Whether you’re a small business owner, department head, team leader, or startup entrepreneur, the one thing in common everyone has is the struggle of managing a team. Regardless of the industry, teams stay relatively the same. While the technical skills and objectives may differ, the concept of managing, communicating, and leading a group of people toward a common goal doesn’t change. As a result, it leaves many of us asking ourselves:
Do Colleagues Listen To You?
Of course, it may seem harmless at first, and there’s nothing inherently wrong if your team is feeling a little off once or twice. But, tolerating and staying at this level of communication among your colleagues is not healthy and halts your progress. And, if you’re serious about positioning your startup, team, and business for success, it’s time you grit your teeth and make some changes.
#1 Combining Positional and Personal Power
Naturally, your position in the business or chain of command gives you positional power, authority equal to your job description and role in the organization. However, relying on positional power alone is only one part of the equation, and leading a team means you need to work on your personal power as well. Personal power is built upon your social capital and rapport; it revolves around trust, accountability, reputation, and your influence on your colleagues. And when you combine both of these, you maintain a stronger connection with your team and are capable of achieving more.
- Prioritize The Collective Good: While realistic outlooks tend to be grim when considering trade-offs and opportunity costs, your approach should always center around utilitarianism and prioritize the collective good. Remember, a team never singles out one person off but instead works together. Help each other succeed, manage conflict productively, and do away with unnecessary negativity.
- Demonstrate Integrity: Principles are at the core of success, and if you want your team to listen, you should demonstrate integrity in your work for others to follow. Whether it’s informing a client that they qualify for a USDA loan or discussing fair terms with a business partner, your colleagues need to understand that you believe in what’s right. And, in return, they will reciprocate the same level of respect towards you.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Admit Mistakes: Nobody is perfect, and one critical quality of a leader is not being afraid to admit mistakes. A team player requires honesty, and people would never follow someone who cares far too much about their image. So, throw the ego out the door and be open for constructive criticism and proper conflict resolution.
#2 Collaboration Is The Name of The Game
Jumping off the last point, the age-old adage of teamwork makes the dream work has never failed anyone, and all business-models rely on collaboration to attain their goals. Progress depends on the amount of effort put in, and more people on the same page results in greater efficiency. But, above all that, collaboration puts you dead center on the work floor or ideation room with everyone else, where chaos and brainstorming go hand in hand.
- Pitch New Ideas: Ideas are always the first step, and as the leader, you should never let any opportunity to take action slip past your grasp. State compelling evidence, ask striking questions, emphasize getting your point across, and be open to constructive criticism. This act will not only help reaffirm your influence but also encourage your colleagues to pitch their own ideas and do the same.
- Discuss Expectations: Collaboration also relies on expectations, and if your colleagues aren’t oriented on the standard you wish to be observed, brainstorm sessions and presentations will go awry. Ensure that your team is well-informed on what they need to do and what you expect.
- Conduct Effective Meetings: Meetings and conferences make the bulk of collaborative arrangements, and you need to lead the way by setting a standard. Communicating business information is not easy, so utilize visualization tools, presentations, and your speaking ability to catch their attention.
#3 Set An Example
Finally, if you want your team to seek out your opinion and establish a standard of collaboration, you must set an example. At the end of the day, accountability circles back to investing in your capabilities and acting as the pillar of your team. In time, everyone else will follow suit to share the burden of supporting ideas, innovation, and getting work done.
- Personal Productivity: Time is the most valuable asset in a business, making time management an essential concept to master for personal productivity. Deconstruct and understand how you use your time now and identify areas that can be improved. Evaluate the value of your time, allocate the right amount for work, and your team will also observe timeliness.
- Stress Management: While we did mention the importance of admitting to your mistakes, you need to toughen up and be someone your colleagues can rely on. Don’t let the stress of work eat you up; learn to manage it effectively and redirect that energy into positive output.
Always Be Flexible
Holding a leadership position is no joke, and with the growing demand for innovation and efficiency, even managing a small team can become extremely difficult. So, the bottom line is to always be flexible. Don’t let challenges overshadow your progress; face them head-on and overcome them one by one. Rely on the collective ability of the entire team and push through.