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Rebecca Moore

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Three ways to keep your team productive through great leadership

“A leader’s role is to create more leaders, not more followers“

Are you a leader? Or are you a manager? These are questions that you have probably never asked yourself, yet should be answered honestly.

The talent pool is awash with sharp, savvy millennials and they are capable of managing themselves, thanks very much. With all due respect, although the job title of ‘manager’ is thrown around modern offices up and down the country, the concept is entirely outdated and often serves to do nothing more than boost the ego of those within it and support a belief that they are owed respect on the basis that they are placed higher up within the hierarchal structure. (I think this is also known as a “power trip”)

Being a leader is about having the ability and faith to see beyond your own personal gain – nurturing talent and facilitating growth in a way that motivates staff to stay within the business and drive the success of it forward.

Leaders are able to drive home the vision that creates a team that are confident, passionate and productive, read on to discover 3 areas where you are able to put your leadership skills to use.

Be Part of the Team

“There’s no I in team- but there is in win“

Possibly the most cliché teamwork statement, but it’s one that’s entirely true! You can’t create an effective team atmosphere without being part of it, building it from the inside out. Many ‘managers’ are good at talking about team work but fail massively when it comes to demonstrating the qualities.

Sitting behind a closed door creates a barrier between you and your team, you are shutting them down on more than one level.

Sarat Pediredla, CEO at Hedgehog Lab talks about their ethos, “Leading our team from within is a by-product of our flat management structure and open culture. Depending on the situation the approach is one of the following,

1. First, everyone in our team sits together in an open plan office. There are no closed doors or designated areas for leaders. I just sit at an unmarked desk that is exactly the same as everybody else. We all get the same equipment and tools.

2. Our leadership ethic is never to ask someone to do something unless you are willing to do it yourself. Whether this is something as simple as making the teas & coffees when client meetings happen to serious decision making and high level strategic work.

3. When there is a problem, we encourage leadership to pro-actively be involved with the team in sorting that problem. Asking other to “sort it out” is not the way we do things and our KPIs explicitly monitor how pro-active leadership is being in problem resolution and decision making.”

A team that is capable of delivering a high standard of work to deadlines isn’t built overnight, they must have had the opportunity to build understanding and trusting relationships.It is down to a great leader to be able to build an office culture where people embrace and appreciate one another by encouraging open and honest communication on a number of levels; this means learning about colleague’s experiences, backgrounds and knowledge.

Make it fun! Take the team out of the office, go for coffee, lunch, hell - go for a 3 course dinner! Not only does this able a team to bond but time away such as this makes people feel appreciated and motivated. Before you being to worry about lost time and profits, these activities work wonders for job satisfaction and productivity – your worries are unfounded.

The perpetual question should be, “How can I enhance this co-operation?”

Uncertainty within a team leads to competition instead of collaboration, the team culture should cement the fact that it doesn’t matter who scored the winning goal, but that the team won the game.

Make Your Employees Feel Valued

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.“

The smallest of gestures can often have the biggest impact. Acknowledgement and thanks can go a long way to validating someone’s effort, purpose and direction. However, if you are a classic example of a manager who has honed your critiquing rather than complimenting skills, chances are you are negatively impacting your employees.

Employees that are handed back control of their schedule simultaneously receive an enormous confidence lift. Demonstrating to your team that you trust them implicitly gives them the freedom to complete tasks without stopping regularly to seek approval. Staff who are suffocated through micro management will make mistakes due to the oppressive pressure and will be unable to flourish.

“Relinquishing control isn’t easy, you will fret and worry about how your team will possibly succeed with the acute direction from you, and if they don’t then those team members are not the right ones for your business”, comments Richard LeCount from USB Makers.

Work/life balance is high on the agenda in 2016, and providing your team to achieve the right balance will pay off. A fluid approach to working hours or spaces are becoming increasingly more popular, as is providing company wellness programs. Even something as small as not stopping pay if staff are ill, or making mothers use holiday if they need to be off with sick children, being generous with bereavement pay will provide one of the biggest returns on investment that you will witness because staff will strive to repay the gesture and validate why they are worth it.

Of course, boundaries need to be set but again, this will highlight those that are contributing to the team and its success, and those that aren’t.

Know the Value of a Productive Atmosphere

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.“

There are a number of ways to approach the task of creating an atmosphere and culture that is productive.

One is something we have already touched upon – shaking off the corporate element and encouraging your team to get to know one another on a personal level. Team lunches where work is banned and instead, personal lives are on the agenda; you don’t need to go to deep levels, just enough to kick start friendships that go beyond the 9-5.

Company meetings are key for driving home company values and visions – passion is infectious. Yes they can be time consuming but think of it as an investment you are making in your team, the open channels of communication are invaluable. Keeping your team in the dark is a big mistake and is guaranteed to make them anxious and untrusting (goodbye productivity), you aren’t required to whip out the NDA’s and reveal the full details – but keep them abreast of future plans and goals, keeping the rumour milled closed at all times. Of course there will be times where they won’t appreciate what you are telling them – but you can guarantee they WILL appreciate the honesty.

How well do you know your team? Do you know what inspires and motivates them and what they want to achieve within the career and beyond? If you don’t know the answers to these questions then you are not leading them, how are you able to facilitate them in achieving their ambitions if you don’t know what they are. Their career progression could ultimately be the next step in the success of the business.

Education is incredibly important to Gen Y and they want to be continually educated. Books, website book marks and downloaded white papers that are relevant to their job, the industry you are in and also on personal growth can spark passion. Be proactive and ask your team where they would like training, this way they will have bought into the training sessions and will be enthusiastic to soak in the information

The draconian strategies and thought processes within the world of business are changing; it’s critical that this is recognised by senior members of staff to ensure that the business remains current and attractive to both employees and customers. Expander leadership will create confident, passionate and productive, resulting in a successful and profitable business.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Rebecca Moore .

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