In the second installment of tips on how to create a successful team, Nikki Viljoen explores the benefits of encouragement, learning how to delegate tasks, and making decisions together. Following on from last week, here are some more tips on how to get the best out of your team.

My “baby” brother is a Senior International Partner at Deloittes in Australia and I am immensely proud of him. We chat often and as I tell him of what is happening in my life and what I am achieving, he always says ‘Well done Nikki!’ The first time he said it I was amused – I mean, here I am – his “big” sister – and he is the one that is praising me (not that I never praised him or congratulated him, you understand). It did make me feel good though (and it still does). I guess that we, as human beings, still always need to be acknowledged in some way or another. Even though your staff are members of a team, remember that they still remain individuals and as individuals they still need to be encouraged.

When a member of your team does something correctly or their job performance is good, give them recognition. This tells them (and all their colleagues) that you are aware of what is going on and that you have noticed that they are doing well. Congratulations and praise should be given as soon as possible and if you have motivated them with promises of a reward, be sure to give that reward as soon as they have achieved the objective. Holding onto a reward that should have been given in the hopes that it will spur them onto achieving more objectives will not work and in all probability will have a negative effect. So don’t do it.

As someone who prefers to work alone, one of my biggest challenges is to delegate. Think about it for a moment – you have a team, but more importantly, you are part of a team. Each member of the team (including you) has specific tasks that they need to perform. If you were able to do the project all by yourself, you would not need the team – therefore you have to ‘give up’ a lot of the tasks that you would normally perform to the various team members that those tasks fall under. They are no longer your tasks. Giving up those tasks will also free up time for you to do the important tasks that fall under your particular portfolio – so if it’s not on your portfolio, then it’s not your task – give it to someone else or hand it over to the person that it belongs to. Delegating things successfully will show your staff that you trust them to do their work (and any other tasks that you give them) properly. It will give them confidence in their abilities and will generally assist with motivating them as well.

Just like any successful democracy, the whole team should be involved in the decision making. Yes, you are ultimately responsible for the outcomes and the deliverables and everything else that goes with that, but you need the “buy in” of the team and that will never happen if they are not part of the decision making. Remember they are the ones that have to do the physical work and if they are just told what to do without understanding the “why”, the consequence will be that they become disgruntled.

Next week we will look at the final few tips on Creating a Successful Team.

Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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