Make your team a team of leaders

If your week is usually a hazy blur of boring events, then this statistic won’t seem surprising to you at all: approximately $550 billion is lost in the United States per year because of a low productivity rate amongst employees.

Unfortunately, today, many employees feel as if they are detached from their work environment. They no longer feel motivated to excel at their job, and instead just do the minimum that their bosses ask of them.

Therefore, if you are striving to create a successful business, then you can’t have your employees giving minimum effort. You need to make sure that your employees love what they do and actually take accountability for it. You also need people who are looking to get their own ideas heard to help make the company even better. All of this needs to be prevalent without the need to reward your employees with bonuses.

As a result, you need a team of leaders. Here are a few tricks explaining some fast and simple ways to motivate your staff to be more competent, along with ways to bring more inspiration and ideas to the table.

Accomplish shared leadership in five stages

Think about how you feel four hours into your workday, having typed and looked at your screen the entire time. Most likely, you don’t feel short of the bordest person on the planet. As you are typing away, staring blindly into your screen, you may occasionally imagine yourself abandoning your computer and joining the rest of your coworkers in a revolt against your company. Your onlys wish is to be part of a team, a team leader instead of part of a hierarchy.

However, this is not the case in most offices. In fact, your boss has all of the power to make decisions. So, what can you do?

First of all, your work space could just be in the initial stage out of the five in the team development model. In stage one, it often looks just as we are used to, very hierarchical with one leader and a group of subordinates who just follow the leader.

How do you move out of this stage?

Well, first and foremost, you need to understand what that stage even looks like. Suppose a company has decided to make a goal of creating a team of leaders. Here, there wouldn’t be just one boss calling all of the shots. Instead, every person’s voice would matter.

It is in this stage that a lot begins to change. The stages after, on the other hand, would be the perfect reaction from the first shift. Take, for example, stage three. This is when the new leaders start to think about making and taking accountability for their own team by, for instance, hiring new team members. In the fourth stage, this transition only continues to unfold with more members getting leadership roles.

Suppose you were waiting for upper management to give you a task, you could, instead, go up to your HR to learn about their position and then begin to help by finding good applicants for open spots. At stage five, the goal to have equal leadership is accomplished and every member feels as if they are a part of something since everyone now knows how to recruit people based on the company’s standards and every team can now be self-sufficient.

Design your team to give every leader a purpose

Yes, you read that correctly; design. That verb may seem irrelevant to this topic since we’re talking about businesses, not Eames chairs. However, contrary to popular belief, design is a major factor for various parts of a business.

To get a better understanding of this, first think about these questions.

How many members are there in your team? How should you carry out the interview process? What does a “company mission” even mean?

Essentially, all of these questions have to do with design. However, what is the final objective of design?

Well, it’s a whole lot easier than you’d expect. You just need to share a common goal with the entire team so that they all serve for the same purpose. All of us strive to make a positive and meaningful impact and so if we know that our work is doing just that, then we feel more energetic and fulfilled.

For instance, when employees are asked what they do, you want them to answer “I enhance the usability of a site!” instead of “I fix bugs”. If employees don’t believe that they are doing something for the greater good and feel like their work is meaningless, then they’ll start focusing their energy elsewhere. Additionally, leaders of the team will do well together if they are linked together with a common goal like “We support American veterans”.

A really brilliant way to motivate your team is to incorporate a team value creation model. In this method, you get your team to work as mini-businesses. This gives members of the team a reason to have access to more information and to a higher rank of insider detail. If you are your own mini-boss, then you could get your hands of financial data such as balance sheets, which allows you to look after the performance of your team and enlist some with it. With the help of this increased involvement, not only will you you increase the satisfaction of your team, but also the satisfaction of your customers.

How is the latter possible?

Well, it is often times beneficial to customers when the company itself is running at a high level. If the staff are being more productive, then they respond better and update faster which customers love to take advantage of.

Align the incentives of each leader to boost the team as a whole

At this point, we now all know that every team leader should have their own goal. Despite this, it is also important that those goals enforce teamwork instead of competition. Therefore, you need to make sure that there is some kind of arrangement amongst the members of your team. This alignment is to show how well your team and its surroundings work together.

