You built a great team, they are producing amazing results, the work and the people get accolades from everyone in the organization…now what?! If this describes you, congratulations. You have created an environment where your team feels safe expressing themselves and taking risks, and built a foundation of trust and integrity that has allowed the members to innovate and achieve. Now it’s time to take it up a notch.
Leading a team of great performers can be more challenging because they are already good. So how do you make the best better? By letting go. Your greatest task is to see everyone’s potential and to push the team in new directions.
First, it’s important to recognize that this requires a shift in your role as leader—from building and training your team to coaching and mentoring them. Now is the time to help them develop themselves and maximize their effectiveness as a team. This can be accomplished in a number of ways including investing in organizational skills and training, sending team members to conferences, or giving them leadership roles on specific projects. When team members participate in activities that take them out of the normal day-to-day, it enhances their creativity and generates new ideas.
Second, the shift requires a behavioral change. You still need to create the vision and set the direction for your team to follow, but your role needs to evolve into mentoring, providing resources, and motivating team members to move forward. Bring your team on the same side of the table with you in order to address problems, challenges, and new initiatives. Think of the shift as moving certain core responsibilities to the team. Shifts can be as simple as creating new assignment procedures, reworking job descriptions, or adding quarterly meetings to review departmental goals and talk about upcoming initiatives. For example, a focused quarterly meeting can open communication amongst the group to give and get input about projects as well as decrease “stressers” like gossip and hearsay. If you already have meetings, try letting a team member run the meeting and set the agenda. It’s like being a sports coach and letting the team captain call the play…not always easy, but important for growth.
Third, shifting more responsibility to your team will make you better because you can free yourself from the day-to-day and think more strategically about the department as it impacts the overall business.
By demonstrating the ability to understand talent, grow potential, and manage success, you can take your team to the next level. Even when the team is grumbling, complaining, and whining, your talent to point out the obvious and the subtle, and to guide them to resolution will impact both their career and yours for the better.
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