearly about what your business looks like when you achieve that target. Think vividly about it to create a strong, clear picture in your mind and then share that vision with your team. This is where most business owners fall down — they don’t share the vision with their team.
No. 2 — Build a Strong Culture: Every company has a culture, and it’s created either by default or by design. The culture is the way that everyone works together and views each other and your customers. Your company’s culture will determine how your employees interact with each other and with customers, and it can even be a magnet that helps attract employees and retain them in your company.
Build a strong culture by creating a sense of unity among the team by making sure lines of communication remain open and by leading by example.
No. 3 — Solicit Feedback: This is perhaps the scariest strategy on the list, and very few business owners actually do it. Solicit feedback from your team members regularly. Invite them to provide anonymous feedback on various aspects of the company.
Of course, some of the feedback won’t be pleasant to hear, which is why some business owners refuse to do this exercise. But, you’ll also get great ideas about how to run a better company that people love to work at. For example, in my own company, we asked for feedback, and it was suggested that we put a hook in the women’s restroom for their purses — a simple solution that would never have come to our attention if we hadn’t asked for feedback. If you ask for feedback and address it, you will win over your team because it shows you are listening to them.
No. 4 — Measure The Important Stuff Regularly: When was the last time you conducted a quarterly review of your employees? Last year? Last decade? Never? Quarterly reviews are rarely done quarterly. That communicates that you’re too busy to focus on their day-to-day work.
If quarterly reviews seem like a lot of work, you’re doing them wrong. Choose a few measurable targets that track performance — and that contribute to the vision of your company — and track those with each employee. Then, during a quarterly review, simply spend a few minutes going over the scorecard with them and reviewing their individual results. If they’re doing well, congratulate them and encourage them to continue; if they are doing poorly, ask how you can help them improve. Simplify your quarterly reviews, and they’ll be easier to do, and therefore will be more effective.
No. 5 — Hold A Contest: Employees show up to work to earn paychecks, so they can afford the things they want in life. But work doesn’t have to be drudgery; it can be fun, exciting, and even rewarding while still being productive. Hold a contest for your employees. Make the contest related to the vision you created for the future of your company. For example, if you want to serve more customers, then reward employees for every new lead they bring into the company that turns into a customer. Create some friendly competition between everyone by regularly updating the results of the contest in a place that everyone can see. When someone wins, make it a big deal.
Leading employees can sometimes feel like you’re harnessing wild horses to a stagecoach. But, if you step up as a strong leader and follow these five strategies, you’ll transform those wild horses into a strong team that works together and efficiently pulls your company toward success.
Publication date: 5/1/2017