No one ever becomes successful alone. Successful people know the only way to accomplish more is to enlist the support of other people. So, they form a team or hire employees to help them reach their goals. But not every business owner achieves their goals. Not every business owner attracts the right people. And not every business owner motivates their team to do their best work. Think about it this way. If you are in a position of leadership, you must have people willing to carry out your instructions. Because you must produce results. If not, you will be removed from your position. You depend on the support of your team to remain a leader, and to advance to a position of higher authority. How do you get people to support you? By taking care of your people. Treat people right, and they will treat you right.
When you are confronted with the complexities of life, it is important to seek out the advice of experts. And the more successful you become, the more you will need to rely on these experts to make your most important decisions. Some of these experts may become team members for your organization, giving your company valuable skills beyond what you are able to provide. Others will remain outside of your organization, giving you valuable personal advice for navigating the many issues that come from living a successful life. Whether you need an estate plan, year-end tax planning, or a personal financial plan, it is important to build your personal team of experts to help you make the best decisions for your life. No one can be an expert in all fields. So, do not try to be one. Surround yourself with great people, and great things will occur.
You must develop an environment of open communication with your team. The size of your team does not matter. If your team consists of more than one person, then you must have effective communication to be an effective team. Nothing destroys communication quite like having a jerk on your team. Really, the only thing worse than having a jerk for a team member is having a jerk for a team leader. Either way, an argumentative, quarrelsome individual will naturally shut down communication from most of your other team members. In this environment, company issues will not be fully discussed, if they are brought up at all. Always be mindful of the chemistry of your team. If someone is a jerk, you must deal with it. If you are the jerk, you must change. Because no matter how brilliant the jerk is, eventually they will have to mellow or leave.
It takes the entire time you know someone to build trust, and only a second to destroy it. As a leader, your team will trust you only as long as they believe that you are a person of integrity. That you will do the right thing no matter the situation. That is how you build trust with your team. In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz recalls a restructuring he initiated so his core company could survive. The bottom line: 150 employees would become employees of another company. And 140 employees would be looking for a job. Instead of going to New York for the announcement, a mentor advised him to go tell his employees where they stood. It could not wait a day. By showing integrity with these employees, he maintained his trust with the employees who would stay. How have you shown integrity with your team?
Climbing the corporate ladder. Many new to the workforce envision this. And why not? Shouldn’t everyone show interest in their career development? Yes. But focusing entirely on your career will not ensure your success. Yes, you will get promotions and raises. But at some point, you will reach a situation where you are expected to lead others. If you do not understand how to lead, you will have reached your career limit. John Maxwell defines leadership as influence. It is hard to influence others if you do not build relationships with others. And it is next to impossible to build relationships with others if your primary concern is your own personal advancement. Whatever your position, focus on those around you. Show others that you want to work with them. That you want to help them. That you show interest in their development. Build relationships and grow your influence.
Without effective and intentional communication, your team is nothing more than a group of employees. Communication is what binds the team together. It keeps the team heading in the same direction, marching to the beat of the same drum. You will never achieve your dreams and vision unless you communicate your dream and vision to the members of your team. Too many times, team leaders are unwilling to actively communicate with their team. Poor communication results in rumors, frustration, fear, anger, and distrust. Your team will not stay under these conditions. Your team will not go the extra mile for you under these conditions. Your team will only do the bare minimum to remain employed. Instead, overcommunicate. Show your team that you trust them. That you are willing to treat them as a team member instead of an employee. And watch your team strive to achieve your vision.
Everyone faces hardships in life. One of your team members may be dealing with a child suffering from cancer. They may be struggling to take care of a parent with dementia. They may be going through a divorce. Whatever it is, it will surely affect their work. When a member of your team is suffering, ask yourself how you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Ask the rest of your team how they would want to be treated. Because at the end of the day, you are still a team. And teams stick together. So, the parent with a sick child may need time off. Can others help cover the workload? Will you pay them after they have used up their vacation time? Decide what you can tolerate and be upfront with them. You will not regret going above your obligation as the team leader.
Like it or not, the people you hire will be the face of your company. As such, they will have a tremendous effect on your overall success story. Their interactions with your customers will determine whether you succeed or fail. Because unhappy employees will make unhappy customers. And unhappy customers will go somewhere else. As a business owner, you need to attract the right people to work for your organization. And the right people want to work for someone who takes an interest in their employees and provides a positive work environment. Sam Walton identified taking care of his employees as the “most important single ingredient of Wal-Mart’s success.” It is that important. So, if you have unhappy customers, look to your employees. Are you taking care of them, or are you neglecting your most valuable asset?
If you have employees that need an incentive plan to work, then you probably have the wrong employees. The best organizations understand this basic concept. In Good to Great, Collins conceptualizes this concept as getting the right people on the bus in the right seats and getting the wrong people off the bus. The importance of this process is greater than the direction of the bus. The right people will help decide the direction that your organization needs to go. And they will do this naturally. The right people will take your bus to awesome places. But the wrong people will not, regardless of the incentive system. The compensation of your organization should serve to attract and retain the right people for your organization. Once the right people are hired, incentive is unnecessary. The right people will do their best, simply because they are not capable of doing anything less.
We are all born with individual talents. But we do not all use our talents to the best of our ability. Maybe we are unaware of what our true talents are. Maybe we lack the desire to use and develop our talents. Or maybe we have mentally buried our talents in the ground. When this happens, it is very difficult to raise up our talents again. We need encouragement. We need someone who loves us to help us see our natural abilities and encourage us to share our abilities with others. We need someone to help us shine. This is what we do for those that we love. We see the best in them, even when they are unable to see the best in themselves. We encourage them to discover their talents. We provide opportunities for them to share their talents with others. We want them to shine.
In The Energy Bus, Gordon discusses how powerful your heart really is. According to his book, your heart’s electromagnetic field is much more powerful than your brain’s. In fact, your heart’s electromagnetic field can be detected up to 10 feet away. So, positive energy truly radiates from within. It is how others can tell if you are being real or fake. They can feel it. So how do you open your heart? By being true to yourself and to others. In our journey, we all reach obstacles. These obstacles present an opportunity to grow or to stop growing. By choosing to overcome the obstacles in our path, our hearts grow. We become truer to ourselves. And we grow to become the people we were created to be. We have confidence. We have a natural energy. And through our example, we inspire others to become better.
The people you surround yourself with have a significant impact on your long-term success. If you surround yourself with negative people, you will become negative. And a negative attitude guarantees a life of disappointment. Instead, surround yourself with positive people. Chances are, you already have some people in your life who radiate positive emotions. People that you enjoy being around. People who lift up your spirits. People who are genuinely concerned for your well-being. These are the people that you need on your team. Wherever you need support, whether at home, at work, or at church, build a team of positive people. Support one another, listen to one another, encourage one another. And most importantly, acknowledge your teammates when you have a big win in your life. Because no one succeeds alone.