Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Shweta Jhajharia (UK).
No successful big business owner is an island. You can keep a business running by yourself, but if you are ready to achieve growth, if you are ready to expand, then you need a team surrounding you.
However, you cannot hire just anyone to work with you. Your team must be specifically suited to your business. They need to fit into your culture, they need to have the skills the company needs and that no one else on the team has.
There is a recruitment process that we devised that helps towards this end. However, beyond learning how to hire the right people, here are five other important elements I have identified that distinguish truly winning teams from failing ones.
- Exhibit Strong Leadership
They say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. While it is true that the lower boundary is set by the weakest member, the upper boundary is set by the leader – and that may not be the strongest member.
It is important to hire team members who are better than you in the areas that they are hired for. This means that, as a team, you can achieve more. However, if you are unable to lead them and direct the flow of that teamwork towards the goals of the business, their strengths will be either unused or wasted.
Being a leader means being visible to your team, having the ability to motivate your team, and being able to express to your team WHY they are doing what they do to stimulate that motivation.
- Communicate The Organisation’s Goal
And what is leadership without a goal to strive for? No matter what your skills as a leader, if you do not know what path you are leading them down, you are not taking them down the most successful route.
Everyone on your team should know what they are aiming for individually, and how their goals contribute to the larger goal of the business. If you were to ask each of your team members what was the goal for the next quarter, or the next year, would they answer similarly? Would their answer match your answer?
If they have a “sense” of it, then that is not enough – in an organisation, everyone should have absolute clarity on what the common goal is.
- Establish Non-Negotiable Rules of the Game
This is not the guidelines or the culture or values system; I consciously use the term ‘rules of the game’ because we really are playing a professional game here.
Your business is not a gathering of family members where it is a bit fuzzy and emotional. Even if you run a family-owned business, when it comes to the times you are operating the business, you are not acting as family members at those times. We are professionals and we are playing roles in this business. Good feelings augment that in the best way, but at the core this is a professional sport.
What you are aiming for here is a “loose-tight culture”. You should set some clear boundaries for what is acceptable and then within those boundaries, the culture should be loose and innovative. The best teams have the room to be creative, to take risks and to try new things, while keeping within limits of what is non-negotiable to ensure that innovation is directed towards results and not simply wasted energy.
Setting these rules is not the entirety of this tip though. The rules of sports are not just written down; if a player goes outside a boundary, there is a clearly defined consequence. What those consequences are for your business you must decide for yourself. They will be different depending on the kind of boundaries you have set, the kind of team you have and the effect on the business.
But what is important is does your team know what the consequences are for not playing within the rules of your game? Talk is easy, but can you implement?
- Formulate an Action Plan
With strong leadership, a common goal and a set of boundaries for success set up you now need to make sure you have a clear action plan in place. Knowing where you are headed is quite a bit different from knowing how you are going to get there.
In the end, you are not managing a team, you are managing their activities. This means you need to lay out a plan for the business and then, importantly, share that plan with your team. Sit down with them and run over how that cascades down to each of them. Where are their responsibilities? What are they accountable for? What do they have ownership of?
Remember that business is a professional game and this is a team sport. There are few team sports where the players go out there and wing it; each has their position on the field and a role in the play that the coach and captain have agreed upon to try and win. Sometimes roles need to shift as a curve ball change where the critical action is, but then they return to their core responsibilities when the game readjusts.
There needs to be a moment – multiple moments – throughout the year where you pause and reflect on your plan. Business owners need to do this once a quarter (as we do with our clients in the Strategic Growth Intensive) and include their team members to ensure they are aligned with the plan, working together, and are clear about the common goal.
- Manage Your Team Effectively
The final tip understands that management is what pushes a team forward. Leadership pulls a team together, but it is through management that you accelerate them.
The distinction between management and leadership is an important one that many business owners miss. Many business owners are great leaders and need to work on their management skills and vice versa, so it is an important element to become familiar with if you want to run a winning team.
One is not better than the other, but they are distinct with their own functions and activities. In a nutshell, management is about making sure that the preparations are in place, that the systems are operating properly and that the proper leverage is being obtained to drive the team and the business forward.
Where your leadership is in explaining to your team WHY they are doing what they do, your management comes in when you are explaining to them HOW they are achieving the goals of the company.
There are, of course, hundreds of elements that affect how and why a team fails or succeeds. However, by keeping a focus on these 6 areas, you will build a very strong foundation for creating the kind of team that scores goals and win results for your business.
Excerpted from ‘Sparks: Ideas to Ignite your Business Growth’ by Shweta Jhajharia, a leading global business coach. Claim your free copy at www.londoncoachinggroup.com/sparksbook
Shweta Jhajharia is a serial entrepreneur, international business speaker, leading global business coach and author of Sparks. Founder of the London Coaching Group, an ActionCOACH company, she has personally worked with hundreds of businesses. Shweta is a multi-award winner, including two prestigious International Stevie awards, a Millionaire Coach Award and the British Franchise Association’s Judges Award.
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