Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” But what happens when your team lacks communication and is going in different directions?
On the latest installment of the Thought Leaders Digital Roundtable Series, Chez Misko, the COO of the Wisconsin Athletic Club, Ada McKenzie, the owner of Cedardale Health & Fitness, John LaRosa, the COO of PNW Club Ventures Holdings, and Karen Raisch-Siegel, the executive director of LifeWorks of Southwest General, sat down to discuss how to manage and develop a great team.
For Raisch-Siegal, it starts with trust.
“Trust is the No. 1 thing,” said Raisch-Siegal. “That the team trusts me, they trust each other, and they feel trusted. They need to feel they’re in a safe environment where if they make a mistake or if they need assistance or help, they are able to rely on each other. We’re all in it together.”
As a leader Raisch-Siegal said it is your job to manage when you should step in, step aside and “step the heck out of there.” Allowing your teams space to do their work, problem solve and prove themselves is important in building a great culture and camaraderie.
Trusting your employees to perform allows them to feel like a valued team member — another paramount factor to creating a culture people want to be a part of.
“We all have cultures, but it has to be a culture where the people matter and it’s not just about the numbers, it’s not just about productivity, it’s really about the person,” said Misko. “And for us personally, our mission and our philosophy are to make a difference in people’s lives. We want to make a difference in our team members’ lives so they can make a difference in our members’ lives, which makes a difference in our business. You can’t just have them on your walls as a mission statement or core values, you have to make sure the things you do make your staff feel that.”
Another way you can make a difference in your employees’ lives, and in return a difference in your business, is to provide development and education opportunities.
“Not matter what level they come in at — whether a rookie or veteran — there’s always some level of development you can start off with, and a lot of that is self-development as well, not just job competencies,” said LaRosa. “We’ve taken the approach of we’re more in the role of developing people other than just employees. Employee development will come as we develop them as people.”
In addition to developing your team, it’s also your responsibility as a leader to notice issues before they arise. McKenzie noted these are some warning signs things aren’t working well with your team you should watch out for:
- More I’s than we’s.
- Team becomes stuck often.
- Lack of communication.
- Not enjoying working together.
- Solving things together and the cohesiveness as a group breaks down.
Overall, the panelists agreed the key to managing great teams is having great communication. Being concise, clear, congruent and checking for understanding can take you far.
“Communication is hard,” said Misko. “If anyone thinks they’re good at communicating, they’re probably not. It’s one of the biggest challenges of any business. In your day-to-day life most of your problems come from poor communication — with your spouse, your kid, your friends, whoever, communicating is hard. Always be clear about the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ so [team members] feel empowered, they understand it, they get the concept and then they can do it.”
Learn more by watching the full roundtable below.