By Brian Chernett, Founder, The Academy for Chief Executives

As a CEO in a growing business, you will need a good team around you. As the business grows and changes, that team needs to grow and change around you. Making the most of your team will make your job easier and your outcomes more successful. There are a few things you can do to ensure that your team is the best it can be.

Set the direction

When starting on a journey, you will need a map. For a business moving into new areas, there may not be a map immediately available. However, there will always be people around who have been on similar journeys and who can help you to create a working map. This is what business mentors can do for you. So many of the difficulties that plague early stage – and more mature – businesses have already been experienced and overcome by others. A good mentor can save your business time and money and, in some cases, they can save your business.

Once you have your direction, communicate it well and ensure that everyone in the business – and everyone who joins it – understands that direction. Give them a compass by which to steer the business because every decision at every level will make a difference to the course the business takes.

Delegate responsibility and authority

On decision making, be prepared to delegate and when you do so, delegate not just the task but also delegate the authority necessary to achieve the task. There may be boundaries to that authority and they must be clearly communicated, too, but the majority of resources needed to reasonably achieve the outcome must be in the hands of the person to whom you delegate that outcome.

In delegating tasks and outcomes to your team, be prepared to give up what you do and move on to other areas. You'll always find something else to be done and, if you are part of a larger business, it will make it easier for you to be promoted if your job can be done by existing team members. It is a risk – but one that you need to take.

Recruit only the best

Jim Collins in his book Good to Great suggests that you only have the right people on the bus. Don't recruit second best. If your recruitment process does not turn up a suitable candidate then don’t appoint and keep looking until you find the right candidate. Hold out for the best.

If you can, try to recruit people who are better than you. Better educated, better qualified people will take your business to places that you alone couldn’t take it. As a bonus, your own skills and education will benefit as you learn from the people around you. It is not a threat to have good people surrounding you, it is an opportunity.

Set the tone

Lead by example. If you demand the best of yourself and deliver it, then you can demand the best of others. You may not even need to demand it, your example may be sufficient to create an environment of achievement.

Any job should have elements of fun. So do consider how to build that into the business. Vary the pace. Full out all of the time is not sustainable and mistakes will creep in. So make opportunities for your team to slow down and relax. Celebrate successes with a team meal or a group activity. When they pick up the pace again, they’ll do so refreshed and their performance will be better as a result.

Develop them

Coaching your team members is a powerful way of ensuring that they develop good habits and correct bad habits. The purpose is to encourage so it should be done with their best interests at hear and always with a good intention.

Keep your team members challenged and stimulated. Remember that they are all different and will need different approaches and strategies to grow. Be aware of overloading – and also be aware of under utilising people. Too much pressure and too little are both demotivators and you’ll get less from your people.

Make sure that you have regular, predictable coaching meetings. Be flexible in your approach. Coaching works on the basis that person being coached should be the one to come up with solutions and actions. Sometimes it is quicker and more effective to suggest actions they might take.

Use training strategically. Identify skills gaps in your team and identify training to fill them. Training is not a reward structure, it is a way of ensuring that your team can meet the needs of the business.

A win-win for team and leader

A team where the members grow and rise through the levels, will provide you with stability and support in growing a business. A stable team takes from you the concerns that come with regular recruitment to replace key people. The best leaders are those who build strong teams around them. Teams that challenge them and help them to grow. Done well it is a win-win for team and leader.

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