The success of any business, whether you’re a startup or an industry mainstay, relies heavily on the team behind the scenes. It may take one person with a vision to get a business off the ground, but if you don’t focus on building a strong team, there’s no way you can achieve long-term success. As the CEO of my own small business, there have been a lot of learning curves over the years, but here are some things I have found helpful to keep in mind when building my own team.
1. Hire the Right People
Fine-tuning your hiring process is a tricky art to master. When interviewing candidates, have real conversations with them. Ask questions-not only about experience-but about themselves. Try to determine their “hunger factor.”
You can teach skill, but you can’t teach initiative or drive that makes up the “hunger factor.” Involve your team in assessing culture fit, skill set, and overall match for the company. At the end of the day they will be the ones working with the new hire. During this process, don’t be afraid to make a mistake, they will inevitably happen. You learn, grow, and move on.
2. Connect Your Team
Once you have your team, it’s important to encourage communication and help them learn how to work together. Learning how to communicate to better connect is critical. If we understand how others need to receive information and feedback, we become a stronger team. Communicating with the understanding that everyone’s best interest is at heart is what we aim for. We also encourage team leads to create their own goals and accountability measures – which are then presented to the entire team on a quarterly basis to show progress.
3. Encourage Growth
Your team will only grow and develop as much as you are willing to do so yourself. Transparency as a leader is key to mentorship. Everyone gets to see, hear, and feel my mistakes, and when I recognize them, I apologize, reset and start over. By sharing the vulnerability of failure and success I leave an open door for anyone to learn from my mistakes.
Supporting professional development through industry and leadership conferences, classes, and seminars, is an excellent way to encourage growth. This will help them develop their own abilities in leadership, industry skills, and personal well-being, while enabling them to give more to the company.
4. Maintain Motivation
How do I maintain the motivation of my team? Lots of love. Lots of listening. Lots of “sorry’s.” I want everyone on my team to succeed in their lives and I want to help them achieve their dreams. During company retreats, we not only revisit company goals, but we share our personal goals as well. Sharing these goals helps us connect as people and to remember to look past any tension that may occur during our normal day-to-day. We all have visions and goals–and working towards our team goals will help us all get to our individual goals in the end.
5. Address Change
Despite building a strong team and company culture, change is inevitable. These changes can be logistical–new equipment needed or processes that need tweaking. But there are going to be times when a team member may need to be called out to make a change when issues arise. That is probably the hardest thing to do for me personally – as I have a very hard time with confrontation. It is something I have learned through the years – but asking a lot of questions and trying to get input to better understand the root of the issue allows me to collectively figure out a better path for the team. This rarely happens in a vacuum. I believe strongly in team input.
So as you’re moving forward in the journey of your business, remember to keep your team at the forefront. Providing them with the support they need to succeed, will help your business succeed in the long run.
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