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Building a good team – from bottom to top


Lately there has been a renewed focus on improving staff development and success, especially from entrepreneurial leaders seeking to develop and maintain a great team for their organization.

Many suggest a good team can be created from top to bottom, but I also like to think about it the other way – we should be building our team from bottom to top, involving all of our frontline workers first and foremost, along with managers in a thoughtful process that achieves ongoing engagement and success.

For us at FOURMIDABLE, this means everyone plays a key role, from housekeepers and groundskeepers to accountants and HR assistants, and from community managers to corporate officers.

An author I recently read in Entrepreneur magazine suggested that there are six steps to building a good and effective team. As a CEO, Cynthia Johnson reflected in her piece on what she saw as the right path forward, adaptable for any organization, large or small.

The steps needed for a great team

Johnson’s process for building a strong team, one that is not only good but can be great, includes a series of simple, and ongoing steps. They are: focus on roles, value each role, communicate, set goals, celebrate successes and failures, and know each other.

Here’s my perspective on each of these ideas.

First, there are likely many different roles, at many different levels. These need to be clearly articulated and defined. Every employee involved, from maintenance technician to President, needs to truly understand their role and how they work both together and on their own.

Second, it is critical to value everyone in your organization, no matter the scale of their responsibility or length of their tenure. This value comes with recognition, understanding and a commitment to develop each person in their role.

Next, as a leader, communication is a top priority. In our case, it means communicating to all members of our teams spread around the country, as well as letting our residents and community leaders know what is going on.

Always set goals, not only for yourself and the organization, but for each member of team. Think about it: giving goals to staff at the bottom as well as top of the organization shows how much you value them. Goals are not just yard sticks, they are a form of responsibility and leadership.

Everyone wants to celebrate success. While that is important, it is also important to discuss failures. Now, that doesn’t mean focusing solely on who’s to blame. This process is more about learning, adapting, resolving and improving for the future.

Lastly, know yourself. I love this step especially. At FOURMIDABLE, we have recently had some staffing changes at the corporate level. This has provided us a real opportunity to consider the things I just wrote about and to look at ourselves. We are constantly evaluating our needs, the roles of the team and what they bring to the organization, focused on success and sometimes on failure.

For me personally, some recent comments by one of our janitorial team at Rosehaven Manor sums up a sound attitude and approach to building a great team. Her words say it best:

“Working for FOURMIDABLE has been great. Very respectful and happy people, who will encourage you and support your hard work.”

Encourage and support hard work. Those words and actions reflect the kind of team you want and need.