By Tyler Bray, CEO, owner & founder of The Trailer Parts Outlet.
Bringing out the best in your team is more of an art than a science. There is no substitute for the ability to read a room and know what the team, as a collective, needs from you. Sometimes your team is in the zone and just needs to focus. Other times, they’ll need you at the helm, offering clear direction and support. Regardless of what season your organization is in, there are a few ways you can always work to bring out the best in your team.
Empower Your Team To Make Decisions Through Delegation
Sometimes, managers come to me and say, “I delegated but it didn’t work. If you want something done right, do it yourself.” As someone who ran his company from thousands of miles away while studying at college, I have a few points to make when I hear this. First of all, delegation is not an abdication of your own responsibility. You don’t drop a project or initiative on the ground and scream, “delegated!”
Rather, you make a short-term investment in education and mentoring for a long-term hands-off project. Take the person you’re delegating to under your wing, at least at first. Let them know this is temporary. What you’re teaching them is how to make decisions. Walk them through hypothetical “crises” in your business, and check their decision-making against your own. Managers love this! It’s empowering and educational for everybody, and it makes your delegation efforts more successful.
Praise In Public, Criticize In Private
This point relates to morale. As a leader, when you praise or criticize anyone, it has a massive impact on your company culture. When your teammate gets something right, make sure the whole room knows about it! I guarantee everyone is going to mimic that behavior once they see it was noticed and rewarded. It’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to reward good behavior. On the flip side, criticize in private. Employees identify with each other, and it drives everyone’s morale down if you light into one of them in front of the whole team.
Don’t Forget To Have Fun With Your Team
Know their pizza order. Know their favorite spot for a company party. Get the little things right. Happy employees perform better. This should be common sense, but it’s also supported by research. Host happy hours where people have some help unwinding and speaking their mind. These go a long way toward the body of information you can draw from to make better decisions as a leader.
Build A Culture Of Support At Your Company
I’ve often envisioned my company structure as a reverse pyramid, in which I, as the leader, act as a supportive base for each member of my team, and the overall mission sits at the top. Your team will take behavioral cues from you whether you like it or not. So show them how to support each other in their work by doing that for them.
Lead By Example
You can tell people what the company culture is, but they won’t believe you until you live it yourself. If your company culture is positive, you have to be positive. If your company culture is friendly, you have to be friendly. There’s no such thing as “do as I say and not as I do” in leadership. Bring out the best in yourself to bring out the best in your team.