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Getting the Most from Your Team

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

Leaders aren’t born; they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal or any purpose. - Vince Lombardi 

Start right

When a staff member joins your team, give them time to acclimate to your company entirely. The sooner they settle, the sooner you can start to reap the rewards. It will help if you complete an induction and a detailed employment contract, which outlines what you expect from them.

Create expectations

Strange as it may sound, employees do not have a clear sense of the role. Such confusion can cause arguments or even duplication or omission of tasks. This is bad for productivity. Your team needs to know their job and responsibilities; a job description will help.

Stand back

Empowering your team is trusting they can get on with the job without you peering over their shoulder every fifteen minutes. If you want staff members to flourish, they should be allowed to get on with their job. Of course, you need to keep a watchful eye, but there is a happy medium where they know you trust them. Your team is more likely to over-perform if they feel good about their actions. Motivated staff work harder. Money is often not the prime motivator. They want to know what is expected of them, and then they want to be allowed to get on with it. This is far easier if the right people are employed in the first place.


Effective communication is the lifeblood of any organization, regardless of its size. That may mean face-to-face talks or pinning notes on a board. Supplied, your team knows what is going on, and you are an effective leader. Try asking your team how they prefer communication to happen. This helps to empower them.

Keep communicating

There may be a sincere intention to improve communication, and it all starts positively: team briefs, newsletters, intranets, and more. Then things start to slow down. As a leader, you should not let this happen. It may mean valuable information is not imparted, or you are viewed as not bothered by how the team is getting on.

Be honest

Communication is not used if your team believes it is not getting the whole picture. The sad news is still news, and you must trust that your people are mature enough to manage it, or you may find they are insulted and no longer believe what you tell them. This does not mean shouting every piece of office gossip from the rooftop but keeping your team abreast of all that is pertinent to them.


Effective consultation is a vital tool for improving performance. Your team members have specific roles. Your collective overview may be more knowledgeable, but there may be team members whose detailed knowledge is more significant than yours. Asking for their opinion is not weak; it is sensible and empowers that team member. The more facts you have, the easier and more effective your decision-making will be. Getting the most out of your team is aided by effective consultation, and it proves respect from you to them.


Training is a boon if it is relevant to the team members. You are guaranteed to alienate staff by sending them on courses that bear no relevance to their role. Training for the sake of training is counterproductive. You need to ask: Will the training help the business? Is it geared to the priorities of the? Business? Are the right individuals and teams within your organization receiving the training? How can I quantify any improvement?

Training must be organized and delivered effectively, or you should not commit to it in the first place. Ensure that the agreed priorities are met. Once this happens, think about how you can help individual team members in their personal development. This can be a natural aid towards improving performance and motivation.

When the training is over, try and evaluate its worth. Where do you expect to? See improvements? If you assess effectively, you can judge where further investment in training will pay off.

Organizations of all sizes invest in their people through practical training. Your team is your most asset, and their performance affects the company’s bottom line.

Staff Appraisals

All companies should review the performance of their staff regularly. When staff appraisals do not work, it is for the following reasons: There is no system in place for undertaking reviews regularly; there is no paper trail to follow, so people don’t know where to start; they are used purely to air grievances so become a negative thing; the appraiser isn’t trained to appraise so, the results are unreliable; there is no follow-up, so improvements are missed.

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