From the Blog

A leader’s role is to ensure that those in the team operate to the best of their ability and capacity. When all team members do their best, the results do show. I have watched with great amazement how the following tips revolutionize the way teams operate. When you master the art, your team becomes unstoppable, hitting the targets at ease all the time. It is not rocket science that team members are actually individuals who desire to be treated and handled like people who have feelings, desires and personal goals.

A summary of effective ways

1. Believe that they can do it – You can show that you believe in the team member’s capabilities when you regularly affirm them and speak well about what they are doing. Tell them that you believe in them. That is a lot better than acknowledging it to yourself. Some members have a low view of self (low self image or self esteem). They think certain tasks are for a privileged few. All they want is a stamp of approval from a higher authority figure like the departmental head or team leader that say “Peter, you know what, you too can break this machine up and put it back together”. That is enough fuel to get Peter to do the unimaginable. Motivate and inspire your team to greatness.

2. Trust and entrust them with responsibility – There is something that ignites in a person as soon as they are told what part of the process they are taking charge over. I used to have a driver who was extremely passionate. I told him “Jays, you clean the cars, clean the office and make meals for others”. He went off like a bullet. He didn’t not need anyone to remind him. He grabbed the bull by the horns and all employees enjoyed this man’s passion. Simply tell them “In this area, you are in charge.. we all report to you” and please do likewise. Clarify the roles and responsibilities to all members individually and corporately.

3. Know the team members and let them know each other – It is easy to have 10 people working in one space and not know each other personally for years. Occasionally get the team to bond by having outings together, play team building games. Let them bring spouses. You can know each other better in a place of fun away from work when you are not trampling over each other under pressure. Mix people in those team building sessions and task them to know each other at a personal level. Better still as a team leader, take time to know each and every single member of the team. What are their strengths and weaknesses. You are better able to manage people whose character and temperaments you know.

4. Increase the team’s level of exposure – As the team leader one of your roles is to educate and bring enlightenment – since you are the vision carrier, team members expect you to at least know more about the company and subject matter which they are focusing on. Your role as team leader or director is to ensure that you give the team members the education and coaching they need. Ensure that the induction period is loaded with as much information about the company, history, product line, leadership etc. Educate them and see how they just flow. Expose the team beyond their responsibility so that they see a bigger picture not a fraction of the business. Avoid team members sliding into comfort zones where they say “I am only good at this and not that..” When team members are well exposed to a number of things, they can help you in times where multi tasking becomes necessary.

5. Love and care – Anticipate the needs of your people and meet some of them before they arise. That is love. When you meet the team member’s physical, social, financial and psychological needs, you will be guaranteed that they will give back their best voluntarily. When a leader shows that he/she is certainly interested in the team member’s welfare as a person, the individual’s energy levels are maximized. No one wants to work for a selfish company where it is always about the company benefiting from the team member’s efforts and not vice-versa.

6. Challenge the team with targets and goals– If team members do not have an idea what you consider as good performance then anything they do seems OK in their own sight. Bring awareness in terms of what “Excellent, good, average and poor” performance is. They will always endeavor to achieve the best. As team leader, your role is to give feedback on progress and continue to lift the bar whenever targets are achieved. Once a goal is attained, avoid loss of energy by making them aim for a new target. Most team members are adventurous at the core. They just lack the platform with the right amount of adventure sometimes.

7. Recognize and Reward high performers publicly – In your feedback session, endeavor to let the high performers share how they achieved success and rewards them accordingly. Sometimes a reward is not merely dollars and cents but positive acknowledgment of effort. “Well done Thomas, you did well last month on your production”. Rewards teams as well as individuals. This creates a level of silent competition. Put photo and names up on notice board “Our team player of the month is Joe Blogg”.

8. Create a level of independence – Team members get the best out if you show them that they are not always dependent on your availability. They sometimes want to surprise you and when you constantly dip your hands onto the production line, you fail to recognize their independence as you feel “you always have to be there to make things happen”. This does not remove your role of supervising and checking on the quality of work. That remains a necessity. When a leader lowers him/herself to becoming operational all the time, they move away from the core issues of strategy and having a bird’s eye view of the big picture. The main vision suffers in the process.

9. Create a sense of belonging – Know your people’s names, birthdays etc Celebrate them while they are still alive and not wait till they are dead to speak well of them. Create memories in the team member. When people feel that they belong to a team, there is a sense of ownership of the vision of the whole team. They get to imbibe the values and participate fully in goal setting. It is almost like they are working for a family business. It is so easy to feel lonely and yet you are part of a team.

10. Make them feel important – Value their input, make them feel they have a key role to play. The truth is they actually have an important role no matter how seemingly insignificant it maybe. The index finger on your hand has a role to play which cannot be played by those fingers that are overtly useful. In a like manner, the heart cannot say to the lungs that “I am more important than you”. Without those lungs the heart pumps unclean blood and dies in no time. Every member is important. It does not help if

Rabison Shumba is a young African entrepreneur who has interests in Information and Communication Technology, Agriculture and Mining. He is also a motivational speaker, trainer and author. His book, The Greatness Manual and various online articles are tools for personal and professional development. Together with 100 other Career Experts, Rabison co-authored the 101 Great Ways to Enhance your Career. Rabison has a personal vision of impacting the lives of children in marginalized communities by creating platforms for career counsel and guidance, information empowerment and capacity building through the Greatness Factory Trust, where he currently holds the position of Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Acting Executive Director. He is actively involved in the organization of career enhancement and guidance colloquiums to propel and inspire both young and mature professionals to greatness. His areas of expertise include strategy, leadership, personal and professional development. Rabison is married to Jackie, and they have two daughters. They reside in Harare, Zimbabwe. [] or”>