In any business, the leadership team creates the support network for accomplishing day-to-day tasks. This frees leaders to create and communicate the business vision, interact with the larger community and plan for the future. However, just because a group is labeled as a "team" doesn't mean it will function like one. To build a team, each member must understand your store's goals, gain alignment and hold participants accountable. Here's how it's done.
Communicate values. Your leadership team must be working toward goals that support your store's vision. A store owner should learn about (or be aware of) the skills that each member adds to the team, and ensure that each member gets the support he or she needs to be successful. Keep in mind that these are different skills than those managers need to run a department. For example, leadership team members need the ability to evaluate information, propose creative solutions and work through group processes.
Create alignment. Team growth requires time, energy and commitment from all members. A key to success is that each member finds balance and focus between their individual departments and their leadership team responsibilities. Also important is that each member learns about and respects each person’s strengths. Team members should recognize how each person plays a vital role in the success of the team’s work.
You can strengthen your team by introducing team building activities, exploring individuals’ strengths and setting team goals that provide opportunities for working together closely, such as resets, minor renovations and even holding a staff picnic. Individual performance goals should align with working on the team and reward managers for growing into their leadership roles.
Foster accountability. Introducing a Code of Conduct is one way to help ensure team accountability. By working within a framework of agreed upon operating rules, the team develops accountability. Your job is to ensure that all team members’ actions are aligned with the team’s vision and goals. This includes how they interact with each other, the staff, and your shoppers. The Code of Conduct allows members to hold each other accountable and enables them to act consistently. Leading the team is easier when there is alignment around both the vision and plans of action.
Ensure all team members agree to the Code of Conduct and review it together from time to time. You may consider including:
- The mission of the team
- Meeting rules and expectations
- Decision-making processes
- Rules around confidentiality
- Expectations related to communication