How Do I Create a Loyal, High Performing Team?

How Do I Create a Loyal, High Performing Team?


This is a common question I hear from so many different managers and leaders.

I have led major projects that required my team to go above and beyond EVERY DAY in order to achieve the success we needed.

People have asked me how I did it.  How did I get someone to give 100% day in and day out when the job was tough, the financial rewards were not there, and the client was demanding?

Here are the 7 things I think you need to create a loyal, high performing team:

1) You have to care more about your team than yourself.  This is the most important to me!  And you can’t fake this.  We have all heard that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  You have to truly care and love the people on your team.  This includes caring about developing your team.  They want to know you care about them, their careers, and their development just as much as the project’s success.

2) Never ask someone to do something you are not willing to do yourself.  I don’t think the manager or leader needs to do everything.  But I do think they must be willing to do whatever they ask people to do.  I recently heard a manager yell at their team for not taking out trash.  And this manager never once took out the trash  This sets a very unhealthy tone that the manager thinks he/she is too good for the task.  You should be setting the example that everyone is expected to pitch in and help no matter what position or what task.

3) You have to be ‘blocker’ for your team.  Sometimes as a manager and a leader, our job is really to knock down all of the obstacles for the team.  This could be covering the phones to allow a team member to finish a project, jumping in and helping that person with a specific task, or taking over part of the task.  You are setting the attitude that it’s all about the team and the team’s success.  And that you are willing to do any task to help.

4) Allow for mistakes.  This is very important in a stressful, fast paced environment.  You have to realize mistakes will be made.  And if you condemn people for making mistakes, you will condition them to stop making decisions.  I have been in an environment that was a blame environment.  And if any mistake was made, the management would unleash their wrath.  This eventually made people stop making their own decisions and stop thinking outside the box.  It also encouraged people to hide mistakes and errors.  Don’t do this.  Let people know that mistakes will be made.  Emphasize they need to bring it to your attention as soon as possible so we can fix it.  And when it does happen, make sure you let them know you are going to help fix it.

5) Take blame and give credit.  When something does go wrong, take the blame.  Even if it wasn’t you, claim the blame.  People follow people that hold themselves accountable.  This will cause your team to realize it’s ok to make mistakes and it’s honorable to take the blame.  And when something good happens, celebrate every person you possibly can.  Let them feel every small win.  Because when projects are tough and demanding, every person on that team needs to feel like they have some wins under their belt.

6)  Hold your team accountable.  As I mentioned earlier, you have to hold yourself accountable.  But you also must hold your team accountable.  If you don’t, you’re really not doing them justice.  Every person should know they are responsible for a part of the project and the success depends on everyone.  You want them to know mistakes are ok, but the expectation is that they acknowledge, fix and put things in place to avoid the mistake in the future.  By holding them accountable, you are setting the expectation that you believe they are capable and competent and they have the ability to solve problems.

7) Appreciate and celebrate as publicly as possible.  Did you tell your team how much you appreciate their hard work?  Do you have someone on your team that always comes in the office with positive energy and brings the environment up?  Recognize that.  Celebrate that.  Tell your manager’s manager (or client or someone that truly matters to your team) what a great job this person did for you.  At the end of the project, tell them how their contributions made this project successful.  Let them know they were key in the success of the project or event.

Have you led a loyal, high performing team in the past?  What was your key to success?

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