How to Increase Your Profits and Enjoy the People You Work With
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Team Building can make the difference between success and failure in your small business.
Most startups struggle to survive but the chances improve if you have someone(s) you can count on working beside you.
In many small businesses there are only one, two, or three people at most. How do you do team building with so few? Most teams are larger. The ideal size is 6 to 9 members for traditional teaming.
The elements of teaming with 2 or 3 people are the same but some adjustments need to be made. The heart of teaming is trust. Without trust, there is no team or at best you have a group of people who work for you but don’t feel like they are valued.
At worst, you have a group with no sense of involvement who are merely getting a paycheck.
Building trust with employees is important. Start by talking with a new employee about your business and what you are trying to do, your values, and your expectations of them in the job.
Be careful not to assume they know what you value and expect from them. It is so easy when you are busy, even overwhelmed, to skip these important things.
Take time to get to know them. You don’t have to spend lots of time doing this because they know everyone is busy. We all need to know we are valued and that our boss is interested in us.
As the new person gets to feel they have figured out what their role is and how it fits in your business, be open for their thoughts about how things are done and how they could be done better.
Be patient with their input. Don’t deflect it if you have already thought about their idea. Take time to explain what happened when you tried it before. All of us are easily put off and discouraged if we believe our ideas are ignored or discarded carelessly. Listen, then explain. Ask them to elaborate. If we cut them off, we are telling them we don’t want their thoughts. That may seem to be the right thing to do as we listen to their newly formed observations, but even if the idea is not practicable or is off based, cutting them off tells them you don’t respect them and their views/ideas. They learn not to speak up. As the owner you have the most experience but no one person can see everything happening in your business at all times. You gain their eyes and minds if they trust that you want to know their thoughts about the business.
Take time at least once a week to stop and talk about how things are going. It can be hard to do when you’re busy but if you don’t, you may never talk except on the fly. All of us care about the work place we have and appreciate it when we are treated as intelligent members of the team.
The National Business Association has gathered a number of practical articles on building trust and leading a team. Look for them in our Resources section.
Dr. Martin Walsh: National Business Association Board Member since 1988.
Dr. Walsh is a Self-Employed Management Consultant and Corporate Psychologist. His focus has been to work as a sounding board to the officer level and as a developer of individuals & the organization. Consulting to organizations large and small in a variety of industries in North America, Europe, and Asia. His client list has included CVS, Target, Catholic Health East, Deluxe Entertainment, and Kohl’s.