So you have been granted the honor of leading a team. Anyone would presume you are excited — but, there is a greater streak of anxiety which is filling you up!
This is your first time having to lead a team.
You have got to figure out how to engage your team members so that you can all complete the task at hand. But first, they have to respect and enjoy working with you; they must respect you as a leader.
I had written about Eric, who began his journey to becoming a better leader. During his time at the coffee shop, he worked his way up to becoming a supervisor from a team member. The strict managers were selective of whom would become a supervisor. The supervisor’s duty would include:
- leading the team members,
- ensuring all tasks are complete, and
- preparing the shop for opening the next morning.
The supervisor also had the authority to make executive decisions.
Eric realized he would have to install some changes in order for the team members to work efficiently alongside him.
He needed to be influential toward his team, and here’s how he did it:
1. Making the junior-level employees feel as if they were part of a team.
Eric has an interest in people and got to know his team members on a personal level. The authoritarian approach would not work; he wanted his team to respect him not fear him. He realized that he would have to get to know them. He would ask them about their goals, their interests, and their stories. He kept the tone professional of course, but he was friendly.
This friendliness caused the team to respect Eric. As a result, the team all worked harder to please the customers and help the business.
2. Solve the problems — don’t whine about them!
If there’s one thing that irks Eric, it is constant complaining. He found himself doing exactly that when an obstacle had come in the way of work. He realized that the sales records were not up to par. Due to many customers being in a hurry, the number of retail products sold had decreased. The store had two registers — one for ordering and a separate one for paying. Customers had to wait in long lines to place an order and then to pay.
As a result, they did not take the time to buy any snacks or other products of the shelves.
Eric made an executive decision and decided to use one station for ordering/paying. Informing customers of this new policy made them pick their retail products first. They would order their coffee and pay for it alongside the retail products of their choice. Then, they would walk to the other station to pick up their coffee. Since they had already paid, this cut down their waiting time!
3. Recognizing the potential in others — and helping them use it!
Since he had an interest in learning about his team, Eric was able to learn about their interests. One of his team members, Tina, was studying marketing and was a keen amateur photographer. He realized that the shop had stiff competition and that this was an issue. He then requested the managers to create an Instagram account for the shop. After much deliberation, they allowed Eric to make one. But it wasn’t Eric who managed it!
He gave the task to Tina, who used her skills to advertise products and offer discounts via Instagram. Eventually, the managers offered a discount on all products for the Instagram followers.
So our friend Eric continues his growth. More importantly, his desire to be influential benefitted his team members and the company as a whole.
Take Eric’s example — go forth, and be influential!
Originally published on LinkedIn.
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