“Thank you for …”
“I really appreciate the way you …”
“I love the way you …”
You discuss a problem issue with one of your team members and they offer solutions.
You’re drowning in work and one of your team notice. And they offer to help.
You ask a team member if they can do something for you, and they’ve already taken care of it.
That’s the sort of team you want, right? The sort of team you’d happily boast about.
But chances are it’s not the team you have.
How do I know?
Because most practice owners have too much to do, and too little time.
They have a team, but they struggle – at least a little – to create an elite team . By elite I mean one that moves like the proverbial well-oiled machine.
A group of people who anticipate your every move.
A group of people who actively support you, your patients and each other.
A team of conscientious, proactive people who don’t need to be given a lot of direction.
I help a lot of practice owners develop leadership and delegation skills so that they can create an elite team like this.
But there are some people who struggle, despite having these skills.
And that’s because there’s a problem.
You see, some people learn all the leadership and delegation skills and they still can’t create an elite team.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with their team, or the training they receive.
And it’s not that they’re not ‘strong’ enough leaders or that they fail to give clear direction.
The problem goes deeper than that.
There’s a key difference between practice owners with a truly elite team, and those that are struggling to get their staff to help them.
Most business owners ask themselves how they can get their team to help them.
But that’s not the question they should be asking.
Because business owners who have a team they can boast about ask themselves a different, much less obvious question.
And it changes everything.
The Single Most Important Question
So what’s the question?
Great business owners ask, “How can I get my team to want to help?”
Teams are made up of more than just functions that need to be performed. They’re made up of human beings.
So to create a high performing team, your people need to do more than go through the motions.
And you need to do more than go through the motions of good leadership and delegation.
You need to make sure your people feel valued. To make sure they understand that their contributions make a difference.
You need to build their confidence and demonstrate your appreciation for them.
You need to nurture the personal relationship you have with each and every person in your team.
Because we perform at our best when we feel good about ourselves. When we feel we’re doing a great job and making an impact in the world.
How To Create An Elite Team
So how do you go about motivating your team – so they actively want to help you?
There are five key traits you need to demonstrate.
Always be sincere with your praise and acknowledgment.
You can smell insincerity a mile away, and so can your staff. So be sure the positive feedback you give them is genuine.
Remember that it’s not always about the outcome. Sometimes it’s about the effort. Acknowledging the hard work that an employee puts in will encourage them to try again, even if their first attempt was a failure.
As Thomas Edison said,
I didn’t fail. I just found 2,000 ways not to make a lightbulb; I only needed to find one way to make it work.
Always be specific with your appreciation. “Great job” doesn’t cut it.
It doesn’t allow an employee to understand what they did well – and should repeat – or why their actions were effective.
Instead, try “I love the way you listened to confirm what Mrs Jones was saying today.” Using the following opening lines will get you into the habit of demonstrating sincere and specific appreciation:
Fostering initiative and innovation can be challenging, but it’s how you encourage people to be proactive.
It takes courage to offer up ideas for consideration. So when someone puts forward an idea be sure to acknowledge it, even if it’s not entirely viable. Because often brainstorming crazy options can lead to innovative solution.
People are more likely to show initiative and think outside the square if they know their ideas and opinions are valued.
Demonstrate trust and confidence in your team member’s ability by asking for their ideas and opinions.
When they seem challenged, resist the temptation to take over or solve a problem for them. Instead, use your coaching skills to empower them to resolve the challenges.
You Can Do This
So now you know the secret you can create that elite team you’ve always dreamed of.
The one that goes out of their way to support you and your patients.
The one that helps you with your problems, and anticipates your needs.
The one you need for business success without burnout.
All it takes is a little motivation, a little sincerity, and little acknowledgement.
As Dwight D Eisenhower said,
Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”
So every time you start wondering, “How can I get my team to …” stop yourself.
And ask instead, “How can I get my team to want to help?”
Because that one question changes everything.
Even your business.
This post first appeared on Dr Jesse Green
Dr Jesse Green is a dentist, entrepreneur, best-selling author and renowned thought leader in the field of dental practice management.
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