Great leaders are proven by the quality of their teams. In the Proven Media Solutions September 2019 Minding Your Business column, we interviewed three leaders on best practices for team management.
From football to the foxhole, from hiring to firing, each of these leaders showed how a great team is critical to serving customers, accomplishing company goals, and creating a great company brand.
James Boening: Great leaders value character and feedback
James Boening is a franchise entrepreneur and sought-after speaker. He currently leads the team at a large Lexus dealership in Maryland. He said that finding the right people starts with “a leader having the moral compass to align the team.” According to Boening, “character and passion” underpin a successful team.
Boening also said that success came after he learned to fully incorporate his team. Great leaders know that “showing people my way and doing it with them” is just one step. They must also ask team members for “insight to what they are experiencing.” Boening said his team empowerment process has led to “some of the most amazing ideas from some of the least expecting people.”
Ricky Ray: Key principles for team success
Ricky Ray is a former New Orleans Saints player and currently president of the Washington, D.C. NFL Players Association. His 30-person team handles all of The World Bank’s print marketing collateral.
Ray said that what he learned on the field has transitioned to success as a manager. Team members must have a desire “to contribute to the overall team success” and be “driven, determined, and nice…” Excellent teams are committed to “performing your best” and work “together for success.” Career development ensures that this continues.
Donnell Johns: Fire the right way
Donnell Johns is founder of the executive training firm Avision Worldwide. He is also the former highest-ranking Non-Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army National Guard’s Human Resources department. He supported over 350,000 soldiers in that role.
Johns said that “everyone is trainable.” However, if you have to fire someone, do it “gracefully” and “understand the departing employee’s perspective.”
Successful teams build your brand
Branding is more than your company’s logo or website. It is part and parcel of everything your company does. The best restaurant advertising campaign means nothing if the food is bad and the waitstaff is rude.
Each of these leaders knows that. Look at Boening and Ray — they create teams which work together and are led by people who care about their futures. These characteristics lead to better customer service and better relationships inside the company. Wouldn’t your staff want to stay with those kinds of leaders and team members?
Johns’ advice is likewise important for a brand. If a leader handles firing badly, the entire Internet may hear about it through Glassdoor or social media. A graceful departure also gives current team members confidence that they will be treated as well if or when they depart the team.
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