FIVE TIPS TO BUILDING – OR REBUILDING – YOUR TEAM
By Elizabeth Lions
The Recession is over. In 2015, it has officially become a candidate driven market.
Data from global search organization MRINetwork confirms recruiters see 2015 as a job seeker-driven market that shot up from 56 percent in 2012 to 90 percent today. Leaders are still asleep at the wheel, unfortunately, and posting ads that draw few candidates. The reaction time for pulling the trigger and hiring is slow, according to MRI. Sixty-three percent of offers are now being made within four weeks of the interview, which is up 59 percent since the end of 2014.
The reality is, for those in a leadership position who lose talent, it may be time to build or worse – rebuild the team.
Here are five sure fire steps to building (or rebuilding) a team.
1) Assess Quickly
Assessing a team within the first 90 days of taking a leadership position is critical. Look cautiously at workload as well as individual strengths, then at the team itself. Determine what training should be in place in order to bring them to the next level. Watch. Listen. Conclude. While each team member should be able to perform their job, each member may also have an added value. Figure out what their talent is, outside of their skill set. Ensure that it’s pointed out publicly to the employee, so they see they are valued as a person and not just a means to an end. Work should be much more than just meeting deliverables. Smart leaders pay attention to behaviors of the team members; specifically not what a team member said, but what they did. An employee’s actions are far more important than their words because everyone knows they want to initially impress the boss.
2) Fire Quickly
When an employee is not salvageable and is consistently resisting direction, it’s time to cut them loose. However, no one should be fired and surprised. By law, a leader should explain what needs to be done, document when the action isn’t taken and watch behavior. Chances should be given to allow the employee to turn it around and emotions should never color the decision to terminate an employee. No one says a leader has to like their employees – they are not being invited to Thanksgiving dinner. It is reasonable to ask for performance and results. If they aren’t cutting it, let them go – it’s likely a favor for the terminated employee.
3) Train. Train. Train.
Train new employees on everything from policies and procedures, to how leadership will respond and react. Figure out the tone and set it quickly. Give the team time to adapt to the new leadership style. After training, expect results in performance and look for an uptick. Training can also engage employees at a deeper level, even if the training is just a refresher. It compliments quality and says sloppy work isn’t acceptable. If no improvement is made after training, figure out why. A smooth running team allows leaders to go on vacation. Build independence through training and setting clear expectations.
4) Blame Game
Good leaders never blame the team when they don’t hit the mark, but instead take on the full responsibility. Leadership is about being accountable for every team member’s actions or inaction. It’s not a title with the ability to create scapegoats and excuses. A leader’s performance is measured by the team’s results. In a football game, the coach knows that one fumble hurts everyone, not just the guy that fumbled during the game. Praise them for what they did well and don’t completely berate them when they fumble.
5) Identify Top Talent To Promote
Few leaders consider succession planning. Oddly, many companies talk about career growth. The real question is: when was the last time the company promoted someone internally, rather than placing an ad and hiring from outside the company? Identify the top team player(s) and ask if they have interest in career growth. Consider how they could be groomed to the next level up and politically align them to be considered for the position. Great companies understand the cost, time and talent that goes into running a company. Provide a path for those key players.
Elizabeth Lions is an author, speaker and consultant. Her private practice is in Dallas, and she specializes in career transition and leadership development. Elizabeth is the author of two books, with a third on the way on the topic of women’s leadership. For more about her work please visit www.elizabethlions.com