You’ve hired people to perform certain tasks, and you’ve assembled your team based on the individual talents represented by your team members. Now the question is: Are you actually making the most of those talents? Are you giving your team members the freedom to do the things they really excel at—or are you painting all of your team members into the same corner, forcing them to conform rather than to perform?

Being a leader means recognizing where your team members are weak and where they are strong; it also means focusing on those strengths, allowing each team member to shine, and developing those areas where your team members are truly proficient.

That may sound like a tall order, but there are some strategies that can help you run your team effectively:

  • Actually listen to your team members. They all bring unique perspectives to the table, and your business will benefit if you take all of those perspectives into consideration. That doesn’t mean you have to go along with everything everybody says, but remember that you hired them for a reason and on some level you must see value in what your team members think. (If not, you have a hiring problem!) Empower and respect your team members by truly listening to them.
  • Believe in your team members. Remind yourself of the reasons you hired every person on your team, of the unique strengths brought to the business. Reaffirm, in your own mind, why you have those folks on the team. This will impact the way you think about them, talk to them, and empower them within the company.
  • Be honest about your own strengths and weaknesses. Empower others to do the same.
  • Remind yourself that people are different. You may be a strategic planner, and you may have members of your team who are more creative, spontaneous, or intuitive. This does not mean their talents are inferior to yours; it does not make them “wrong.” It just means you have complimentary gifts!
  • Invest in on-site training. Provide plenty of opportunities for your team members to develop their existing talents, and to uncover brand new ones!
  • Offer public praise when it is due. Offer criticism privately—and ensure that it is actually constructive, not just mean!

More than anything else: Make sure you actually communicate your expectations; transparent communication is the single most important key in facilitating an effective team!

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