Your business is as good as your people

Building effective teams is a common challenge for most of us entrepreneurs because there's always that one or maybe two employees who are difficult to deal with or just don’t perform well. As a result, we end up spending most of our time and emotional energy on them. Often contemplating letting them go, but never gathering enough courage to follow through on it.

The truth is, it takes great leadership to build great teams. In fact, building a team is an art and science that you perfect over time. It takes leaders who are not afraid to self-correct, make difficult decisions, and establish standards of performance that are constantly monitored and improved upon at all times.

So, how do you assemble the right mix of people and expertise to deliver on your brand promise while managing non-performance?

Here are a few points to help you:

Take time to understand each person’s interests, abilities and uniqueness.

Understand triggers that activate their strengths such as rewards, motivators, whether or not they thrive independently or within a team, or the time of the day when they are at their best, morning versus afternoon.

Get to know their learning styles, some people grasp concepts quickly while others may need a little bit of time and hand holding.

When it pertains to non-performance, I suggest you do the following:

Make your expectations about high performance clear to everyone

Be consistent; what you do is more important than what you say. So, let your No be a No and your Yes be a Yes - set standards you’re actually willing to uphold and instill.

Set business goals and what each person needs to do to contribute towards them

Give clear and direct behavioral feedback to non-performers

State the behavior you’d like to observe instead

Explain the consequences of the behavior on the business and consequences if things don’t change such as: “if I don’t see that behavior by x date, here’s what will happen” (give a substantive negative consequence with real negative impact on them)

Develop an improvement plan and monitor it over time.

Document everything: dot all I’s and cross all the T’s so you can let go of the person if it ever comes to that. Firing someone is the most difficult thing anyone can ever do but sometimes it is necessary.

The key is doing things right so that if it ever gets to that point you can deal with it accordingly, as putting it off will certainly destroy your business.

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