“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” -Andrew Carnegie
We have all heard the saying “team work makes the dream work.” With being a serial entrepreneur, I have had to learn how to build a smart and enthusiastic team. No matter how smart, driven, or passionate you are part of your success as an entrepreneur will depend on your ability to create and motivate a great team. While this is the not the only predictor of long-term success, in my opinion it is one of the most important ones.
You should plan to build a team that shares your vision. Your team should help motivate you to come to work each morning. A team that encourages you to reach your goals. A team that makes work more adventurous and more exciting. On the contrary, have you ever worked with the team from hell? The team that made you dread coming to work. The team that sucked the energy from you. Life is not good when working with the team from hell, but life is good working with a high-performance team. We all deserve to work with a high-performance team.
So, you may be asking yourself, how can I build a high-performance team?
1. Surround yourself with success. In order to create a successful team, you must hire other leaders that are also driven by success. Get rid of the energy drains, the lollygaggers, and the ones that are looking to pounce on you the second that you fail. Leaders do not have time to tear others down because they are too busy lifting others up. Remember team leaders inspire more than they drive.
2. Learn how to resolve conflict and Increase Cooperation. Conflicts can tear teams apart and leaders need to resolve conflict quick and promote cooperation. For me this meant choosing my emotions. Choosing your emotions is about self-awareness and being honest with yourself. One of the many things that I practice is three times patience, three times consider, three times forgive. In other words, be aware of your mindset and consider all your actions. Do not do anything you may regret simply because you are in a negative mood or angry.
3. Your team needs to have trust. If your team does not trust you cannot inspire them or get them to embrace your goals. The lack of trust slows down everything. We trust people that we like. We trust people with knowledge or expertise. We trust people who have the right answer and can provide insight. Use your knowledge and skills to help problem solve and it will help build trust. Be consistent. This means doing what you say when you say that you are going to do it. One way that I do this is that I under promise and over deliver.
4. Communication is key. In order to have an effective team there needs to be effective communication. High-performance leaders stay on message. They constantly communicate and keep people focused on the vision. High-performance team leaders keep people informed, up to date and on track.
5. Reward Loyalty. Winners are hard to come by. If you have employees, partners, colleges, or clients who are good to you take care of them, too. Reward their loyalty and build their trust, not just compensating them (though you should do that, of course), but also through communication, conversation, and overcoming challenges together.
Bottom-line you can do better with a high-performance team than you can do on your own. My job as a leader and an entrepreneur is to create a vision, inform a culture, and to pull together the right team to work toward a common purpose.