How to Take Charge of Your Winning Team
You’re in business, which you started a while ago, and now you’ve made it to the point where you literally don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything you need to get done. Congratulations! What a milestone. And, well, it can also be a headache. You have to hire someone (or someones…) to delegate things to. How can you manage it all? The biggest thing you can do is create a solid communication strategy.
Communication breakdown is the source of most drama between a leader and their team, whether it’s not being clear about the objective, being absent when an answer is needed, or having to field a million questions because the scope of the assignment was unclear. If you want your team to have little to no drama, read on for four ways you can take charge of your winning team for your business.
Clarity is Key
Bluntly, there is no such thing as too clear when you’re communicating what you need or want. The less you leave open to interpretation, the better the result will be.
Do NOT mistake what I am saying as ‘you should micromanage your people.’ Quite the contrary. It’s incredibly frustrating for a team to have a leader breathing down their neck. The way to be completely clear is to know what you want up front, and give the team-member all of the information they need - what you need, how they need to do it (if that matters, or if they have never completed the task before), and the access to resources they need to complete the task.
If you’re following along, a few weeks ago, I wrote about the TRUST Method for Team Communication. I laid out the 5 principles you need to embody to clearly communicate with your team.
Standard Process for Getting Things Done
Even though there is no ‘one universal right way’ to get a certain thing done, there is a way that your business runs. Write it down.
The way YOUR business does things is your standard process. You can go as detailed or as loose here as you want. HOWEVER, remember when I said you can’t get too clear?
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re creating a social media post. There are a couple of pieces you need to put it together. You’ll need an image and some written copy, as well as direction on which social sites/accounts it will be posted on. You could write your process as:
Decide which sites you’re posting to
Write the copy
Select/format your image
This is not the ONLY right way. You can break down this into even more detailed steps if you want to, by providing specific checklists for each step to ensure it’s formatted exactly how your brand requires. Some of the finer details might be format with a specific filter, the size is x pixels x pixels, and watermark it with a specific logo in a %transparency in the lower right corner. So the process may become:
Post to Instagram and Facebook business page
Write a 40 word piece of content with a specific call-to-action
Use this (linked to an image) Image, formatted with a color filter of #e0609d at 10%, format to 1000x1000 pixels, and watermark with this (linked to the image) logo in white at a 60% transparency in the lower right corner, not to exceed 100x100 pixels in size.
Do you see the difference in the clarity around how the task is to happen? Neither of he process examples are wrong, but one is much more specific than the other. Both are written down and can be referred to if there are questions from the person doing the task.
Having really specific processes is one of the best ways to have a high-functioning team. There are less miscommunications and less misinterpretations of what needed to happen.
On that same note, you can look at it this way. If you’re being disorganized, so is your team (unless you’ve hired someone to manage your team for you). If you’re not clear on what you need done, your team can’t make things happen.
If you need some help writing down what needs to be done, I have a free process template that you can download here:
Assign due dates for accountability
Almost nothing gets done in a business without establishing a timeline for having it complete. Why? Because that’s how people are. Generally speaking, whatever is due first is what gets done (not always, sometimes whatever is the most fun gets done first…). When you are working with your team on what needs to be done (do you have regular check-ins with them?), establish due dates. This gives people a way to prioritize what they’re working on.
Another note here, make sure you’re not using arbitrary dates. I’ve been part of teams where the leadership just puts arbitrary dates onto tasks. What happens? Over time, the members of the team realize that the dates don’t actually mean anything. Then, when suddenly a date does mean it needs to be done, the team doesn’t understand that, and the task/project is late or ends up causing frantic action to get it done.
When you’re assigning dates to tasks and projects, make sure you’re planning ahead. Nothing is more frustrating for a team than when things that have to be done urgently drop in at the last second. Especially when this is a regular occurrence. Give the team time to complete the task without causing them to feel guilty if they have to step away for an hour.
Use a software to track everything
When you’re managing a team and all of the daily operations of your business, even if you do have a manager for your team, you’ll want to keep everything in one place. Specifically, if you have people who are in remote positions, you’ll want to have a way to easily communicate with them. Enter Project Management software.
The best software for running a team is one that anyone can access from anywhere (with their login credentials, of course), and that exists on a cloud server that you’re not managing. One of my favorites is Teamwork. I like this one because it’s browser-based, has the capability to store all of the procedures along side the tasks, and I can easily add or remove people from specific projects within it. It also tracks time, which is a missing ingredient for many of the other online project management applications. And since it’s on THEIR server, I don’t have to worry about it crashing or wiping everything out.
Put it all together
So now you’re familiar with the core concepts around managing your winning team - being clear, writing your procedures out, using due dates appropriately, and how to manage all the tasks. Which of these was most helpful to you? Which one will you try to implement first? Share below!