Success in the workplace today is all about building a winning team. Although the concept is simple, getting it right is where the strategising, planning, and utilisation of soft and hard leadership skills come in.
Building a winning team in a sales environment, with the current unstable economy, can be a daunting task. Getting the right people on board is a good place to start. Who are the right people? In my experience they’re people who share a common goal; who have the right attitude and who take ownership of their respective responsibilities.
My team members are completely diverse in every sense of the word. There’s a mix of experience, demographics, cultures and ages. However, Gen Z and Millennials, together with sales staff who fall into the Gen X and Baby Boomers categories, create a certain magic because of their different perspectives.
I believe the attitude of the team leader is key in how the team interacts and relate with one another and with their leader. Building a relationship with each person is also important. Who doesn’t want to feel appreciated for who they are and what they bring to the team? Respect is key, while a clear zero-tolerance approach encourages team members to hold each other accountable to doing their jobs and how they treat each other.
Make sure each team member clearly understands the parameters with regards to what’s expected; what the ground rules are etc. A leader needs to implement systems and processes to prevent chaos and uncertainty – and create a trusting environment and safe space.
Encourage a culture of creativity
It’s also important to develop a culture where people in any role are encouraged to be creative, not just the creatives. If someone identifies a better system or method of doing something, analyse the pros and cons with the team and implement it if it’s going to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Appreciation and recognition are something we all need as individuals. It doesn’t take much time to pause and acknowledge another person. Kindness in the office is an important attribute. Recently, a colleague presented me with a cup cake to let me know they were there for me. It was a small thing, but it brought tears to my eyes and made me feel appreciated. It’s something I try to pay forward too.
Team spirit and culture are incredibly powerful when the going gets tough. I have been amazed at how resilient a team can be when they are determined to achieve the end goal, despite the barriers. With management support being an essential ingredient, the impossible can be accomplished. I saw this at the end of the last fiscal. This is where you can see the magic. Celebrating wins, small and big, is important. We ring a bell every time a deal comes in – and the entire team applaud. The bigger the deal the louder and longer the ring! This also encourages healthy competition within teams.
Clear and open communication
Clear and open communication are vital. In my team we celebrate the wins by having surprises and delights in the form of little incentives or team-building moments. On the flip side, if there is underperformance or the ground rules are being consistently broken, immediate action is taken to address the situation. The unintended consequence of any action, or of inaction, are always be considered and played out.
A leader’s credibility and integrity are important ingredients for fostering respectful and honest relationships. Dealing with tough situations and having difficult conversations should be handled in complete confidence and with respect. Having empathy helps with being able to read the team and respond appropriately.
As a leader, I try to always plan and think ahead as I believe this helps the team members do the same and gives them the tools they need to achieve their targets. I believe in playing to people’s strengths and encouraging work across different departments to ensure that the solutions for clients are innovative and relevant.
Ultimately, having a large team can be stressful at times and may require the investment of additional hours and personal time to stay ahead. But at the end of the day what you put in, comes back threefold. A close-knit team celebrates the success of achieving a common goal because everyone genuinely feels like they’ve contributed. And winning moments manifest more winning moments – and ultimately a winning team.
Cheryl Wheeler has more than 20 years of radio, digital and print sales experience. As the Commercial Manager of East Coast Radio, she’s responsible for the station’s overall revenue budget. Cheryl works closely with Mediamark nationally; manages a vibrant team in the regional office and oversees sponsorships, promotions and trade marketing. She’s passionate about all of the above, plus her son Daniel. And coffee. Lots of coffee.
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