Congratulations on your new Team Manager / Lead position! Yikes, you’ve got your work cut-out for you! Motivating a team to produce positive deliverables, while getting along nicely and orderly —is no easy task.
Here are our top 10 tips and tricks that will ensure that your team delivers on performance, for you!
1. Let a team member do a favour for you – they’ll like you more
Believe it or not, when you let someone handle something for you: their feelings of positive reflection about you, increase. This works well, especially with males. If you’re a female leader, and are dealing with a tough-nut-to-crack team member: consider asking them to help you on a particularly tough project or important element of a group task. They will feel that you value them and this fosters their trust-in-you, to grow. Everybody loves to feel like they’ve ‘saved the day.’
2. Open palms, instead of pointing to a direction or narrative
Whether stopping to point out a direction to a stranger or highlighting a section during a group presentation: avoid index finger pointing. This has a ‘belittling’ feel for the recipient. Instead, extend your arm, as you would normally, and direct your palm upwards and open your hand to indicate direction. This is completely welcoming, also aiding in ‘approachability.’
3. Silence produces answers
This one is tough for habitual ‘interjectors.’ When you’re trying to get answers, or drive a tough negotiation toward your desirable outcome, resist the temptation to fill in dead and awkward space, during conversation. Ask your question out-right, and STAY silent until you’ve gotten an answer. Too often, we will (out of awkwardness) attempt to end the discomfort with dialogue, and be nowhere ahead to receive an answer.
If the other party takes too long, ask the same question again or offer more time for them to think about their response. Then re-convene at another time, shortly, and try again.
4. Nod your head at key conversation points
When asking a team member to ‘do’ something important, nod your head lightly here and there, this makes you appear to be nicely ‘telling’ not ‘asking’ someone to handle x, y, z for you. Also, when someone comes to confide in you: listen attentively, while nodding occasionally, appearing to ‘agree’ with what they’re translating to you. They will be diffused and less anxious, thus, more agreeable with your response.
5. Keep a fidget item in hand to relax and focus
Fidget items replace gum-chewing, which is largely (still) regarded as vulgar in a formal corporate setting. Chewing gum reveals anxiety, and your poker-hand is then exposed. Raid your kids room for a small palm sized squishy item of rubber. Must be smaller than a stress-ball, and disappear when your fingers close up around it. When anxiety sets in, remember it’s there (in your hand) and roll it around discreetly to stay focused. Remember to regulate breathing, too.
6. Foot position speaks volumes
Take a quick peek under the table or down below, in meetings. Notice where everyone’s foot position is. Typically, people who are most comfortable with each other will direct their foot position to the direction of comfort. If you’d like to capture someone’s attention, direct your foot position to that specific individual.
7. Work someone’s name into the conversation you’re having with them
An oldie, but a goody! Everyone is somewhat ‘narci,’ meaning they love to hear their name, said aloud by others. Work the name of a new person you’ve just met into a few of the ‘get to know you’ questions you’re asking. “Thank you, Charles, I really appreciate learning your perspective.”
Avoid working the name into dialogue frequently, however: it then comes across as w-e-i-r-d-o!
8. Watch body language, un-cross arms
Even if you’re always cold, un-cross your arms. Your teammates are not going to feel comfortable to open up and tell you their deepest darkest anything’s if you appear judgemental. Sit and stand tall, elongation of your spine effectively conveys confidence. Firm up your handshake, even if you’re a lady. Nobody appreciates a limp-noodle-hand-shake.
9. Watch at who looks at who, during group meetings
This is remarkably effective to reveal who – trusts and admires – who. In a group setting, crack a joke to lighten up the tone, and watch at who looks at who while everyone is yucking it up! Humans naturally seek out and lock glance with whom they trust the most, in any given situation.
You can use this technique on your off-time and have a blast with discovery!
10. Be the right kind of enthusiastic
Gah! Is there anything worse than un-inspiring team leads? Nope. If you have a dry-as-crackers job to do, a little humor and enthusiasm goes a long way. A little passion for the subject matter-at-hand can inspire your team to win big and net you top results. Too much enthusiasm and you look like a buffoon, who’s far too eager. Experiment and scale calculated enthusiastic injections, accordingly.