Learn how to motivate, engage, and inspire teams through broad-based support.
- An entrepreneur might have a brilliant product idea, but that's not enough. Success will be determined by the quality of the development team, competitive offerings, marketing that really connects with the customer, and a scalable business model. The conditions have to be right for success to take root. The same concept applies to leading a successful team. We might be working with a group of incredibly talented individuals, but we have to provide the right catalyst and cultivate the right conditions if we want them to genuinely grow and thrive as a team.
Our reward if we do it right? Stronger collaboration, better performance, and optimal results. Managers don't always understand that, but leaders do. Let's take a look at six ways you can cultivate conditions for team success. First, communicate openly with your team members, individually and as a group, and remain consistent with your words, tone, and body language. Make sure you're sending the same message verbally and non-verbally, one that aligns with your core values.
Stay fully present in your conversations to demonstrate your dedication to listening and understanding. While leaders should certainly be authentic, they should also have a steady demeanor that provides stability despite the situation. We all have bad days, the difference is leaders know how to make professionalism their default. Be honest and transparent as you interact with your team. Explain why decisions were made or strategies were changed.
By sharing more context, you'll develop trust and respect, and people are more likely to feel committed to support your goals if they understand why you want them to do something, not just what. Second, encourage and inspire your team members in a way that moves them forward to focused, productive action. That can sometimes be a challenge, particularly if you happen to be more of an introvert. I'm not suggesting you should suddenly become loud or over animated, be who you are, but learn how to step out of your comfort zone a bit, just enough to add your own brand of energy and enthusiasm, one that will give your team the momentum they need.
Third, work to understand what motivates each individual team member. Some people need direct praise, others, quiet reinforcement, or the confirmation of getting more responsibility. Each one has a different reward language, become fluent in those, then show your appreciation in ways that make each team member feel truly valued. Keep in mind that almost everyone sees flexibility as a motivator. The option to work from home, reduce hours, avoid the traffic with flex time, your team members will work harder than ever for you when you can focus on what they achieve, rather than the time it took to make it happen.
Fourth, encourage risk-taking, let go. Give your team the freedom to pursue new strategies and solutions, even if some of those might fail. When you provide room for creative thinking, and even failure, your team is more likely to discover unique solutions. This isn't always easy, and there may be times when you need to intervene because the risks are just too high, but an environment that allows for failure is a fertile ground for development.
Fifth, proactively seek out divergent thinking to infuse fresh perspectives for your team. Hire and support people who don't always share your team's opinions or skill sets. Let them challenge your team's approach to stretch their thinking and test their rationale. Getting views from a completely different angle might be just the spark your team needs to innovate on a bigger, broader scale. Finally, set the example for your team, lead with passion and model the behaviors you want them to emulate.
Be prepared, follow through on your commitments. Work to be comfortable speaking in front of them, landing on a tone that balances authority with humility. And when the team faces adversity, be the one who can gently remind them that their work makes a big difference, that you appreciate their contributions, value their skills, and have confidence in their efforts. By cultivating the conditions that allow teams to grow and thrive, you'll be positioning yourself as a respected leader who knows exactly how to harvest success at a higher level.
- Looking and sounding like a leader
- Increasing your emotional intelligence
- Becoming a thought leader
- Expanding your strategic scope
- Viewing challenges with a fresh lens
- Improving your decision-making skills
- Cultivating conditions for team success
- Building meaningful connections