For example, suppose that a company decides to move their attention towards making the quality of their products better. However, not enough focus is given to that and instead stays on optimizing productivity. During a management meeting, attention is aimed at the quantity instead of the quality of work. Then, at the end of the year, the team that showed the best productivity in performance rates, despite the lowest rate in quality, was awarded bonuses.

This is an example of an unaligned situation that only strengthens the employees opinion that management did not care much about quality. Although the top management did eventually realize their mistake, it took an even greater time to gain back the trust of their employees.

How do you avoid this situation? Create alignment.

In the example above, the lead management should have just aligned the staff towards making better, more quality items. In this case, they should have come up with standard, strategies, special projects and technologies to motivate the teams towards making the quality better along with the right rewards to encourage them to make the best quality.

Had everyone’s goal been the quality, all of the design and behavioural benefits would have corresponded with the team. Therefore, everyone would have been working towards the same goal, and thus, would have had the same success.

Give your team access to all the knowledge they need

Nine times out of ten, you’ve heard the phrase “knowledge is power”. However, it is definitely more than just a cliche. On the contrary, it is very much related to the way that your team functions. Every company has organizational knowledge. That is the sum of each end every piece of information from every member of the team.

Organizational knowledge holds key knowledge, which helps us find out how to make value for the consumer, codifiable knowledge, which refers to the facts and routines within the business and tacit knowledge, which are the beliefs and expertise.

Let’s dig deeper to find out why organizational knowledge is crucial as well as how it works.

Suppose you work with Anton and Berta at a call center. Both of them have key knowledge. If both of them are sick one day and your customer, Tom, calls you about his stolen credit card, what do you do? There is a part in your company handbook about credit cards, so that’s where codifiable knowledge could help. However, no one had told you where it’s located. If you can’t get a hold of Anton to get some advice, your tacit knowledge stating that you’re almost 99 percent sure that his money is safe is not enough, and most likely won’t make Tom feel better and his view of the company won’t be that great either.

There are some obvious flaws in this model.

Therefore, instead of each member holding knowledge in regards to one aspect, strive for tacit, codifiable and key knowledge to be easily available for every person onthe team.

How do you guarantee this? Promoting to learn is your best bet.

If you can provide access to structured learning approaches such as manuals, customer research and videos, then anyone can get codifiable knowledge. Unstructured learning approaches, on the other hand, such as storytelling, role-playing or personnel rotation, promotes the transfer of tacit knowledge since experiences are shared.

Your leaders need a working space that supports them

Have you ever had the horrible experience of working in an office entirely made out of a maze of cubicles that is lit with sharp fluorescent lighting? Unfortunately, many of us have. However, it shouldn’t be like that. Your working environment should look just as your leader’s does. It should celebrate the mission of your company as well as the feelings of your customers.

If you want to make an environment for a team of leaders, you need something stronger than interior decorating. You need visual management.

So, you may be wondering, “What is visual management?”

Well first off, you need to brainstorm the best way to optimize the work environment so that ideas and inspirations can flow easily. Don’t have separate rooms for every person. Instead, make the area open, but close-knit at the same time. You could also include charts hanging on the wall to show current issues and ideas of solutions. Additionally, incorporate whiteboards to depict the progress of each project. This will help make every member feel important and like they have a purpose. Visual management can actually help with alignment, too.

An interesting way to use the art is to portray strong messages to your customers with your mission statement displayed. This sends positive signals such as, “This is how we perform and we like it!” However, you could even just write a sign with customer feedback. That makes them feel both welcome and respected.

Final Summary

Your company is only five steps away from turning into a team comprised of leaders. An innovational team design, shared knowledge and good visual management will help with the change into an aligned and motivated team that all share the same goal.

Practical Advice:

Don’t forget the reasons behind your actions!

If you are ever feeling unmotivated, take a breather, step back and really look at how you, yourself contribute outside of the team, towards the greater good of your company. Although it often doesn’t feel like it, remind yourself that everything you do is not taken for granted, it is meaningful and important. If you keep those things in mind, you will stay energized, on track and with a smile.