Helping Your Team Reach Its Potential

As a business owner you know the success of your business is going to depend in large part on the people you have working for you. You spend a lot of time and energy finding just the right people. You don’t simply look for experience, you look for people with the right attitude, who you believe have potential, the ones you see growing with you and your organization.

Now the question is, once you have the vision for your team’s potential, how do help them reach it?

Listen to them
When you give someone your complete attention, you are giving them space to express what they think and how they feel. People feel valued and want to do their best when they feel someone is listening. It does not matter if they need to vent or simple brainstorm. This exercise isn’t simply a matter of listening to the words employees say, it is about listening with the intention of hearing the meaning of those words.

True leaders are able to “read between the lines” and determine what needs to be done to help employees feel more value in their work. Does this person need help with some aspect of what they’re doing? Are they saying they can do more? Is something making them uncomfortable? If you aren’t completely clear, ask questions. Listen to what they say and respond appropriately.

Give clear direction
Make sure people understand exactly what is expected of them in their role. Never make assumptions about what they already know or what they can do. Make it your business to know exactly what everyone whom you manage is capable of. Challenging your employees is great, but before you challenge someone to hit a home run, confirm they know how to play baseball.

Once you start seeing results, ensure you praise effort and not ability. A person who feels valued and encouraged will continue to work harder and will likely feel the joy of improvement. If you notice that an employee is handling tasks with ease, offer guidance as to how to take things up a notch. By offering clear direction as a manager, you can help turn good employees into great ones, and great employees into the best ones.

The Fast Company article Six Habits of People Who Know How To Bring Out The Best in Others puts it this way, “As a leader, the most important part of your job isn’t your results. Your job is to inspire your employees’ results.”

Be honest
You or your company might be strong in certain areas and less proficient in others. Honesty builds trust between employees and employers so it is up to take the first step of building trust between employees first. Instead of feeling like you need to appear to you know all the answers, let people know when you don’t. Let them know when you need help and accept it graciously when it’s offered. Allowing for all members of a team to make suggestions and problem solve will establish a commitment to the solution and build value among the team. Success in organizations with a strong team backbone is shared success everyone can feel proud of.

Empower employees
People get excited about doing their best when their work is motivating and fulfilling. The article, Bringing Out The Best In Employees from the London Business School, mentions five characteristics employees consider important for feeling fulfilled in their work:

• Having responsibility for doing something worthwhile
• Being given a high level of freedom for how results are achieved
• Having an opportunity to extend oneself and to develop expertise
• Being given an opportunity to work with good colleagues
• Achieving recognition for doing a good job.

Set the example
As a business leader, you should want to inspire your team to do its best, day in and day out. Set the example for others to follow. As you apply these five principles to your management style, you should begin to see a shift in how your employees view their projects and tasks. If you lead as a manager who truly brings out the best in his/her employees. Focus on building up the people you work with and you will see that success will follow.

Smart Circle.  Smart Sales.  Smart Opportunity.

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