Building a team is two parts science and one part art. Most B level leaders understand the science. These leaders have a firm grasp on their metrics. They have annual goals, do team reviews, and have a semblance of a plan to get where they want to go. The best leaders understand that their goal is a roll up of the goals of their team. The philosophical difference is significant. good leaders who inspire and drive lead B level teams. They hit their goals through hard work, dedication, and a generous dose of grit. B teams make reasonably good profits and are the bread and butter of the industry.
Great leaders lead A teams. Great leaders also inspire and drive performance. They also understand the science and metrics. What sets them apart is in the art of great leadership. Here are three masterclass secrets to build an A team.
Each person is different. They have different goals, strengths, personalities, and skills. Trying to develop each person by shoving them into the same box is doomed to fail. As the leader, your job is to pull the very best of each person out and put it on display.
Make a point to play to their distinctive strengths. Help each team member recognize what they do well. Target critical assignments that align with their strengths and abilities. When they inevitably shine, make a point to celebrate them publicly.
Instill creative thinking.
Implement strategic constraints. Implementing artificial limitations like time, budget, expertise, and buy-in. This helps your employees grow, think creatively, and innovate. Projects and tasks tend to expand to fit the time and resources we dedicated to them. By limiting them, we force people to be strategic and creative meeting deadlines.
Fight entitlement at every turn. Mitigate the sense of privilege by offering the right balance of praise and criticism. Instill an ethos where nothing is expected except for what is earned. Entitlement is an enemy of productivity. We carry some past good will forward with our staff and our clients. However, both groups expect you to continue to bring your very best to each and every interaction.
Step backward or laterally to move forward. Alternate routes to their goals may help your team gain new skills and experiences that can propel them further ahead. Our industry is in a constant sea of flux. Evolution within business is not an option for those who want to continue to grow. With this, purpose to take your people out of their comfort zones from time to time. This pushes them to learn new skills and stay sharp by leaning forward.
Celebrate failure. Embolden your associates to take on challenges, support them through their missteps, and inspire them to keep trying. Building a culture of growth requires an acceptance of mistakes. Learn from each one. Adapt the mantra “always make new mistakes.” This will allow people to step out of the fear of getting in trouble and tap their creative juices. Successes and breakthroughs will inevitably follow. For leaders, finding the edges of what is possible allows you to define where your brand lives. By doing so, you force your competitors to adjust their game plan to fit you. This is one of the reasons that the leaders keep growing and redefining what is possible.
Encouraging discovery-driven growth. Consider what each person wants to accomplish and how you can help them make it happen. Track their progress, optimize their roles to reflect their skills, and course correct as needed. When each person is pushed to grow, your retention will skyrocket. As the leader, help them hit their goal and always inspire them with the glimpse of the mountaintops beyond that are in their future.
In every business or sport, the difference between good and great is significant when looked at in the results. But in the work, the differences often are tiny. Many times, it is the microscopic tweaks that separates the B teams from the A teams. Be a talent developer. Instill creative thinking and encourage failures.