If you are a business owner or leader of a team, repeat after me: “It’s all my fault.”
Wait, what? Yes, the buck stops with you. You are ultimately responsible for your team’s success.
Let’s assume that you have hired a great team. Bright “go-getters” who want nothing more than to be part of a winning team. To succeed in their chosen career. To make a difference. But…
Maybe it seems all you do is put out fires. Maybe the smiles are gone from your employees’ faces. Maybe they are checking out internet job boards for new challenges. Maybe your customers are looking for greener pastures. These are just some of the signs that you haven’t set your team up for success.
Sure, they receive a fair salary in exchange for their efforts, they have good benefits, and they like the casual dress code and the free snacks in the break room, but you haven’t given them the tools they need for success. So what is missing?
Clear goals and consistent feedback.
They need a clear challenge. What are your goals for the year? If your team can’t immediately tell you what they are trying to accomplish for the year, then your chances of success are almost nil. Tell them! Be specific.
Let your team know if they are winning. Once you’ve spelled out the goals, make sure your team knows the score. They really want to win, and the only way to know if they are is to see the results compared to the goal. So tell them! If they are winning, take time to celebrate the success or milestones along the way. Making your goals should be fun.
Hold people accountable. Few things will frustrate team members than someone else who isn’t pulling their weight. That individual will drag an entire team down. When people make mistakes or simply aren’t doing what is expected of them, it is your job as the leader to hold them accountable. Your team expects nothing less – after all, that’s your job as a leader.
The three factors above can do wonders for a group. Consistently ensuring those three activities are performed is the foundation of leadership and will move your team toward hitting your goals.
But that’s not all. There are a couple of other responsibilities your team expects from you. And they aren’t always easy.
Remove people who aren’t working out. As hard as you might try, not every hire is a home run. Some just don’t work out despite all your efforts. Your team knows it, too. If someone isn’t a good fit for the team, whether is it a mismatch of values and culture, missing skills, or anything else, keeping that individual does not help the team and in fact hurts them. It’s your job to make the tough call for the good of the team.
Be open to feedback. Your team has ideas that need to be heard. They do the work day in and day out and have insight on what’s working and what isn’t. Let them tell you so you can benefit from their experience. At the same time, you both must understand that not all good ideas can be implemented. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, once said that “We say no to good ideas every day. We say no to great ideas in order to keep the amount of things we focus on very small in number, so that we can put enormous energy behind the ones we do choose, so that we can deliver the best products in the world.”
Your team’s success or lack thereof is ultimately your responsibility. They need clear direction, focus, and feedback, and you have to remove the roadblocks. Doing your job by equipping your team makes your team’s job much easier.