Engaged staff are more productive, more focused on customers, work more safely and are more loyal to their employer – but how can you nurture an engaged team? That’s where guest blogger Sheila Scott comes in as she share her top tips on building an engaged team.
1. Meet regularly to discuss major issues and take a look at the bigger picture! Take time to talk about where the practice is going, what it’s trying to achieve, and how the practice and team can organise and help to do that.
2. Solve problems as a team and be open about the challenges to success. Ask the team for their help and opinions – you might just find they know exactly what is needed to jump over what you thought was an insurmountable hurdle. And they’ll appreciate being involved and asked!
3. Be very clear about what is expected of individual team members. Spend more time explaining exactly what you need doing and how, rather than on complaining that something wasn’t quite done right! This focuses both you and your team on finding a better way forward, and is much more productive than demotivating with those completely useless human emotions of blame and guilt.
4. Discuss individual progress in regular one-to-one meetings rather than just during formal appraisals. This shows you care about your team, makes them feel more important and gives them clearer and regular guidance on how to be more useful to the business. You’ll find that with clearer guidance, your team members can produce much more effectively.
5. Learn to coach or counsel. Learn how to guide people to take more responsibility for their actions and to work out how they can be more effective for themselves. This helps them to develop more skills and problem-solving abilities and become more self-reliant and confident at work and in life in general.
6. Consider all suggestions fully, then decide. There’s nothing more destructive than the boss who jumps to the wrong conclusions all too quickly, and spreads unfair fear and negativity around. There will always be more than one side to every story, and more than one way of achieving an end. It’s your duty to give all suggestions and stories full consideration – taking your time shows you are taking each one seriously, and then give your reasons for your decisions. Not everyone will like your decision, but they might respect it more, and live with it more easily.
7. Learn to give constructive motivational feedback to all your team members ─ positively and usefully. Practice Plan’s Regional Support Managers organise regular meetings on how to do this so keep an eye on the Practice Plan website to find out if there’s any in your area.
8. Accept feedback from the team. Remember that all feedback is a gift, we just sometimes don’t like the wrapping, so try not to react when you feel a little defensive at a badly explained ‘complaint’. There’s probably a nugget of truth in the explanation, and if you can focus on exactly what would help you and the team to be more effective, the practice will probably benefit hugely! Remember, you probably cause upset from time to time too when your feedback isn’t up to scratch – it’s hard to be honest without causing a defensive reaction, and sometimes you will be on the receiving end. It doesn’t always mean that the feedback wasn’t useful! (see 7 above)
9. Share information, decisions and results with the team – don’t hide your success (or failures). Studies have shown that teams rally around better when they know exactly how well they’re doing as a whole, whether that’s really well, or not so!
10. Finally, don’t ever forget to have some fun. A happy team is more productive, and a little lightness can brighten up everyone’s day.