EditorialsLeadership

You succeed when your team succeeds

You can think of success as an equation: The success of individual team members adds up to the sum total productivity in your work group. Simply, when they are successful, you are successful. That means it’s always in your best interest to help your people do the best possible job for the greater good. Here are a few pathways to success:

Support skill building
Self-improvement is human nature. Most of us are driven to consistently build and refine our skills. But as leaders in an organization it’s our responsibility to make sure people have the skills to do the job. That means constantly evaluating the best internal or third-party training processes and ensuring that coaching or mentoring happens at every turn.

Once basic operational skills are in place, forward-looking leaders will turn to skill building — developing talent who can move to higher levels of responsibility. In the long run, leaders earn respect and loyalty for their relentless efforts to build skills of the whole team.

Procure the right resources
It is hard to produce a finished product when parts are missing, the computer is down or instructions are unclear. I experienced this kind of frustration early in my career while managing busy checkout lines at a grocery store.

Our biggest service slowdowns — and frustrated customers — came when one of three things went missing: paper bags, receipt tape or change. You can guess what topics quickly made it to the top of my daily checklist.

As a leader, it’s your job to make sure your team can do their job. Achieving planned results will only work if everyone has easy access to the right tools, supplies and resources for the production process to move smoothly.

Coach for success
Stay close to your team. Good leaders will spend a disproportionate amount of time coaching but also listening their people. Be available when your people want to talk and make them comfortable speaking to the boss. The hardest part? Really listening, which can be difficult for hard-charging leaders.

You will learn more from your team than anywhere else. I’m a believer that “those closest to the work know the most about it.” Being in the daily mix will help you better understand the work, personalities and even special talents that can benefit your organization.

This is also an excellent time to gather process-improvement ideas. When you can hear — and see — suggestions in the field you may be able to respond more proactively, constructively and graciously, whether the idea is adopted or not. Listening early can often identify problems when they are minor, allowing for quicker, less costly course correction.

One of the most powerful organizational cultures is “servant leadership,” or providing the support that every individual needs to be successful. Leaders are always under pressure to complete tasks, but the most successful leaders can balance deliverables with duty — developing the talent of everyone on their team.

published: Nashville Business Journal

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