5 Leadership Strategies to Improve Team Performance and Grow Your Small Business

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

5 Leadership Strategies to Improve Team Performance and Grow Your Small Business

It’s time to make some improvements and change the status quo. Improving team performance will take dedication, determination, and leadership from both you and your team. Here are a few tips to continuously implement to achieve a more productive team performance and hit your overall company goals.

Define and communicate vision — speak from the heart

High performing small business leaders stay on message all the time. They reaffirm why their work matters, the positive impact they are making in their customer’s lives and continuously relay the company’s vision and how everyone’s role is crucial in getting there. Employees will show a higher degree of commitment if they feel like their work is instrumental in achieving the company’s vision and mission.

If everyone shows up at work just to work, it’s easy for them to get lost in the daily operations and forget why they joined the company in the first place. When you lead with your vision and make the mission tangible, your employees will unite and work hard to achieve the common goal. Make them feel like they are working towards something big and exciting.

Encourage balance — be human, not humanoid

The simple truth is that there will always be more things to check off the task list, more people to call, more meetings to hold and more issues to address. However, burning out your employees by setting unrealistic goals and deadlines and not giving them enough time to recharge their batteries is counterproductive and creates an environment of resentment. If their loved ones complain that they work too much and at work they hear that they need to get things done, work harder and achieve greater results, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Negativity will slowly creep in and affect your employees’ focus and productivity. They will start feeling like they are failing everyone around them, including themselves.

Your office policies should be fair, encourage loyalty and reward employees for their contribution and hard work. By giving everyone time to be with their loved ones, assigning mandatory scheduled time for self-care or giving a few extra days off after a challenging project to rest and recharge, you are telling them that their wellbeing matters and that you care about them as fellow humans.

Delegate and empower — avoid micromanaging and drop the labels

As a small business owner, you usually have a limited number of employees, and you end up wearing many managerial hats. Have some of your employees ever said that they couldn’t finish a task because they were waiting on your approval? Do you always feel the need to review and approve your employee’s work? Do they hesitate to make moves because historically, you end up changing a lot of their work, making them doubt their abilities?

It’s worth mentioning here that what you know or the way you do things might not always be the only way or even the best way to get to the desired result. By continually stepping in, you are fostering a culture of self-doubt and inaction. Instead, try to educate, be open to new ideas, motivate and inspire them to take ownership, step out and praise them for taking action on their own. Before long, your employees will be empowered, and instead of taking a backseat always awaiting direction and approvals, they will start driving the business forward alongside you. Consider specific areas of your business where you should completely step out and let others step in. Give your employees the power and self-confidence to act on their own.

Commit to continued education — provide and invest in constant training

In many cases, employees regard their leaders as role models and expect to learn from them through insights, shared knowledge and expertise. If you don’t take the time to transfer your accumulated knowledge and support your employee’s learning journey, they might end up feeling like they are not important enough to merit the extra effort or attention. It is crucial that you make time to train your employees properly, encourage and support self-development, and acknowledge the extra effort they are making to grow. In the end, it is all in the name of becoming a better support system for you and their colleagues.

Don’t be shy to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers and encourage cross-learning at all levels and among all departments. Everybody has something to contribute, and when everyone is open to learning from each other regardless of their standing in the company, a greater sense of purpose and collaboration will develop team-wide. Always encourage your employees to take extra classes, develop additional skills and bring their learnings back into the company.

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