As a business owner, managing your team may be the most impactful and challenging task you face. Particularly as businesses grow, owners find it increasingly difficult to communicate with every client, approve every purchase and dictate every practice. In fact, your primary role becomes communicating your vision to your team and holding them accountable as they implement and enforce that vision in their various roles. Like all the other aspects of your business, success requires creating a system. So what should that system look like?
To manage your team effectively, you need to accomplish three key objectives, in sequence, over and over again.
Definition of Expectations - First, create a clear job description. This can help reinforce your expectations in the job interview and onboarding process. It’s important to discuss not just performance expectations, but also intentions you have for attitude, participation, communication style and initiative. You must demonstrate your willingness to adhere to the same expectations while continuing to define goals with each new project and responsibility. These expectations should be agreed to and documented.
Communication - Establish how you will communicate with your team, both as a group and individually, and create venues for formal and informal communication. Structure formal communication as regularly held meetings with the purpose of discussing new projects and initiatives and getting feedback from everyone impacted. You should also schedule one-on-one meetings with each of your team members on a quarterly or bi-annual basis. This will give them the opportunity to express concerns they may not feel comfortable raising in a group setting. Communication offers a level of validation. It’s important for your team to feel that their role and their opinions are valued. By bringing your employees into the decision-making process, you give them a stake in the outcome and incentivize them to strive for success.
Evaluation and Accountability - The final step is the most crucial and also the most difficult. Without holding people accountable, expectations and communication are meaningless. Many people in management positions shy away from holding their team accountable because it can be uncomfortable, confrontational and emotional. For these reasons, a system is essential. It should not feel personal. It’s about discussing expectations that were agreed upon and reviewing documented examples of meeting or not meeting those expectations.
To effectively evaluate your team and give feedback, you have to be willing to put yourself out there for evaluation and accountability as well. An annual team survey is a great way to accomplish this.
If you feel your systems for team management are not where they should be, reach out to your business adviser. From team structure and delegation to evaluation and team surveys, we’ve worked with business owners to develop the tools that make successful teams. We know business. We know your business. And, we’re here to help.