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How to Lead Your Team to Achieve their Goals.

One of the keys to running a successful business is motivating, leading and inspiring those who work for you to achieve the organisations goals. Now whether you’re the owner, CEO, Department Manager or any other employee who has people reporting to you, the way you lead your team is critical to those goals and objectives being met and exceeded. After all, you are only as good as your team, so making sure they’re focused on a common goal at all times is vital. Here are a few tips on how you can lead, motivate and inspire your people to achieve and exceed their goals.

1. Make sure everyone understands the big picture Define a very clear picture of the future–a vision for the team. This is crucial, because teams search desperately for specific targets. Consider the old expression: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Journeys without a clear destination leave groups feeling flat and lost. Keeping teams informed on where they’re headed and how best to get there means leaders must be prepared to acknowledge and adapt to changes in operational conditions and even objectives. Leaders cannot sit back and watch, but instead must create and recreate the vision and team spirit that stops people from losing heart and becoming lost. If your team isn’t already familiar with your organisations main goals, then lay them out in plain language. Show them where they fit within the organisational structure, and why their work moves everyone toward those goals. Make them feel valued, so they’ll have reason to engage with and “own” their jobs. Teams that achieve great things share one key habit-"Clarity". Teams armed with clarity know exactly what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and who’s responsible.

2. Give your team what they need If team members lack the right tools or training, they may not feel capable of or confident about doing the tasks you’ve assigned them to achieve these goals. Whether they need training, a laptop, iPhone, or printer that works properly, make it happen, so they can move forward with confidence. If they express a need for something to help them be more productive, and you fail to provide or approve it, they soon will stop coming to you with improvement ideas.

3.Create a culture of Peer Accountability. Research has shown that in mediocre teams, bosses are the source of accountability whereas in high performance teams, peers manage the vast majority of performance problems with one another. Therefore in order to achieve and exceed your goals it is worth creating a culture of peer accountability. Here is how as a Leader you might create this. Set expectations. Let team members know up front that you want and expect them to hold you and others accountable. Tell stories. Call out positive examples of team members addressing accountability concerns. Especially when they take a big risk by holding you accountable. Vicarious learning is a powerful form of influence, and storytelling is the best way to make it happen. Model it. The first time your team hears you complain about your own peers to others—rather than confronting your concerns directly—you lose moral authority to expect the same from them. Teach it. The best leaders are teachers. List the skills you think are important for holding “crucial conversations”—and take 5-10 minutes in your weekly meeting to teach one. In these teaching sessions ensure the team practices on a real-life example— perhaps one that happened recently. This will make a huge difference in retention and transference to real life. Set an “It takes two to escalate” policy. If you struggle with lots of escalations, set a policy that “it takes two to escalate.” In other words, both peers need to agree they can’t resolve it at their level before they bring it to you together. The role of the leader should not be to settle problems or constantly monitor your team, it should be to create a team culture where peers address concerns immediately, directly and respectfully with each other. This will take time up front to create but the return on investment happens fast as you regain lost time and see problems solved both better and faster.

4. And Stop Micromanaging No one likes a boss who is constantly looking over his shoulder and second-guessing his every decision. A true leader will step back and let his team do their jobs. If you have got the right people on the bus then you need to trust your team members to perform. Once you’ve assigned a task, explained why it’s important, and made sure your employees have the skills and the tools they need to complete it to an agreed standard, step back and let them do the work. Your job is to explain the “what” and “why” of the task. Their job is to get the work done in the way they find most efficient.

5.Bring Your Team Together Often One of the most important things you can do to ensure your team is on track to achieve their goals is to hold regular meetings. Bring your people together weekly, at a fixed time, to talk, discuss, catch up on progress, learn how the company is doing, and generally share ideas, opinions, and insights. At these meetings you should also provide and share key metrics which should tell the team how they are progressing against their goals. Your team should know whether they are winning or loosing at any given time. If a team realises they’re the front-runners in a company-wide sales race, for example, they may work extra hard to stay there; or if they’re in second place, they may redouble their efforts to take first.

6. Lead by example Your habits and leadership will rub off on your team. If you disappear for a few hours at lunch time or play golf every Wednesday afternoon, you aren’t leading by example. You should never dip below the bar you set and expect your team to perform at. You should also demonstrate knowledge. You may be a great motivator but if you lack knowledge, you lack credibility and your team will never take you seriously as a leader if you are not credible.

7. Be personable and accessible. Cold, distant and unavailable managers will quickly alienate their staff leading to a reduction in the likelihood of the team achieving its goals. Modern Leaders need to be accessible and approachable. If your team knows they can come to you at any time with a problem, concern or suggestion and you will hear them out then it is going to help create a team that will achieve its goals. Part of being a leader involves being there for your team. If they have a question or need your advice, make sure that you make it easy for them to access you. With email and mobile phones there is no reason your team shouldn’t be able to get in touch with you when they need to.

8. Be an interesting Storyteller Don’t just reel off facts and figures and expect members of your team to be instantly inspired. Try and bring all discussions back to real life situations, or interesting stories. Personal stories are much more effective than cold facts, far more memorable, and your experiences will give greater meaning to your people, and create a deeper connection between you and your staff.

9. Stress your company’s purpose-Explain the why. Setting goals and then exceeding them is always great, but you can also inspire your team by enforcing what your company’s purpose is and "why" your organisation exits. Every successful product or service solves a problem,s0 remind your team that all of their hard work really makes a difference beyond making the organisation a profit. A great example of a company who does this very well is Southwest Airlines. Their purpose is stated as "We exist to connect people to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable and low cost travel." The way they communicate this purpose is through storytelling with leaders regularly telling stories and giving "shout outs" in order to illustrate examples of employees who have gone above and beyond to show great customer service.

10.Say Well Done You can make a huge difference in team morale by simply taking the time to recognise each employee’s contributions and accomplishments, large or small. Don’t take it for granted that your team know they’ve done well — be generous with praise. As Alex Ferguson the former Manchester United Manager said– there is nothing better than saying "well done". Those are the two best words ever invented in sports he said. You don't need to use superlatives. In summary the above are just a few of the behavioural traits that you should exhibit as a leader if you want you and your team to achieve their goals. You may have noticed that "Storytelling" is a common theme with high performing leaders and that is because storytelling makes leadership possible. Stories can change the way we think, act and feel. They can capture our imaginations, illustrate our ideas, arouse our passions and inspire us in a way that cold ,hard facts often can't. So don't just keep your storytelling for bedtime with the kids.. Share stories at every opportunity to lead motivate and inspire your team.

"Great stories happen to those that can tell them"-Ira Glass Source:


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