5 Simple Steps to Becoming a Better Leader and Improving Team Performance

"Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing" by by LyndaSanchez on FlickrThe power of a fostering a good team dynamic in business is incredible. Chances are, you’ve observed terrible teams and you’ve observed amazing teams in different capacities throughout your professional life. If so, you know how much of a difference a good team can make.

1. Get Your Team Excited

What’s more powerful than a group of people who are passionate about something.? Think of all the incredible feats humanity has accomplished over the years. All of them were driven by an unquenchable thirst to change something or do something important! If you can make your team excited to be working on a particular project, they will do everything they can to accomplish their goals, work well together, and get the job done at a level far beyond your expectations. An excited team can work wonders in business. Find ways to motivate them.

“Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.” – Dale Carnegie

2. Be organized without being stifling to creativity.

Businesses have a bad habit of letting their employees run around with no real organizational system. Other businesses are so organized that very little gets done! The trick is to find a healthy balance. Create smart deadlines and establish guidelines for company communication and work ethic. Make sure you set a good example by always responding to emails and practicing what you preach. At the same time, encourage your employees to be creative without going off the rails that you’ve constructed. Google has had incredible success in this area. They encourage employees to work on creative projects, but never let it turn into a free-for-all. Allowing for organized creativity is a smart practice that will improve your business.

“Early in my career I felt that organization would destroy my creativity. Whereas now, I feel the opposite. Discipline is the foundation that allows you to be creative.” – Verna Gibson

3. Ask team members for advice.

Imagine you are an employee and the boss walks up to you and asks for advice. It doesn’t have to be something big or something confidential. It could be something as simple as asking your employees what kind of qualities they think would be best in a new hire. Practicing this simple gesture can turn a B+ employee into an A+ employee. Making your employees feel involved and important will not only bring them together as a team, but improve their confidence, and boost their respect for you. Genuinely respecting others is an easy and sure-fire way to get them to respect you.

“No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.” – Mary Kay Ash

4. Want a team? Hire a TEAM.

How can you expect your team to perform well if you don’t consider each employee’s place within the team from the start? Great teams are well constructed. Imagine if sports teams hired all their favorite players and didn’t take into account what their strengths were, how they interacted with others, or even what position they played. It simply wouldn’t work. If you want to have a good team, only hire team players! If you want to have an effective team, only hire people who fit the puzzle pieces you need to complete your dream team.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

5. Focus on the positives.

A very big problem exists when managers constantly focus on the bad stuff. It’s natural that when there’s a problem, you’re going to want to fix it. However, it’s not helpful to spend MOST of your time trying to change the bad habits of certain employees. Spend the necessary time on issues, but spend most of your time encouraging and rewarding the employees who go above and beyond! These employees will stand out and become leaders by example. You will most likely find that the employees giving you problems in the past will start to shape up and do better work. Remember, positivity trumps negativity every time and criticism is usually greeted by defensive behavior. That’s why positivity is a necessary ingredient in being a good leader.

“Life is a bowl of cherries. Some cherries are rotten while others are good; its your job to throw out the rotten ones and forget about them while you enjoy eating the ones that are good! There are two kinds of people: those who choose to throw out the good cherries and wallow in all the rotten ones, and those who choose to throw out all the rotten ones and savor all the good ones.” – C. JoyBell C.

Photo by by LyndaSanchez on Flickr

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