How to Foster an Environment of Excellence on Your Team
Your success as a leader is defined by the performance of your team. How can you continuously foster improvement and excellence as that team meets and exceeds its goals?
Trust between team members and their leader is not a given. Once you earn it, however, your ideas will be readily implemented into the strategy and structure of your organization.
- Cultivate meaningful relationships with team members. Provide a safe environment for them to grow and develop. This will lead to enhanced individual and team performance, as it enables people to use their skills confidently and enthusiastically.
Be a coach.
It is your job to help team members reach the pinnacle of their success.
- Lead by example and guide by enlightenment. The best team leaders help and encourage people to bring their ideas to the forefront. Some individuals are more independent and require minimal guidance. Others may be more reluctant to speak up and share their thoughts. Find the balance. Everyone should have a voice and an opportunity to express themselves.
Excellence is based on maintaining healthy relationships and letting others know that they are valued.
- Get to know your team members as unique individuals. Acknowledge their lives outside of work. By asking questions like, “How did your son do in that big swim meet?” you not only draw people into a strong relationship, you also set an example of the positive behavior they should use with customers and each other.
Teamwork is a two-way street. People must feel free to share their progress, setbacks, thoughts and concerns. They should feel comfortable providing feedback and receiving affirmation that as their leader, you are on their side.
- Establish and maintain dialogue. Facilitate discussion while building a learning environment. Talk about goals being met, and ask if anyone needs help getting there. Manage the process while being responsive and convincing. Allow everyone to participate in an open exchange of ideas and challenges, successes and setbacks. Reprioritize resources as needed to achieve desired results.
If you give team members what they need to excel, you will succeed in motivating them to exceed their objectives. Each person should feel confident and ready to get their work done, day after day and year after year.
- Achieve commitment. Summarize relevant ideas and reach true buy-in, so team members effectively utilize their talents and meet identified goals.
- Create an atmosphere of acceptance. Keep in mind that relationships take time to build – not to mention the establishment of genuine trust. Start slowly and finish strong.
- Be a role model. When people see you demonstrating positive, productive behavior, they will adopt it themselves.
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