As with many other sales people, our goal is to perform well. Today, I’m bringing on George Santino so he can teach us how we can be better working on a team whether you’re the leader of the team or part of a team. He gladly shares with us his stories and experiences he has had with his 20 year- experience at Microsoft. George shares with us how you can think like an entrepreneur and how you can be better working on a team regardless of its size.
Remember that as you go higher and higher up the ranks, it’s not only your personal contribution but also your team’s. So it’s absolutely important to have a highly effective team that gets results because now your review is based on their results.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with George:
Tips for Building a High Performing Team:
- Determine what you’re building them for.
Determine what you’re trying to produce and what skills you need to help you do that. Make that assessment as to the needed skills you need from your people.
- Determine how your team’s skills will complement your skills.
Determine how your team can bring in a set of skills that you don’t have. Don’t hire a bunch of people that are just like you. You already have you so bring people in who know things you don’t know and things that people can add value from day one.
- Give your team permission to speak up.
Make sure you give your team permission to speak up. You want a team of people who can sit down on a project and be willing to express their opinions and be willing to tell you when your opinion might be incorrect. Ultimately, you’re the boss but you want a team who will question things as necessary. Give them the permission to tell you when you’re screwing up. You would rather hear it from your team than from your boss.
- Hire a diverse group of people with different perspectives and experiences that will add value to your project.
Always listen to your team’s opinions. In the end, you all deserve the right to say, “I told you so.” This fosters cohesiveness within the team that makes you more effective as a team.
- When motivating people, motivate the individuals.
A team of people is like an orchestra with different instruments. Your job is to get the best music you can get out of all the instruments so that when they come together, they make an absolutely beautiful sound.
- Create an environment that they’re empowered to voice their opinions.
Take the best ideas regardless of who is in charge or not. Build that kind of environment where people feel safe to say things.
- Always give “positive” feedback.
This means that even when they’re wrong, it’s feedback that’s going to have actionable information where people can improve. As a manager, it’s your job to give the employee enough feedback to where they can adjust their course towards exceptional performance. Be comfortable with giving feedback.
- Give feedback along the way, not after your employee’s performance.
Tell them what they’re set out to do, what they did, what obstacles they ran into, and the adjustments that need to be made in order for them to be exceptional. Tell them these along the way so they’re given the opportunity to adjust.
How You Can Help Under-Performing Employees:
- Determine the cause or what the employee lacks
Sit down with them and determine what happened or what the employee lacks. Try to discover some external factors and if there’s anything you can help them with. You have to dig in. If it’s an issue at home, give them some time off if they need that time. Or help them find some skills they lack through mentorship or internal training. First determine the cause and if there’s something you can do about it. Then put together a plan to bring about that positive change.
2 If your employee is a wrong fit for the job, help them find something else in the company where they can be successful but DO NOT transfer your problem to another team.
If they’re not going to be effective anywhere in the company, let them see that as well. An employee who is not doing a great job is unhappy and is under a tremendous amount of stress. Help them see where they can be better off.
How You Can Foster a Good Relationship with Your Boss:
- Recognize that managers have different styles.
Determine what is important to them, what they value and what do they reward.
- Determine that can you do to help him achieve those goals and objectives.
Your manager has goals. The more you can get your boss to write in his review things that you accomplished, the more indispensable you can become to that boss.
- Don’t be afraid to move on if you are going to run into incompetent bosses.
If you’re think you’ve put out your best efforts but you still find your boss to be incompetent or just a real jerk, then move on and look elsewhere. Go to a different company or different department. Life is too short to put up with that. Do not be afraid to make those changes.
Steps to Make Sure You Have a Successful Career:
- Pick the right company to go to work for.
Determine where you want to work and not just for the sake of finding a job. Do the research. Determine what these companies do, what they’re trying to accomplish and whether or not they’re a fit for you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask good questions during a job interview.
Answer the questions well obviously. But you’re making a decision too, in fact, it’s more important than the company’s because to you, this is your life and this is your career. So make sure you’re asking intelligent questions to determine if you really want the job.
- Once you get the job, truly understand what your job is.
Look into the job description. Is there an employee handbook? Are you going to be assigned a mentor? What are you supposed to be doing? What does success look like to you, to your boss, to the company. Determine what things are valued and rewarded.
- Do things better than anybody else.
Put in the time and energy. Be willing to take the scales of work-life balance towards work early in your career because you’re building a foundation that everything builds on from that point forward.
George’s Major Takeaway:
Depend on the people around you. Trust them and empower them so you can truly utilize their diverse sets of skills to build up what you’re trying to build up or sell. Have fun! Celebrate the successes. Take care of your people and reward them. Be honest with your people.
Connect with George through his website www.georgeasantino.com or connect with him on Twitter @georgeasantino and YouTube.
Check out George’s book, Get Back Up from the Streets to Microsoft Suites
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