Experts! Speak English PODCAST The Humble Leader’s Guide: Dr. Franziska Frank on Practicing Humility in
Are you feeling brave?
Today, we’re diving deep into the world of team building. Are you ready to transform your team into a powerhouse of productivity and innovation?
Stay tuned as we explore the ten best practices that with commitment and great communication will drive your success. Being a leader isn’t always a walk in the park, but with the right strategies, you can create the team that everybody wants to work with.
In this episode of Experts! Speak English, I will be sharing with you 10 Best Practices for effective team building. These team building strategies all sound easier than they are in practice so be kind to yourself, give yourself time to build a great team.
Building a phenomenal team sounds exciting and as a new manager you might fantasize about just having to oversee things and the team does all of the hard lifting. In reality that is about as far away as the dreamy thought I had of sipping cappucino as my son played beautifully behaved at the park. Not going to happen. You need to put a lot of work into building a team, but it is really rewarding.
So building a team that works well together isn’t that walk in the park, neither is it something that you can blame anybody else for – even if you didn’t hire each team member, it is your role to establish a culture where your team works together and supports each other. If the manager before you was a nightmare, you have even more work to do. You’ll need to earn their trust because leadership isn’t leadership until your team looks up to you as the leader.
The bottom line is, if you employ incompetent managers, you will lose your most talented employees.
They’re too good at what they do to stick around so replace or educate the managers that are letting the team down first. That is your first priority. Effective team building starts with having the right people doing the right things at the right time.
Salary plays a role.
No matter how much someone loves their job – and by that of course I mean they usually love their team and the vibe at work. But that is not enough in isolation, remuneration or salary is a sign of respect. If your superior says there is no more budget, you have to fight for your team and if you don’t know where to start with that conversation, well please, just get in touch, as your job coach we can crack that nut . Being paid below the industry standard kills motivation and you will experience a higher turnover of staff – it’s this inconsistency in the team that stresses the whole team out and triggers those that are left behind to see if they can earn more elsewhere too.
In a respectful team environment pay gaps do not exist, so resist the temptation to give the biggest pay rise to the best negotiator – unless they are by far the best performer. If the best performers don’t negotiate make sure that they get the pay rise that they deserve too.
Embrace Remote Work.
‘Allowing’ people to work from home as a favour is no longer going to cut it. Giving those that can work from home the opportunity to do so is massive in terms of flexibility and again it is a sign of respect, a crystal clear signal that you trust your team to get the job done.
If you still insist on a culture of presence, you need to work on your leadership skills.
Respect is huge.
People want to be respected, taken seriously and feel as though they belong. Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs puts Esteem almost at the top of his pyramid, because respect, self esteem, status, recognition and the freedom to work independently, give you confidence and a feeling of self worth. Every team has experts that do not feel valued, find out who they are and why they feel that way. It is your role as a leader to discover who can do what well and you have to do everything to remove any barriers in their way, get them out of the way . This servant leadership is not just relevant in agile teams, in new work it’s standard. If you want to head up a phenomenal team, respect is key.
Not just from you, but from among team members too. You need to secure psychological safety. Don’t be a wimp, if you see behaviour that makes a team member feel uncomfortable, nip it in the bud and call it out. If you are turn a blind eye and you are opening your team up for a miserable existence and you will lose your strongest players. Titles shouldn’t earn you respect, your performance should. Remember that.
Create a failure Culture.
Now you might think that you are open to people making mistakes but it is a reflection on you, so you need to be a strong individual to suck it up and support the person that made that mistake. Most mistakes are not the end of the world but by not making mistakes innovation is impossible.
How do you approach recruiting?
It’s tempting to focus all of your attention on the CVs and covering letters and a screening process based on your checklist of knowledge and experience that they need for the role. But by neglecting the basics like honesty, the genuine interest in learning and developing professionally, you will miss out on a lot of great talent.
Remember that not every candidate will be able to sell themselves well – but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to perform well in their job. You need tunnel vision and make sure you are not surrounding yourself with clones of yourself. I challenge to look at the list of candidates that you are inviting in for interview, if they all look like you, you have to go back to the drawing board. You’re not that amazing Honey!
Be open to developing a team that has team members with talents that you don’t have. If you are terrible at checking the details, make sure that you have someone on the team that is great at that. If you get excited about shiny new projects but hate the admin and tedium of the later stages, make sure that you have a colleague that can run with that for total accuracy. If you are not great at making presentations but someone else on your team is a natural, let them do it or find out how to do a better job of it yourself . But do you see where I am coming from here, look at your weaknesses and make sure that your team can fill those gaps.
Make sure that you give everybody a chance to get involved. You notice I didn’t say ‘speak up’ because often the brilliant people do not feel the urge to speak up and it might feel quite intimidating for them, so let them get involved their way. But how do you know you might ask – well ask them. Speak to your staff. Funny that, but conversations with your team is like oil for a smoothly running motor, make sure that you are available and accessible not just physically but mentally, you need to be there for your team. If you want to find out how to establish a professional distance then check out episode 148, it’s called Professional Distance – The Leadership Tightrope that Women Master #148. The balancing act is as relevant for men as it is for women, especially if you have been promoted internally from team member to team leader.
