Appreciate The Positive — Then watch the positive appreciate. The best leaders spend a disproportionate amount of time being positive, hoping for the best, expecting to win. It’s contagious. Your associates will pick up on your lead and get comfortable taking intelligent risks and then watching them pay off handsomely for your team. Spend more time trying to catch your team doing great things than you do trying to catch someone loafing or messing up. Make a fuss about success and accomplishment, and it will happen more frequently. Celebrate the wins!
Be Specific — Many a leader has messed up a critical delegation of an important task by delegating in garbled shorthand. Tell your associates EVERYTHING that they need to know to handle that important stretch task for you, and let them know that you’ll be there to help if they get stuck. Invest in their success at handling the task for you, and they’ll quickly seek more delegation in the future.
Professional Development — Showing your team that you care starts with investing in the future of every associate as you invest in the business. During your one to ones and performance management meetings, have a deep discussion about the future of each team member. Find out what they want to learn, what they think will make the business stronger, and then make it happen for them. Coach your team, one on one, and coach them well by investing time in them.
Feed The Team — Not only do you need to invest in their development, but you also need to invest in their bellies. Nothing breaks the ice and helps you build trust in relationships like sitting down and breaking bread with your team. Take your associate for a walk for an ice cream on a nice day, and talk business all the way there and all the way back. Talk about their development all the way there and all the way back, if you like, just talk! Buy your team lunch on a regular basis and spend the lunch reinforcing your culture, caring, and discussing career development. Cater in lunch at the end of the quarter when the pressure is on. Show them that you care enough to invest in feeding them.
Teach Your Team To Lead — Spread the word. Stretch your people by giving them opportunities to lead, and show them how to do it well. Leadership will never go out of style, and you can never have enough of it around you. Invest your precious time in showing your key people how to lead a great meeting, how to run a great customer visit to your operation, how to lead a team through a workshop on team building, or leadership. Invest in building strong leadership, and you will always have a strong team to help you carry the load.