Leading a team through change and growth requires a deft hand, especially when you have to bring together remote teams from around the planet to foster some kind of cohesion.
Based on our work around the globe, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite recommendations for making your team shine. Some may seem obvious at first, but they’re worth reviewing continually as the team and company trajectory changes.
Know Your People
Understanding your team is critical to catalyzing their success. It starts at the individual level, so if you know why Emma, your Head of Product, shows up to work each day, you have an inroad to keeping her motivated. Find out what fuels her, and ask in what key area (max 2) she would like to be developed over the course of the next year. Then craft a plan with her to create those learning opportunities, and milestones along the way, because it will add a deeply personal reward for her efforts.
Encourage Empowering Dialogue
In a group setting, we advise you to encourage open dialogue among your team, ensuring they avoid assumptions, labels, and stereotypes. Encourage them to approach problems constructively, bringing solutions to the conversation instead of complaints, and solve problems as a team. They should only come to you when they’re stuck and can’t move further, to avoid everyone coming to you for everything.
Deliver Clear Communication
Most people assume they are communicating clearly. Most people are wrong. Communication is hard to do well, and it requires a ruthless commitment to clarity. Whenever something is not delivered correctly, it’s important to look at where you have not communicated exactly what you want, how you want it, when you want it, and what success looks like. Don’t be afraid to say to your team, “I want to ensure I’m communicating clearly, so I’ll ask you to repeat back to me what I’ve just asked for.” Then you’ll get a sense of how well you’re doing, and how well your team is listening. Chances are, both can use improvement.
Acknowledge Accomplishments & Wins of All Sizes
During the grind of startup and scale, it’s critical to pause and acknowledge the wins along the way. It’s easy to pass right by these and keep on marching toward the goal, but those pauses replenish us and help us find joy in the seemingly endless night of entrepreneurship. Find things to praise, from great communication, to great teamwork, to a can-do spirit.
When everyone feels like they’re accountable for the success of the company, it changes how they show up, how they work, and what it means to them. Where this often gets sticky is when it feels like “fault” — when no one wants to take responsibility because they don’t want to get in trouble. Note: If this is in play on your team, you need to take a look at the example you’re setting. If you’re being a megalomaniac, this might be a good time to stop that. If people are constantly terrified of being in trouble, they won’t be at their best — because they’re working under duress. Accountability is about taking ownership no matter what, not making it personal, and seeing to a solution. It’s a place of freedom.
We recommend using these suggestions as a powerful framework for your team’s development, because it will enable them to understand, over time (and with consistency from you), how important their success is to you. That can make the critical difference when you need them to pull a rabbit out of a hat for your company to succeed.
Global Round-Up is our Friday collection of interesting tidbits and tools from around the globe, curated to support women founders as they scale their ideas.