Do you remember when England won the rugby world cup back in 2003? Jonny Wilkinson was hailed the star of the show with his amazing last minute drop kick. But what people don’t realise is that the goal was down to a carefully planned strategy that the team had been working on all year round, and Wilkinson was only able to achieve it due to his team members.
So what makes a team work together, work hard and go out of their way to ensure success? We look at 5 key areas.
Creating a Safe Environment
Management theorist Simon Sinek makes an extremely convincing argument, he points out that if you ensure that your workers feel safe in their environment then they will work harder and develop faster. Why? Because when humans feel safe, they are more likely to trust and cooperate.
‘If your employees feel safe, then they will be more productive and engaged. However, if they feel that they may get fired for not performing well, they may actually perform even worse’ James C. Price
Often managers feel they have to be authoritative but go about this in the wrong way. They instil fear in their workers, fear they may get fired or be in trouble if they don’t hit targets. If people are working in a fearful and unsafe environment they will not only perform worse, but they won’t learn or develop and turnover rates will be high which costs the organisation time and money.
Believe in your staff and give them confidence
Believing in your staff and giving them confident again comes down to trust, trusting them to do a good job and giving them the time and space to develop. A common attitude within some businesses can be to operate on a basis of mistrust. I.e. workers will automatically not work hard unless pushed and need to be micro managed. While it is sometimes necessary to implement motivational incentives, this general attitude within organisations tends not to promote healthy, happy and successful teams.
If you want to instil a sense of loyalty and commitment where your workers will go out of their way to work hard for you then you need to make them feel like you have confidence in their abilities and you trust them to do a good job. If you do this then you will find that most of the time it makes a team want to work harder for you and ensure that they don’t let you or other team members down.
Know your team and what they need
A truly great leader will know what their team needs at the right time and give it to them. Managing a successful team is about being good at managing human behaviour. As humans we are all different with different needs at different times.
‘Fabio Capello told me that the secret to good management is to look into the eyes of a team member to know exactly what he needs to hear. The eyes will give away the mood, whether it’s fear, enthusiasm or whatever’ Mark Ryan
It's important to able to read people and know what they are feeling, as does knowing the individuals on your team, their personalities and traits, and how they respond to people and situations.
Being aware of what your team members need and responding to this on a consistent basis will help to create a successful and sustainable team, whether that's confidence, reassurance, motivation or training and development.
Be proactive with feedback
As a society we are good at criticising people, yet often we do not show people how to do better. Good leadership is about giving people clear direction and guidance, this is essential if you want your team to grow and development.
‘Feedback should be proactive and constant. Many leaders are prone to wait until a problem occurs before they give feedback’. Glenn Llopis
It’s important to point out mistakes to people but you also need to make sure they know how to improve on performance. Taking time out to go through with your workers what went wrong and how they can improve on it for next time will empower them and be better for team development in the long term. While it’s necessary to point out when workers do something wrong, it’s also key to point out when they do things right, make sure you give recognition where it’s due.
Promote a culture of Fairness and respect
Promote a culture of fairness where all team member treat each other with respect. This will ensure team collaboration, and encourage team members to communicate more effectively with one another.
An unfair and unjust system will create team grievances amongst workers and again will result in a lack of trust of leadership. When people feel respected they will have a genuine desire to work harder and will grow in confidence and ability.
This was Fabio Capello’s philosophy when coaching the England football team.
‘Fabio's football philosophy isn't complicated and it works for all business. He insists that his players treat one another and his staff with respect. That means they don't call one another silly nicknames, they don't disrespect one another by being late. They start and finish meals together. They show confidence in one another’ Mark Ryan
So when it come to a winning team creating an environment of trust appears to come top. But trust doesn’t come easily, it has to be earned whether that’s by giving your team confidence, identifying need, giving direction or promoting respect. So the final message, look after your people and they will look after you.