I used to have a recurring nightmare. I would find myself sitting in a high school classroom. I’d be chatting it up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while when suddenly the teacher would announce it was time to take the final exam. Suddenly I would remember that I hadn’t been in class all semester. My hands would start to sweat as I had no idea how to answer any of the questions and surely I was going to fail. I’d wake up in a panicky, nervous sweat because I didn’t know what to do.
Whether your team is made up of employees or independent contractors if you find yourself barking orders, giving partial instructions or simply ignoring them for long periods of time you are probably making them feel like I did from that nightmare.
But even if your team members aren’t breaking out in hives or taking mediation for stress control, there are some key things you can do to make sure everyone on your team performs like the superstar you know they are.
Focus on What Went Right For some reason it always seems easier to point out (and harp on) the things that went wrong. I’m not saying you should ignore mistakes, but you also need to remember the flip side. Point out the good stuff that happens. When someone does a good job, say thank you and tell them you are appreciative of a job well done. Let them know you’ve taken notice of the things they’ve done, especially when they go above and beyond. You like it when someone compliments your work right? So why wouldn’t your team be the same. Praise and acknowledge good work on a regular basis.
Have a “No Surprise” policy Keep everyone on the same page by having regular team meetings. Share the current goals, the projects in the works and the high priorities with everyone at the same time. Then let everyone chime in with their ideas and what support they need from other team members to achieve the goals. Communication, buy in and participation all in one fell swoop.
Give Clear Directions Be specific about what you need accomplished. Here’s a simple example, if you say to someone, “please pick me up some lunch,” who knows what you will get; soup, pizza, a hamburger, a salad. The choices are endless. Instead, be specific about what you want. Say something like, “please go the deli down the street and pick me up a corn beef on rye with extra mustard.” See the difference. You are more likely to get what you want if you ask for it.
Give Everyone a Little Personal Time Have a one-on-one check in with each team member. Book 15 to 60 minutes each week to check their progress, give new assignments and answer any questions. It gives you the opportunity to work through all the tasks and projects at one time, which will save you time while showing them that you are approachable. This step is so important that this month’s Outrageously Effective System focuses on a strategic system to do just that.
Acknowledgement, communication, clarity and approachability are the keys to building your own superstar team.
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