CS leaders aspire to have high functioning teams. This is important to be efficient, effective, collaborative, and overall successful. What some of us may forget is the impact a few small things can have on getting to that point. High functioning, happy teams come with a few key attributes. Those employees feel EMPOWERED. They have OWNERSHIP of what they do and the impact they are having on the customers, industry, and company. They strive for CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, either because they are wired that way or their leaders encourage and sometimes require it. Finally, these teams know how to have FUN together!
Empowerment & Ownership
Empowerment is something that is built over time through experiences and encouragement. A great way to help empower a team quickly is to delegate ownership of an important problem or process that adds business value. Even if you know the solution, delegate to your team and see what they come up with. I guarantee they will surprise you!
When looking to identify ways to empower employees, check out these 10 Tips to Empower and Encourage Your Staff. I’m not sure if there is one of these 10 reasons I am more passionate about than the others as they are all really important to building a high performing team. Delegate, communicate clearly, demonstrate trust, encourage self-improvement, support time off, be available, be appreciative, inspire creativity and be flexible.
Ownership, then, is a result of empowerment. Empowered employees will have ownership in what they are doing, so long you guard the environment against treating people like resources. Do not make this a one-time thing, but a way in which your team operates.
An important part of empowerment is self-improvement. Did you see that I did not say professional development? Yes, for all the employees you need to understand their goals and where they want to go within their career. Help create learning objectives and goals to help move in that direction. Not only is it important to support them vocationally, but also personally. Do you know what your employees do for fun or like to snack on or where they go out to eat?
Get to know your people, invest in them and help them identify personal areas of development. As important as it is to build them up professionally, personal development is instrumental in employee satisfaction. The more you develop others, the happier and more engaged they will become.
A few years back I had an employee that was wanting to gain Salesforce.com certifications. We worked with CRMs and marketing automation tools, so it made logical sense for the business to support this. For any of you that have obtained these certifications, you understand the amount of work that goes into them. Not only did it make business sense, but he was also very interested in becoming a Salesforce consultant in the future. Having certifications, I knew would help him in his current role, but also help him build skills for his future. In the end, this investment helped him obtain a role at another company. While that meant he left our team, I could not have been prouder of the personal and professional growth for him as he moved into his new role. Win, Win!
How do you start this process? Each quarter, have all employees identify 1 personal growth goal and 1 professional growth goal. Track them, talk about them monthly, identify how to meet and exceed those goals. When that quarter is done, create new goals. No matter where those employees end up, I guarantee they will be happier and even more successful.
Last but not least, HAVE FUN TOGETHER. While this sounds like an obvious thing, it is easily forgotten in a business focused on selling more, supporting more, and gaining market share. As a leader, you must support time in which employees have fun together. This could mean catered lunches where people sit down and talk, or appetizers and a drink after work. Make events during working hours with attendance required. While required attendance and having fun do not seem to go hand in hand, if you do not there will always be team members that skip out.
Team building is a great way to build relationships through shared experiences. I am usually the one that does not want to do this, but you will make memories that people will keep with them forever. Just recently we had a group of 76 people compete in a photo scavenger hunt Bingo game, with themed prizes and all. Not only did people have fun, but we stories of adventure, competition, and a vast amount of shared experiences. A bonus is we also have great pictures of people having fun together for our offices.
Do not underestimate the importance of building up your team during a busy day, week, month or year. With little changes, you can have a huge impact on building high performance and great satisfaction. Help them become a high performing team by empowering them and developing ownership. Help them be more satisfied with work by making a conscious effort to develop both personally and professionally. Last but not least, always remember to have fun! Fun can be in the small things or large, but ensure that this is a priority.