Secrets Great Leaders Know About Building Unstoppable Teams
By Renée Goyeneche—
It is every company’s dream to fill its ranks with talented employees; people who invest themselves in their work and who are, at the same time, highly competent and efficient. As an independent employee, the work of a star employee is valuable, but as a member of a team, he also fulfills another essential role: leading by example. Smart companies know that hiring someone who sets an ambitious work pace and who inspires and guides others can be one of their best investments.
However, what is less commonly recognized is the need for a synergistic relationship. While data shows that around 75% of employers consider collaboration important, around 40% of employees rate their company’s collaboration efforts as “insufficient”. When a team struggles, it’s especially taxing for high performers because, as a rule, they tend to overcommit and are more likely to burn midnight oil. Without the support of an outstanding team, the “grind” quickly leads to exhaustion and burnout. However, it’s not just rock stars who suffer when teams fail. Studies show that work overload is a problem at all levels. A 2021 study from the American Psychological Association finds that 66% of employed people work as a “very/somewhat big source of stress” – higher than any other category, including money and health issues. This number closely mirrors the previous two years, 2019 and 2020, where Labor also landed at the top of the list.
Interestingly, “engaged” employees — those who see their job as more than a paycheck — are less likely to describe their job as stressful. Following this thread, the data also shows that engaged workers who are part of a strong team are statistically even happier in their jobs. They demonstrate higher levels of innovation, show better individual performance and are more productive. This “formula for success” can be measured through comprehensive business metrics, which assess the strength of a company’s human resources, among other factors.
In addition to talent levels, HR metrics assess key performance indicators (KPIs) such as employee satisfaction, employee retention, and employee feedback. It boils down to this: top management determines whether people are in an environment of engagement creation or engagement destruction.. Leaders looking to develop unstoppable teams need to do two things well: provide a clear vision for their team and demonstrate superior emotional intelligence. Barriers in the workplace, both literally and figuratively, can be broken down by effective leaders. One of the most critical factors in a workplace is its corporate culture, which has a significant impact on employee satisfaction and perceived level of psychological safety. Psychological safety refers to the consequence of an interpersonal risk; for example, will an “out of the box” suggestion be considered innovative or disruptive? If an employee asks a question, is the learning effort appreciated or will the person feel ignorant or incompetent?
Good leaders pay pay attention to whether their organization encourages or crushes divergent opinions or ideas. Does it discourage speech, inadvertently or deliberately? Is diversity of thought rewarded, rejected or greeted with hostility? People thrive professionally in an organization that offers a strong vision, but allows for the idea that growth may require a reassessment of the status quo. Effective team leaders reflect this growth mindset. They build their teams with the expectation of success, but know that a positive environment, built on a foundation of encouragement, yields the best long-term results.
The strongest leaders:
- Are transparent in their communications. Rather than barking orders, a good leader provides information about the why and how whenever possible. When people are informed, they better understand the importance of their role and are more likely to become personally involved. Research proves that companies with effective communication have much higher talent retention rates.
- Hold yourself accountable for results, but celebrate team and individual success. Wins along the way help keep people motivated toward the end goal, and recognition is high on the list of things that make employees feel valued.
- Create an environment of mutual respect and solidarity among their employees. Groups with a strong team identity understand and value each member’s role. They realize that everyone brings a unique skill set to the table and will excel if allowed to play to their strengths.
- Are emotionally aware. They notice and respect the feelings of their team members and foster a psychologically safe environment. More than any other factor, our interpersonal relationships influence the happiness not only of our careers, but also of our lives.
If you want to be a great leader, build a great team and work to facilitate cooperation and support. Ultimately, a company’s success depends on its employees and their ability (and desire) to work together toward a common goal.
Renee Goyeneche: I am a writer and editor specializing in information that benefits women, children and families. find me on Twitter and blog about Imperfect perceptions.