It’s the buzzword of the day: Team Engagement.
Yes, it sure sounds great but it is way more important than that. Companies large and small understand the value of engaged teams and how important they are to profitability and the longevity of the company.
Companies know that having great team leaders who can turn around disengaged teams are a tremendous asset that can increase the bottom line and increase employee performance as well.
Below are a few proven ways to keep your team engaged, motivated and working with passion. The goal of this is to create that profound connection with your team as you lead them on future projects.
1. Allow your team members to shine
It starts with showing each team member that you value them by sharing their success immediately when it happens. You can do this as positive feedback from a client or from your own personal observation. By calling out your team members success, you show how valuable their contribution is to the success of the project and the company.
This is your team and they will need to know just how much you value them and how instrumental they are to the business. They need to hear from their leader in a positive light. Yes, you will need to discipline when needed of course but it is equally important to help them enjoy the journey of shining at work at the right time.
2. Know each of their strengths
Get to know each of your teams’ strengths and then find opportunities for each one to utilize those strengths within their role. Get out of your office or cubicle and meet with them where they are. Your focus is positive, and you should be able to recognize the unique strengths within each individual in a setting comfortable to them.
3. Allow for spontaneity
It’s okay for the team to be spontaneous. Give them the control over what is natural for them. Yes again, you will need to make boundaries but keep them wide and give them latitude in their space to be creative and to try something out that may benefit the team or the company. By allowing for micro-learning and micro-teaching, you are giving your team the confidence they need to share their knowledge outside of the team bubble.
Ultimately this will reflect on your own leadership style and how your support for the team gives them the confidence to be thinking of ways to boost the company overall.
4. Your team is always growing
Not all teams are perfect, that’s a given. What is also true is that teams are coach-able and will always look to learning new ways to do better. To be the positive and dynamic leader you need to be requires you to be there as a mentor, coach, and a guide, ready to inspire when the time comes.
As long as you are doing your part in the process, your team will listen to you not because ‘you’re the boss”, they will listen because you’ve been in the think of it with them and have supported them all along as the positive source behind their success. You won’t get tuned out by your team simply because by now they know you have a purpose to your message.
Your team’s enthusiasm will show clearly as will their willingness to work harder based on the feedback you’ve been giving all along from yourself, clients and other departments. This in itself creates a culture of growth, continuous learning and support.
5. Your team is your focus
While it is natural for team leads to envision themselves in the next position higher, they will fail if they do not invest in developing the team they currently have. Nothing is more frustrating than working under a disengaged team leader.
A team lead today needs to be more than just someone who just ‘gets the job done’. Team leaders today are required to be sensitive to their teams needs and is someone who takes the time out to get to know them personally. You are the team lead which means understanding your team dynamic. You need to be the one ready to stand up and advocate for them. When they hit a gold milestone, you are the one that rings the bell and deflects all praise over to the team.
6. Remember to walk through your own open-door policy
Great team leads do not run their teams from a close office. Team leads need their teams to know that you are approachable not only when they come to you but also when you take the time to go see them individually as well. Yes, it does get harder, the larger your team is but it still shouldn’t stop you from visiting them.
For those with remote teams, make good use of the technology that is out there. Make video conferences a part of your meeting. Nothing beats engaging in a face to face discussion where facial cues can be seen and will help to guide the discussion. Sometimes it is in the facial nuances that you may discover the request you’ve been asking for may not be one that can work. If you commute daily, these chats are a good opportunity for you to connect with team members to check on project progress.
7. Communicate clearly
Leaders who communicate with ambiguity are problematic. Don’t let your team feel confused or disconnected. Make sure your communication is always clear, concise and to the point. Your team needs to know where they stand at all times and how their work contributes to the big picture.
While it may seem like you’re repeating yourself, rest assured, with repetition comes understanding. There’s an old saying called the ‘rule of seven’. In short, if you want someone to take action on your message, they need to hear it at least seven times. If you want your team to know how much confidence you have in them, get creative on how many times you will need to continuously deliver your positive messages and feedback.
Someone once said an engaged team will outperform a disengaged one by about 200%. That’s pretty telling of how you need to lead your team. More than just functionally committed, your team is also emotionally invested in each other, the project and the company. Now get out there and build your great team!
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Band of Coders Show is a podcast dedicated to helping software developers problem-solve their biggest leadership challenges. We talk leadership, productivity, team building, effectiveness, and much more.