I overheard a conversation the other day on BART in which a 20 something was lamenting about his job to his friend – via his smartphone and headset. Seems this young man’s boss just had no time for him because he had too many other responsibilities and too many direct reports. In need of more guidance, the young man was unclear about his role on the team and how he was being measured.
As a small business leader, do you find it challenging like this manager to keep up communication with your team? It’s not surprising if you do, considering all the demands on your time and the many hats that you wear. Still the growth of your company requires having a cohesive, highly functioning team on board. Team building starts with hiring the right people, but from there it requires open communication – and lots of it – and an investment of your time.
To keep your team motivated and invested in the growth of the company, here are some things to keep in mind:
Share your vision: Make sure everyone on the team understands your vision and the company road map. At team meetings or at an offsite, which you may want to hold from time to time, revisit your vision, enumerate achievements and discuss how to get to the next step.
Clarify roles: Make sure everyone clearly understands their roles and responsibilities and how they fit into the goals of the company. Assign roles based not only someone’s professional capabilities but personal characteristics as well. Some individuals are better at mentoring than others, for example. Take that into consideration as you assign management responsibilities.
Set expectations: Your team needs clear guidelines on what you expect each one to achieve. Set expectations and provide the necessary resources to be successful.
Motivate: Feedback is critical. Make it a priority to let your employees know that you appreciate their efforts. Even if you have to give negative feedback, employees will appreciate it coming from you if they believe you are trying to help them get ahead.
Engage: Above all, make your employees feel that they are an important part of your team. Share information – achieving milestones, changes in policy or company developments – with everyone to make them committed to your success.
What have you learned about growing and building your team?
Suggested additional reading: How to retain top talent at your small business