Leaders work hard to engage, develop their workforce

A great team in any organization functions in many ways as family. Both are comprised of people who are connected by common relationships, goals and vision. A team that truly respects each other and wants to succeed together will operate similar to a family in the sense that both share a deep trust with each other — even if they don’t always agree.

In the family, teamwork is critical. Leaders need to make sure everyone understands this — especially star player(s). No one person is bigger than the business, and everyone must work together toward a common vision with each person playing his or her role for the team to win. Your job as the leader is to instill a team environment and empower your people to grow. Get the best out of each player by directing individual accomplishments toward organizational goals. There needs to be a balance, and everyone should be willing to help with all assignments, including the leader.

Create a winning environment

When you foster a sense of family with your team, they understand they’re not on their own and will feel confident to bring their best to work. There are several ways to build this supportive atmosphere. In my experience, these are some of the most important:

  • Make yourself accessible to hear ideas, suggestions and questions.
  • Give your people the tools and resources to deliver on the goals.
  • Communicate updates often. This also helps you monitor progress without your team feeling like they are being micromanaged.
  • Recognize successes.
  • Follow through on your promises.
  • Eliminate roadblocks.
  • Empower your team to solve problems.
  • Remember, you are a team member.

Identify, develop talent

You may think that identifying and developing talent for your organization is reserved for the HR department. However, talent development is a strategic part of any leader’s position. It starts with knowing the strengths of your employees. Be aware that everyone is not suited for management roles.

When identifying talent, don’t be afraid to have people on your team who may know more than you. They will bring new ideas to boost the overall performance of your team.

Build the team

Gallup released a report on “The State of the American Workplace,” based on a survey of millions of employees across the U.S. It discovered that about a third of American workers are “engaged and inspired [by] a great boss,” while a fifth “have bosses from hell that make them miserable [and] roam the halls spreading discontent.”

So what about the other 50 percent? What’s up with them? According to the survey, these workers are “not engaged [and] just kind of present, but not inspired by their work or their managers.”

How sad is that?

Engaging your team is the single most important thing you can do as a leader. Social awareness once again comes into play. Be the coach who is aware of how each player on your team is doing. Tell them they are valued and that you want to know their ideas.

Bob McEwan is executive-in-residence at Xavier University Williams College of Business. His book, “5 Fundamentals to Unleash Millennial Talent: Discover Your Inner Leader” is available on Amazon or at www.discoveryourinnerleader.com.