If trying to please your team is not the right strategy to leadership, what is? It is not about keeping your team happy; it is about making them feel valuable, respected, engaged and energized.
How do you build a high-performing team of resilient people who don’t need to be continuously pleased by the world around them?
By following a few simple practices:
You need to be able to clearly state where is the organization heading and outline steps how you expect that it gets there. The best way of showing direction is not just by talking, but by leading the way. Leading by example is a must if you expect others to follow.
Not only do you need to explain direction, but also you also need to be reminding people “why.” By understanding “why,” people can make sound decisions, and if they run into obstacles, they can overcome them the right way that gets the organization closer to fulfilling the vision.
Keep the focus
Too often leaders instead of focusing their team on the top goals, create more and more distractions just for the sake of doing something. Yes, you could do these twenty things, but your job as a leader is to distill it down to just a couple with the highest impact, and then guard it with your life.
Saying and owning the “no” is one of the most important things you as a leader can do since it builds your credibility, it grows your influence, and it helps your team to be focused on the right things.
You don’t need to give people equity in the company to create a sense of ownership. Chances are that won’t work anyway since the stake in the company will be negligible for each individual. What you can give them is psychological ownership. You can increase psychological ownership by invest time and effort in training your team. You can also develop psychological ownership by providing guidance and suggestions without enforcing your way of doing things.
Treat them like adults
We spend lots of effort hiring the best and the brightest and then micromanage them in every single thing they do or try to shield them from unpleasant truths. Treating people with respect is one of the critical skills you need to have as a leader.
As a leader have a moral responsibility to make sure your team knows where they stand. Every single individual on your team should understand when he is doing well, when not, and what they need to work on to get better and grow.
Help them grow
The one thing you can do is to identify what skills your team needs to develop to be better at their current and more importantly at their next job. By providing feedback, stretch goals, and building up their confidence and interest in learning you are not only helping them to do a better job, but you are helping them to be better human beings as a side effect.
Nothing worthwhile doing is easy. This might be a cliché, but it still rings true. If you want your team to feel great, they need to work on something hard. Setting the bar high, giving the team challenges that stretch their skills and abilities, and expecting hard work will ultimately lead to a massive feeling of accomplishment and pride once the work is done.
Make them proud
Celebrating successes is a great way to show to the team that their work has a meaning. I don’t necessarily mean giving a big party. It is much more important to stop regularly, look back at what was accomplished, what the results of the hardship are, and make it clear that it is the team that made it happen.
Simple right? Simple, but not easy. It is much easier to please than to lead. A good leader builds a culture where happiness is a by-product of doing great work. You don’t need fancy office space; you don’t need free meals, cars, or other perks. The only thing you need so to make your team feel valued, respected and proud of their accomplishments.