Warren Moon, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino were some of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, yet they never received the Vince Lombardi trophy. That’s because it takes more than just seasoned players to make a winning team.
As a business leader, you have the unique opportunity to unlock the potential of the next generation of talent within your startup. This begins by not overlooking entry-level players. According to a recent Gallup study, almost half of employees feel unappreciated, and that’s a mistake. Too many business owners forget about the raw talent of the young rookies.
Many leaders focus on the playmakers of the business, but you don’t win championships simply because you have a great quarterback. It’s the combined effort of all players — both great and small — that wins games.
Related: First Things First: The 5 Secrets to Prioritization
At my company Forte Strong, we have a few key mantras we believe help the less-experienced members of our team grow in their careers and become successful:
1. Break down the plays.
New team members are often full of passion and try to tackle new projects in their entirety, which usually ends up overwhelming and confusing them in the end. Instead of dropping giant projects in the lap of your young team members and expecting perfection, hand them more manageable tasks.
This gives them the confidence to work up to those bigger undertakings when the game is on the line.
2. Understand emotions.
New team members have a difficult time being vulnerable. The way past this roadblock is to encourage an open and honest dialogue.
One study notes that 57 percent of project failures occur due to breakdowns in employee communication. Often, just talking about thoughts and feelings will provide the insight needed to understand where emotions are coming from and what to do about them.
Create an open-door policy for employees to voice concerns or simply chat. A coach that shows a player that his opinions and feelings matter will make said player work that much harder for him.
Related: 4 Tips for Training Your Employees to Think Like a CEO
3. Prepare a game plan.
If your team is feeling nervous or overwhelmed, it’s usually because they don’t have adequate information or enough time to make good decisions. Shedding light on the unknown is a good way to quell the anxiety. It’s like turning on the porch light before stepping outside after dark: It provides a sense of relief. Having a game plan means you can see what’s coming. A practical training approach will build the team’s confidence until they can eventually master the skills you need. Equip your workers with an extensive on-the-job training approach to supply them with the necessary tools to succeed on the field.
4. Thank your teammates.
If you’re not displaying your gratefulness, then how can you expect the same from your team? Practice showing your thankfulness by focusing on what your team members bring to the table (instead of complaining about what they don’t). This attitude is crucial for forging a strong and united team.
Try this: Put together a daily "grateful list" to acknowledge all the good things you have going for you. If you decide to accentuate the good and diminish the bad, your employees will likely follow suit.
Related: The 10 Communication Skills Every Entrepreneur Must Master
A company's attitude can be attributed to the mindset of its leadership. Focusing on the positive and not the negative trickles down to your team members and is crucial in forging a strong and united team, particularly when times are tough.
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