Are you looking ahead at 2019 and know things need to change with your team? Whether you admit it out loud or not, some of your managers know that you have a team that could be doing better. So, what are you going to do about it?
How about starting with an inventory of how you manage or lead your team. Are you modeling the behaviors you want? Are you leading by example? Your behavior is reflected in their behavior, so if you want a team that is happy and engaged at work and wants to deliver...guess what, you need to be the manager who is happy and engaged at work and ready to deliver.
Here are my 8 steps where I recommend you start changing things for your team:
Be engaged and supportive. That means you are neither a micromanager nor a hands-off manager. Dig in and get your hands dirty when needed. That means if there are gaps in experience or when someone needs your help, you get in and help them. Don't give directives and shoo them on their way. Model the behavior.
Empower the team. Delegate responsibility and allow them to make decisions or be a part of the decision process. When a team feels empowered, they will look for solutions when problems start to arise instead of sitting on their hands and waiting for you to tell them what to do. Start letting go of the reins where it makes sense and let them get on with it.
Create an environment of trust. This is where people feel safe to have robust conversations with differing opinions. The environment you build protects that open conversation by ensuring everyone is respectful and is driving to the best outcome for all.
Provide ongoing feedback. Check-in often and ask questions. Have regular one on one's where you provide guidance, encouragement, and corrective direction. This way you head off situations before they become problems or you create excitement because they are crushing it.
View mistakes as lessons. Teams will stretch their creativity and challenge themselves when they know that mistakes will be treated as learning lessons or learning opportunities. A team that is not afraid to make mistakes is an empowered team.
Show appreciation. Teams will overachieve when they feel appreciated. Thank them, show appreciation, and most definitely recognize them publicly.
Have difficult conversations. Show the team you value them and the environment you are creating by handling problems and issues immediately and effectively. Letting bad behavior continue because you don't want to deal with it, sends a message that you don't care about the others well being.
Keep commitments. Walk the talk, if you make a promise you keep it. If there is a real reason why you can't keep the commitment (something out of your control) then let everyone know. Don't hope that no one will notice. Delivering on your commitments builds trust and shows the team they should be doing the same.
If you can make these behaviors part of your everyday practice, then things start to fall into place and there is a lot more self-management happening from your team. Remember, your behavior affects their behavior and ultimately, your success or failure as a manager.
Make creating an empowered and engaged team your purpose for 2019. A team that is excited to get to work every day and do much more than just tick the boxes.