By Peta Stewart

As an office manager or CEO of your own company, or actually any aspect of life your leadership ability is essential in maintaining good working relationships within your team, accelerating results and seeing incredible business gains.

Whether leaders are born or made is irrelevant if those skills are crushed by negative thoughts or comments, or drowned by ego and the power-trip.

Being a leader needs your commitment, open mindedness and ability to keep learning and adjusting to your situation, because let’s be honest, the situation is always changing.

We are naturally drawn to teams. Even as a solo cycling competitor I needed my team around me to cheer me on, to offer encouragement when I beat myself up for a less than perfect performance and also to hold me accountable and motivate me onward. Businesses are just the same. When you get that team spirit in motion you have a dedicated team who have each others back through the rough stuff and celebrate the wins.

A feeling of togetherness in an office environment creates

      • A sense of greater purpose
      • Greater workplace satisfaction
      • More ideas to work with
      • More talent and skills to draw on
      • Better problem solving resources
      • More awareness of the bigger picture
      • Greater sense or cooperation
      • A more considerate workplace

Best of all it creates more confidence in themselves, each other and the company itself

Here are seven way you can rally your team and gear your corner for success through amazing leadership.

1. Recruit the right people

This might seem like a “too big” or “too late” concept but the right foundations will equal the right results. Set the right tone early on by looking to recruit people who care. Those applicants who have a big heart, care about your business and care about your customer will be the ones who want to put in the work, who will work well with others and will have your customers glowing with satisfaction.

2. Make it a two-way street

When you have big hearted staff, you need to show them some love too. These hard working people will feel unappreciated, burn out and move on if they don’t feel the company can support them. Treat your staff well and they will remain loyal to the company and hard working until the very end.

Team building exercises like weekly team lunch, games, shared meals, monthly dinners or even weekly outings like cinema or lawn bowls can really help create team spirit. I try to avoid those corporate type team building competitions where you compete against other teams within the office for prices or recognition, the competition is out there, not in here.

3. Allow their skills to grow

The biggest mistake a boss or manager can make is to employ people less knowledgeable than they are and limit their knowledge. It’s a common trap because as the boss you want to feel in control of the company and you want to feel like the superior authority. Scary as it might be, hiring staff with incredible talent and skill, especially if it outstrips your own ability, is exactly what you need to grow your business and rise to the next level.

Hire the best and trust in their ability. At the same time keep their skills up to date and fulfil any training interests they have. It’s a solid investment for them to keep up he knowledge and skill. At the same time if you notice that you have an employee who is not working in their desired area or part of projects that best suit their skills (i.e. they came in for the pay cheque) take the time to get to know them better and see if there is a better suited position in the company that will foster their passion or further develop their skills for a future goal.

4. Get feedback and work with it

To know your areas of strength and weakness you’ll need to gather feedback. Most managers are already getting this from their customers, but it’s equally important to get feedback from your team as well.

The best way to do this is with regular meetings, where everyone is allowed a say and feels comfortable to speak up. This is best backed up with one-on-one meetings, especially for those who don’t feel great about speaking in front of others (although team collaborations and events should help negate this as well). Often staff feel threatened by these ‘performance evaluation sessions’ so be clear that this is your opportunity to learn from them about their workplace experiences and any areas of need they might have or places where they can see room for improvement. If you find you need more detailed feedback around a particular item, or a particular area you might find an online survey works well.

The overall message you want to send here is that you care about what they are going through and want to help resolve issues and reward positive actions.

5. Forget about performance number, allow them to work

Most companies and business evaluate on performance and put pressure on staff not just to meet performance targets, but also record everything they do so those results can be measured. That might look great when you are presenting the numbers, however, it creates an atmosphere or fear and uncertainty. No one is going to perform at their best under these conditions, not for long anyway. In the short term your staff might jump to attention but before long you are seeing a workplace of stress, sickness, devoid of motivation and stuck in survivor mode. They will look for exists, start late or leave early and leave for a new employer the first chance they get.

You have smart employees, they are trained, they work together and you can trust them to make their own decisions.

Rather than dictating to your team what their expected performance routes are, leave them to choose their own responses to the situation and encourage them to work as a team to find solutions if they get stuck.

You will see your employee’s confidence and ability soar when they are able to make choices without having to check up to the chain of command first. With this momentum they can achieve far more than expected, and faster too. You will see them taking greater risks to get the end goal met, meaning more flexibility and harder working staff with significantly higher career satisfaction.

6. Practice what you preach

You need to walk the walk if you expect your employers to respect your direction. Make sure you know the business inside out and want to be part if the big picture success.

Set the tone by asking what you can do to help a struggling staff member. As well as being an included part of the team, look to maintain the position of mentor. Improve your own skills and training whenever possible, ask for help when you need it and be a coach for them when they need some motivation and be abreast of company policy and procedure so you can offer guidance when required.

A pat on the back or words of encouragement can do wonders not just for individual success but for company success as a whole.

7. Let them lead

We all have something to contribute, we all crave a time to be the leader sharing and experience or knowledge. Feed that fire. I ask my team to teach something to the rest on a rotating roster of presentations. It can be anything they are passionate about and I can tell you they blossom with these projects. They get the spotlight and every single presentation has been incredible, thoughtful and empowering to the whole team. We get to now each other on a whole new level and understand that everyone has something to offer and a reason to be recognised.

In the modern world of internet translations and Zoom communications customer service might be lost. The customer, however, will disagree that service to them is no longer a key offering.

Value the people who value your customers and you’re setting your sights firmly on business success.

About the writer… 

Peta Stewart, an Albury local, founded her all-female Conveyancing business in 2009. Her award-winning business has strong foundations of competence, reliability, and integrity.

Those successful foundations paired with Peta’s adventurous and ambitious personality created demand for her to branch into mentoring, keynote speaking, and professional development workshops.

Her love of people, building relationships, and raising her industry profile has been applauded and her conveyancing business continues to be the benchmark for relationship-based customer service.

Peta Stewart is a Proud Bronze Sponsor of Albury Business Connect.