Whether you get to “build” your team or if your team is given to you, every leader has to build his/her team. In fact, leaders who have the privilege of choosing their team, but who neglect to build their team, will be less successful than the leader who inherits a team that he or she faithfully builds.
So, how should you build your team?
- Expose your team to extraordinary leaders.
Whether that’s through books, TED Talks, blogs, or personal appearances, it can inspire your team when they have the chance to interact with accomplished leaders. They may or may not be leaders in the same industry in which your team operates, but your team can translate the principles into their own areas. It builds creativity, and one of the side benefits of seeking out leaders for your team to learn from is that it keeps you, as a leader, learning too. Remember: learners are leaders, and leaders are learners!
- Give your team the opportunity to do the hard things.
You may not find things to be difficult, but remember that there was a time when you didn’t know how to operate as easily as you do now. Someone probably gave you a chance. Maybe it’s time you gave someone else that same chance. No matter how many advances we make in technology, there will always be a place in good organizations for a leader who can develop other people’s talents.
- Share your experiences and perspective.
Don’t be arrogant, but if you have reached a position of leadership in your city or organization, it’s likely that you’ve had some experiences, and you’ve learned some things that would be helpful to share with your team. Don’t be afraid to share what you know. Some leaders think that keeping information to themselves is like an ace in the hole. On the other hand, having a well-informed team of leaders is like holding four aces. Which would you rather have?
- Develop the team’s camaraderie.
That may sound like something that’s too “touchy-feely” to be worth your time, but you might be surprised at what a difference team camaraderie makes. Research indicates that if you want employees to be fully engaged, there are three relationships that must be healthy and positive. Leave one of them out, and engagement drops dramatically. The first is that they must have a relationship of mutual respect with their supervisor. Second, they must have a sense of pride in the work that they do. Third, they must have a sense of camaraderie with their fellow employees. If you want fully engaged employees, it’s foolish to look at building camaraderie as being beneath you.