Great teammates and leaders know that the way to get the best out of the people on their team is to make each one feel like a VIP.
Everyone wants to feel like an important person.
Maya Angelou said years ago that “people may forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If you want greater productivity and performance, the key is to help them feel worthy of giving such a performance.
So what actions can we take as leaders to ensure that we make our teammates FEEL more motivated and appreciated so we bring out the very best in them?
There are three very important and powerful steps that you can follow to make your teammate, or anyone else, feel like a VIP.
- Validate and value them for what they are.
People want to feel valued by their teammates, but often what we hear most from others are criticisms or comments about our own weaknesses. Instead of sharing criticisms, strong leaders get the best out of their teammates by acknowledging and appreciating their strengths. Speak positively about what your teammates do well – thank them for the strengths they bring to the team.
There is no such thing as a well-rounded person… we all have bind spots and weak areas. But each team member was hired or brought into the team because they have a strength to contribute. Maybe they have a talent for numbers. Maybe they are gifted with interpersonal skills as connectors. Maybe they are better with ideas than with details. Let them feel that you value them for who they are, instead of pointing out who they aren’t.
- Inquire about what is important to them.
When is the last time you asked the people on your team something more personal than “how are you?” The more personal information you collect from your teammates, the better you can motivate them and understand their needs, challenges, desires and values. Do you know much about your teammate’s family? Their background? Their future plans?
If you don’t know what is important to them when they leave your office, you will likely struggle with shallow relationships and leave them feeling a lack of connection. If you don’t know WHY they are there, they will likely accomplish much less WHILE they are there. Learn more by asking deeper questions than just “how are you?” A business team building event can be a great catalyst for creating the connections and building the relationships that strong organizations enjoy. You may be surprised how much you have in common, and how much better you understand their behaviors when you understand the past experiences and current situations they are dealing with.
- Paint a picture of what they can become.
According to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he could be, he will become what he could be.”
One of the keys to individual or team development is possibility thinking. As a leader, perhaps your most important role is to help people see what they COULD become. Often, your encouragement and your image of their future can become a beacon of hope that draws them toward making that vision a reality. Every great success was at first a beginner who needed the inspiration and influence of others’ belief in them. Consider what your teammate might become, and then help to paint a vivid picture of the benefits that new skills or a sincere commitment to their craft might provide.
By following these three simple suggestions, you will find that the people around you will begin to listen a little more closely when you talk. They will want to be around you more often, because everyone wants to be around people that see them in a positive light and make them FEEL good about themselves.
As John Maxwell has said, “Leadership IS Influence.” And you can influence your teammates far more easily if they are convinced you care about them and are trying to help them become better and achieve something that they feel is important.
Validate. Inquire. And Paint.
Make your teammates feel like a VIP, and they will begin to not only feel better – they will perform better. Encouraging relationships are what inspire all of us to grow.
If you have questions about team building, take a look at Sean’s FAQ page.