1. One-on-one Meetings
Meet with you management team individually on a regular monthly basis and let them set the agenda. Some key players may need to meet with you more often. Listen to them carefully and take notes. Give a word of encouragement and really focus on what they have on their heart and mind. Old time management advice was to avoid becoming too friendly with subordinates. Today’s counsel is just the opposite. To build an effective team you must build relationships and develop friendships and a good way to start is to schedule individual regular times monthly for an hour or so. Really get to know your team members, even if you have been together for years. Things change over time.
2. Team Meetings
Not only do you need to get to know your individual team members better, but they also need to get to know each other better. Especially in this age of technology, people need human interaction. You need to create situations where other leaders in your organization discover the strengths and lesser strengths of their counterparts. For example, leadership style inventories that are shared with one another can be of help, or just the scheduled time to hear from others reports of what is being accomplished in their area is profitable.
3. Copying the team on all communications
There is an old saying that goes, “What people do not understand, they oppose.” An organization where everyone believes that they are “in the loop” functions smoother and more efficiently than where there are pockets of people with privileged information that they hold as power over others. The best organization is one in which it might be said that everybody sits at the table and enjoys the same fare.
As with general information, every member of the team must be on the same page when it comes to the schedule. As was learned many years ago when “Pert Charts” were first introduced, when people can see in print, or chart form, where their responsibilities fit the bigger plan and the critical time points along the way, the easier it is to keep projects and people coordinated and productive. Often the manager has the timeline in his/her head but most of the team has access to only their part of the plan. Where the timeline is shared with everyone there is also shared ownership.
5. Training sessions
With the rapid progress in technology and the quicker pace of business operations these days, people need to be regularly encouraged to improve their work skills and be introduced to newer methods of accomplishing their tasks. Continuous improvement requires lifelong education. Seminars, books, video training, advanced degrees, consulting or coaching are needed to keep the team fresh and growing in knowledge, skills, and proper attitude alignment.
6. Check sheets
Putting the vital management tasks in order and in print with clear dates and times is a benefit for all involved. It can be a reminder, a tool of scheduling, and evaluation tool, or just simply a help for busy managers and leaders to stay on target with their part of the overall project or process. Quality leaders appreciate all the help they can get from other leaders.
7. Accountability Partners
Partnership with other leaders in the organization to create camaraderie and a cooperative work environment can be very profitable. Some organizations actually pair up leaders so that they can hold each other accountable and follow the established plan more effectively. Two sets of eyes on special aspects of a project can be a very helpful if there is confidence and cooperation on the part of both parties. In such a process, shared credit and reward for success is mandatory.
Take a few minutes each day to review your team’s performance. Identify needs and develop methods and techniques to help each team member reach their potential. Your personal investment in your team will pay great dividends for you and your entire organization.
Dr. Gil Peterson
Dr. Gil Peterson, as the retired president of Lancaster Bible College (Lancaster, PA), has been a student and teacher of leadership principles fro many years. His forthcoming book is entitled The Master Plan for Leaders: a Biblical Perspective. Gil can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org