Teamwork: Part II -- Producing results

Producing results through the efforts of others is the essence of what a team leader or manager does. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by making team members feel valued.

"Most people like to be treated the way you would like to be treated," said Jan Wallen, with eSales Strategies LLC, a CRM and sales management consulting firm (http://www.sellingvalue.com/). "A good exercise is to think back to a particular project which you enjoyed and felt highly motivated to do. What did the team leader or manager do to heighten your interest and enthusiasm? How were your ideas received? What kind of support did you receive when you ran into a stumbling block?"

Wallen says it's important for team members to understand the overall desired outcome and what role they will play in accomplishing that. "If you simply ask someone to do a part of a task, they will hesitate to bring their knowledge and creativity to it," said Wallen. "If instead, you say such things as 'You've been hired because of your background,' 'What challenges do you see?' or 'I'm really interested in your ideas on this project,' they will become more involved and work harder to get it done."

You should also provide guidelines for seeking your assistance. "If you try to micromanage the project, people will come to you with every single question," said Wallen. "A better strategy is to help team members figure out the right answers for themselves. By helping them work through the problem themselves, you'll instill a level of confidence that they can handle situations as they arise. In addition, you will be preparing them to become effective team leaders, themselves, one day."

Making team members feel that their contributions are valued and providing an appropriate level of support are two of the best ways to ensure that a project succeeds.


This was first published in January 2001

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