Ilya Pozin, Contributor
Contrary to popular belief, the success of a business isn’t ensured by an amazing CEO or even the work of a few all-star employees — it’s all about the team. Even without your key players, your business should function without change.
In light of the recent news regarding the health of Google CEO Larry Page, companies everywhere should be considering how their business would function if their CEO stepped out of the picture. Would you “keep calm and carry on” as usual, or would your company take an irreversible stumble? One thing’s for certain: a strong team will keep you afloat in a variety of both foreseen and unforeseen situations.
The future of your company shouldn’t depend on you–whether you’re the manager, CEO, or unanimous company superstar. It depends on a well-rounded, unwavering team. But working for your team, rather than having them work for you, isn’t so simple in the heavily structured, management-focused settings companies have come to thrive in today.
Kick your bad habits and put your team first. Here are seven ways to ensure every employee is able to step up to the plate without a second thought:
1. Build a strong foundation. Set the teamwork bar high from the beginning. If your company culture and mission don’t encompass the power of team-focused efforts, there’s no way to ensure your company’s strength will lie in the team. Your employees need to know that you work for them, and not the other way around.
2. Empower your employees. Every one of your employees has something they can bring to the table. Since you work for your team, it’s your job to find out where your employees excel individually. Highlight their strengths and challenge them to set an example for others. This will not only increase their interest in staying on top of their game, but also motivate them to live up to their reputation. Even when you’re not in the office, they’re still going to want to retain their image.
3. Establish goals. You can’t have a team without a vision. Throw out the idea of your employees acting as task-doers and let them collectively achieve goals within teams. Establish your company’s teams and give each one a goal to accomplish in a short timeframe. This will allow your employees to focus on the big picture, rather than accomplishing smaller tasks. Working toward team goals will benefit your employees sense of ownership and responsibility — positively impacting your company from the inside out.
4. Learn to delegate. Place your trust in your employees. If you’re a micromanaging perfectionist, you can kiss your team-focused culture and project ownership goodbye. Set your teams on the right path by delivering the big picture message and the measurable outcomes — the rest is up to them. Your delegation efforts will allow them to work creatively to get things accomplished, and they may even surprise you in the process.
5. Let them figure it out. If you swoop in every time there’s a problem, how can your employees ever solve things on their own? Giving orders to your employees may seem easy, but it leaves them out of the decision-making process. Stop telling your employees what to do and start asking them how they would do it themselves! You will immediately increase team autonomy, responsibility, motivation, and create a powerful change in the way your employees make decisions.
6. Recognize their efforts. Praise is the key ingredient for boosting motivation and engagement. Want a more inspired team of employees? Tell them what they’re doing right and encourage them to continue onward. Too many employees think of their manager or CEO as the most critical member of the company. Remove this stereotype and be the person to give the necessary pat on the back. This also makes the occasional call for improvement easier to swallow.
7. Remove hierarchy. Your teams don’t need a manager, I promise. “All for one, one for all” should be your employees’ new motto. By removing the project manager or supervisor, your staff will feel empowered to work together as a team and the structure will form naturally. Your employees will want to go the extra mile for the good of the entire team and the accomplishment of a goal. Why? Because there’s nothing worse than letting down your entire team.
If you let the power of your business lie in the hands of one or two people, you’ll be certain to fail in their absence. Build a team-focused business to keep you afloat under any circumstance.