You want your team to be dangerous, right?
Don’t be shy. I know I do.
I want my business to be dangerous for my competitors the same way Coca-Cola wants to be dangerous for Pepsi. I want my service and non-profit work to be dangerous for social injustice and poverty the same way that A21 Campaign wants to be dangerous for human traffickers.
I want my business and my ministry to be dangerous!
Is this a radical way of looking at things?
Probably, but we live in a radical world full of radical ideas.
If you’re going to make your mission or cause dangerous, you’re going to need a team of passionate innovators; ready to perform at an extremely high level. You need a team who is eager to knock the socks off of your competition and make a huge impact in this world.
Here’s how you develop that team:
Step 1. Evaluate (Before)
(It’s all about the relationship here. Invest in your people relationally from the outset and you will find this process to be much more organic and free-flowing.)
Regular evaluation and observation is a key function of being an effective leader. Set clear expectations from the outset and hold your team accountable in measurable ways.
Don’t be that scary boss-man who hides behind closed doors in an office and only comes out once a week to grumble at the worker-bees. “Walk amongst the people” regularly and you’ll have no trouble getting in and learning what their real needs are.
Humble yourself regularly. Ask your people the important questions:
- What do you need in order to be more effective at your job?
- What can I be doing to support you?
- Which skills or areas do you need development in?
- How can I help you grow in those areas?
Step 2. Reinforce
Encouragement is like oxygen for our souls. We’re not going into new-age mush territory here; that’s just the truth. People need to hear praise when they deserve it(and sometimes when they don’t.) Not only does it keep them going, but it reinforces the right behavior and motivates your team members to keep on doing it!
I’m sorry to say that I am terrible at this. If you’re the type of person who has trouble encouraging people consistently, I completely understand. It takes an intentional effort to seek out and capitalize on moments where praise and encouragement are called for.
I have some amazingly encouraging people in my life who keep me going day in and day out. I strive to learn from their example and pass on the great words of inspiration that they speak into my life.
Step 3. Challenge
This is where things get a bit hairy. We realize that life is not all sunshine and lollipops. Neither is work. Your team members are going to have areas where they need to grow. It’s your responsibility to challenge them to do just that.
Growth can never be achieved without discomfort.
That said, you’re going to have to dig in and challenge people to do better work and to progress in tangible, measurable ways. Work with each of your team members to develop goals and action plans for achieving those goals.
Don’t water it down. Set ambitious goals and cast lofty expectations. In the end, that tension and discomfort will stimulate some amazing personal growth.
Step 4. Empower
You can’t teach a bird to fly and then put it in a cage.
Give your staff the tools they need to get out there and make things happen. Then, let them get out there and do it! Be very specific about levels of responsibility and expectations, but give them the appropriate amount of power. For a great post on that topic: check out Michael Hyatt’s 5 Levels of Delegation.
You’ll find that when you allow a member of your team to own a project and successfully execute it, great things happen. You’ll have given them confidence, expertise, and a new sense of passion for the team as a whole.
Step 5. Evaluate (After)
No, I didn’t get lazy and run out of creative writing juice. Evaluation is just that important. You’ve got to have your finger on the pulse of each team member’s development process.
This is the rinse and repeat step of the process. You always need to be watching, listening, and observing.
Evaluate what just happened:
- Did your team’s receptionist develop her phone skills?
- Did your project manager work on his team communication skills?
- Has the promotions intern successfully coordinated the next event?
Then, evaluate what needs to happen for continued/future success. (See the questions above.) This brings us back to Step 1.
Steps 5 and 1 can and should be accomplished simultaneously. Make appointments with your team members regularly. Get them on your calendar and hold those appointments as sacred.
Your team members need to know that you are absolutely committed to helping them grow.
Keep it Going
There it is. Keep this process going indefinitely and, before you know it, you will have developed a team full of soldiers, ready to go out and fight for your mission. You’ll have a team that’s truly dangerous.
What are you going to do to help your team develop and grow today?
Photo Credit: Cormac Phelan