Using one of our beloved football analogies is a good framework for this article (and our podcast). You can hand select the very best people but unless they’re in the right place at the right time, with a clear instruction on what is expected, you won’t get what you need from them.
Your team is everyone around you. You might have employees and you most certainly have some level of professional support – an accountant, coach or financial adviser for example. You probably have suppliers and maybe subcontractors. All of these people are your team and, individually, need to be very clear on their own role and what contribution to your business is expected.
Putting your best players in the right positions is what is comes down to. Making sure they operate well as a definitive team, a single entity, is a challenge but is really important. This is where working ON your business and not IN it is important so you can see the detail but also how it all fits together.
As with all teamwork, direction is key. Feedback, both positive and negative, is essential. As Jonathan says – deal with the issue, not the person. Once you have flagged up something that isn’t quite as you’d like, ask the person to take a different approach and manage the issue. Once you correct the person it becomes personal, almost a judgement, and that’s not healthy or helpful.
Ross is keen to point out that by giving your team focused tasks – just those that they are employed for – means they will be less distracted and should do a better quality job. “Being responsible for their own remit can often offer huge relief all round as someone can just concentrate on their area of expertise. It’s surprising how often workloads leak into other people’s projects and get diluted” he says.
Outlining a job description might sound a little 1950s but to have a summary of your team players’ roles in written form, no more than a single page, is really helpful in clarifying expectations. It’s also good to refer back to when things evolve or start to get a bit cloudy. Stay flexible with it – if it’s time to update it, that’s fine too.
Having people who do a really impressive job is good for your business – and for them. They are put in the right place to do exactly what you need and they are easy to reward, praise and recommend. An empowered person grows in confidence, needs less micro-managing and rewards you both.