Everyone has something to add, so make sure that you speak to people of all levels of education and experience, it is often those that are completely new that can see things with a fresh and often fabulously obvious but different perspective.
Team Building or bonding.
Working together day after day brings you together as a team but it is vital to create some opportunities away from your computer screens to bond as a team. Team building can be something simple like going to the pub on a Thursday night in the UK after work or going bowling or it can be something more elaborate like an adventure day.
You need to be careful here as the manager to make sure that the activity is a good fit for everyone. Remember, just because you like something, it doesn’t mean everyone else will. Be mindful of the fact that loud, chaotic spaces might not be everyone’s cup of tea, if you have an international team, they might not at all enjoy being surrounded by drunk colleagues. Women on the team might not work full time in which case that activity should be at the time of day or the day that they are in the office. So you see team building can be a delicate juggling act, you need to think carefully about this and be considerate of everyone’s needs. And yes, your remote team involves more people than the ones in the office. If you are tempted to wash your hands of inclusivity and diversity by saying that you can’t please everyone then perhaps leadership isn’t for you after all.
Podcast Episode Recommendation
By the way, sometimes an online event can be more inclusive. Perhaps a casino team building event with Tino Engel.
(Listen to episode 098 Teambuilding at the Poker Table with Tino Engel)
Push Personal Development.
As a leader you are responsible for developing your team so that they have the skills not just for the current project or needs of the department but also long term. You need to think strategically about who is on your team, what their career goals are – their goals, not just yours, as well as your own needs for the organisation. Having the right people in the right place is one part of the puzzle, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make a difference at work is the other part of the puzzle.
Make sure that you don’t delay the authorising of training – the longer you leave it, the less you are prioritizing your team member, that makes them feel shabby and unappreciated. It might be a boring admin task, but just bite the bullet and do it straight away, just do it. As we approach the end of the year, make sure that your training budget is spent on building your successful team. A strong team is knowledgeable. Every team member has the right to be growing professionally and you as the leader can make that happen.
If you do not support and hence respect your team members, they will leave. The chances are that whilst you are ‘busy’ or let’s face it putting off authorising their course or certification or a business trip to a conference – they are already looking for a new job or speaking to headhunters. In today’s employment market the 3 minutes it would take to do that could result in 9-12 months of productivity loss , additional recruitment workload, a lack of loyalty in your team and a general feeling of discontent. That could make you pretty miserable in those 9-12 months. So bite the bullet.
Finally take the performance reviews or appraisals seriously, take the time to plan for them. Insist that they happen regularly and the feedback in those staff meetings should be precise, specific and realistic. Feedback is critical and I have an episode about that too, check out number 054 The Importance of Feedback for Remote Teams. To be honest I have learned a lot about giving honest and open feedback through Toastmasters. So that too, might be an option.
Communication is the be-all and end-all.
Das A und O as we say in Germany. If the staff find out everything first via the office grapevine, you’re not leading – not at all. I learned this first hand when I was at Price Waterhouse during the merger with Coopers. Nothing was communicated and what happens then? People get nervous, jumping ship or doing half a job because they don’t have the security they need. Again – it comes back to respect. It’s respectful to keep people informed or up to speed.
So to summarize then, the best practices for effective team leadership are:
1. Ensure that your managers are competent
2. Insist on decent salaries for your team.
3. Embrace remote working & flexibility.
4. Demonstrate respect
5. Actively embrace a failure culture
6. Recruit professionally
7. Nurture a Team Effort
8. Invest in Team Building
9. Commit to Personal Development
10. Communicate frequently and intentionally
Have I forgotten any? Surely – so in embracing a fail culture, share with me what you think we should add.
Tell me via Linkedin, Instagram or good old fashioned email, hey, you could even pick up the phone.
Remember communication for your team, is like oil for the motor, it keeps it running
Being a team member is easy, being the boss takes guts.
If you are to step up as a leader become an active and engaged leader.
Challenge your team to deliver the very best work that they can, that gives them the self actualization that matters – I genuinely do believe that we all want to be the best that we can be – that’s why Maslow put it at the top of his Hierarchy of Needs. So give people the opportunity to grow as a professional, the skills, the experience, the freedom to experiment and ideally to teach each other.
Coco’s Communication Challenge for this week, whether you are already the leaders of your team or not yer, is to take a look at what is going well in your team and think about what you could do in the next week, month or year to address that.
If you want to work with a coach to find a leadership solution, then sign up for a free 20 minute virtual tea break with me.
You’ll go away with a few ideas to try out and if it makes sense for you , we can meet online or outdoors to get to the root of the problem in your team so that by the time your next performance review comes around, you have complete confidence in your amazing team and some impressive productivity figures to prove it.
It’s been a pleasure being your host today on the Experts! Speak English! podcast brought to you by English Speaking Experts – where experts are speaking up about their zone of genius in a way that gets them the recognition and opportunities that they deserve.
Have a fabulous week and be the very best communicator that you can be!