What has 2017 shown us when it comes to leadership?
Leadership and how to go about it changes with the times. Yesterday’s methods may no longer be the best option and certainly not the only option.
When was the last time you reassessed your leadership approach? It’s an important question considering the rapid pace at which our world is changingas well as the many age groups now actively working.
New technologies and methods might not seem relevant to your business but adopting them, or adapting to them, will make a significant difference for you when you’re in charge of a team or assigning a team a set of goals.
We often think that ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a safe method of thinking to fall back on. But don’t let it become an excuse that keeps you from trying new ways to build and lead your team(s). All employees are unique and once you understand what they need and want from a leader, the better you can motivate them to help you grow your business while accomplishing their goal of having a great place to work.
Do your employees need to be on site?
A recent study on effective teamwork found the effectiveness of a team was in no way reliant on working together in person.
Many companies have the perception that without middle management peering over an employee’s shoulder that person will not do the work assigned.
Others are confident that the tasks won’t be understood and the team won’t be motivated to succeed because of a lack of face to face communication.
Both were proven wrong and this is not the only study to confirm that remote workers are just as effective as those working together in the same room.
You can lead a team of remote workers with the same efficiency as a team standing in the room with you. You will just need to adjust your methods, have frequent communication and use technology such as Zoom, Skype, Go-to-Meetings to facilitate the conversations.
Some business owners have become set in their ways and mistake management for leadership. If you don’t know the difference please get in touch with me for a free consultation so we can discuss the best way to update your leadership skills to a more effective approach.
Embrace the idea of being part of the team instead of an owner
By streamlining your organization with tools and finding the right employees (either full-time, part-time or freelance) you will be improving your overall team communication.
Now is the time to lead with the team and be a part of it. Leadership should be more about We than Me even if you are the backbone of your business.
Incorporate team members into decision making rather than simply assigning tasks. Place people in roles that best suit their natural strengths rather than giving them work that they struggle with or are just not very good at. By setting your ego aside you make your team feel more appropriately important, and you allow for new input that can help your business grow in ways you most likely would never have thought of on your own. Having the best & brightest employees on your team make your life so much better!
If you’re staffed with employees who bill by the hour and you present them with a challenge you’re not able to overcome, you’ve then commissioned a team who not only respects you for respecting them, you’ve got a team who are motivated by the fact you’re paying them for their expertise.
Open yourself up to the idea of leading with the team and you’ll find they perform better for you.
Update your incentives
Make sure your team knows there are benefits to succeeding as a team.
Of course you will always pay your team based on the hours they have worked. For large projects, adding a bonus incentive for everyone on the team gets everyone excited about performing their best and helping each other to accomplish the goal. The bonus can be things like money, gift certificates, time off with pay, tickets to movies, concerts or sports events – the list is limited only by your imagination. You can also mix it up by giving employees a choice since people are motivated by different things at different times. Make sure that you set very clear guidelines and timelines for the project so that everyone knows what’s expected. A word of caution is needed here when it comes to employees versus freelancers as if you treat freelancers like employees you will find yourself in trouble with the IRS. For more information, read my article on hiring contractors vs. full time employees.
By making your rewards team-based you encourage all members to help one another and not focus on their individual assignments. You’ll also find those struggling are more eager to reach out for help when they fear letting the entire team down rather than just the boss.
The biggest change you can make as a leader is to start enjoying the role.
If you find yourself overworked or anxious then try the methods described above.
Some full time staff may be doing you more harm than good and you could find by re-evaluating your staff infrastructure, using new software to make your job easier, and working with the team rather than treating them as if they were working for you you’ll get more accomplished in less time with less headaches.