Why have teams?
For years, many industries, operated as a dictatorship. Their words were law and you either did what you were told, or you looked for other employment. Management ignored the fact that successful competitors were taking a different approach. To try and ‘catch the wave’, some bought the books, provided the ‘uniforms’, and declared, “We are a team”. Unfortunately, they did little else to ensure that the process worked and, as a result, in their eyes, the experiment failed.
Teams are not arbitrary employees chosen to suddenly work together and produce results. To have a successful team you must understand the dynamics of the members and be prepared to empower them. This means, as a manager, relinquishing control of some aspects of the business.
Why would you do this?
To begin with the only people who truly know a job are the people who are doing it. Have they ever been asked for their input on how to would do it differently to improve the product or service? If they have, was there a process in place to follow through with the suggestions and show the employees that their input was taken seriously.
The first error!
The assumption in business that the employees only want to put in their eight hours and collect their paycheque. This is a fallacy. For every employee who thinks this way there are twenty who take pride in the work they do. Think about it, your employees spend almost as much time each week working as they do with their families. Why wouldn’t they care?
The second error!
We expect employees to care about the company and to give it the same respect and dedication that we do as mangers and owners. Yet, in many cases, we don’t tell them what the company’s goals are. How many widgets are we going to produce? What net profits does the business want on the books at the year end? In the way of sales, what needs to come through the door each day for the business to survive?
Many business owners are reluctant to share this information with their employees. Why wouldn’t you? How is the employee going to focus on your target if they don’t know what it is? We must share our goals and expectations. We must enroll everyone in those goals and expectations if we hope to achieve them.
The third error!
Our employees walk the front lines. They have the knowledge to produce a good or bad product or service. If they perceive we don’t care about quality, chances are what they do will be poor quality as usually it is easier to do. If they know how many widgets need to be produced to earn the desired profit margin, the quality required to meet your standards, and are give recognition when they achieve this, they will feel valued and will offer suggestions. Don’t ignore them, they are a valuable resource!
The fourth error!
Many times, managers assume the person is trained or training is provided when the employee starts and that is it. You need to constantly ‘grow’ your employees. You need to nurture them, not just in hard skills but also in people or ‘soft’ skills. Your employees do not work in isolation. They work as part of a team. If the team does not function, you are at a competitive disadvantage.
Allow opportunities for your employees to develop their personal skills. They will take this home and to their other activities throughout the community. If your employees feel good about themselves, they will carry this forward to their job and to their lives.
When in the community, your employees talk about where they work. What are they saying about you?
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