Strategies for Building and Leading a Productive Team

As your business grows, so can your team, bringing new dynamics and challenges to the workplace. As a small business owner, your role in managing individuals within your business will become both an art and a science. People are the heart of your business, and your people-related skills are crucial in becoming more efficient and preventing disturbances that can drain resources.

In this article, we’ll explore practical strategies for effectively managing a growing team, from understanding individual motivations to fostering a productive and cohesive work environment.


The evolution of your team and how to get the best from them

Small businesses often start their growth by employing friends, family, or someone they already know and trust. These relationships can be mutually beneficial and more cost-effective. These individuals are usually motivated by something your growing business offers that an unfamiliar business does not; this could be loyalty, flexibility, or the potential of greater financial reward (a stake in the company).

While these circumstances can present unique challenges, such as maintaining professional boundaries or addressing performance issues, they can usually be resolved through your experiences as an established relationship.

As your business grows, you are more likely to seek talent from outside your known circle using a recruitment agent, LinkedIn, or a recruitment website. In the early days, these individuals could be considered ‘mercenary’; after all, they are likely to have no loyalty to your business, and the whole process is transactional – payment and rewards for services delivered.

Your people management skills are critical to moving people from a mercenary mindset to establishing long-term loyalty and managing the different goals and motivations between the two employee types. However, your investment in people management will help foster a productive and cohesive work environment.


Understanding individual motivations

As your team expands, it’s essential to recognise that each team member is unique, with their own goals, motivations, and aspirations.

Understanding individual motivations is a crucial aspect of managing a growing team. Taking the time to get to know your employees personally and understand what drives them is the key to inspiring, motivating, and empowering each individual to contribute their best to the team.


Managing motivation and productivity

With the introduction of new team members, maintaining motivation and productivity becomes increasingly important. Unlike hiring individuals you know personally, new hires may lack an established loyalty or attachment to the business.

To help establish loyalty and familiarity with goals and expectations (for both you and your employees), you can implement the following:

  • Team meetings where you outline the current position of the business, your short, medium and long-term goals
  • Hold regular review meetings with each employee, during which you can discuss individual expectations, goals, training opportunities, and potential progression


Building a positive work culture

Creating a positive work culture is critical to retaining top talent and fostering a sense of belonging within your team. You should lead by example and cultivate an environment of open communication, trust, and collaboration.

To help establish this, you can:

  • Create a means of recognising achievements, such as a rewards scheme or a simple acknowledgement during a company announcement
  • Organise away days to help establish team familiarity outside of the office or to ensure members meet up if you work remotely


Effective communication and feedback

Clear communication is essential for managing a growing team effectively. It’s essential to communicate expectations, goals, and responsibilities to all team members.

Regular feedback and constructive evaluations will help employees grow and improve their roles. Encouraging open dialogue and active listening is crucial to address any concerns or challenges.


Conflict resolution

Conflict is inevitable in any workplace. Establishing a process for addressing conflicts promptly and constructively is essential to overcome conflict in the workplace quickly.

It’s sometimes best to allow employees to address disputes directly with the individuals involved; this will help them self-regulate future conflicts and help employees learn boundaries and respect for one another. The goal here is to create mutual understanding and healthy team growth. It should not heavily impact productivity.

If a conflict escalates and has a negative or noticeable impact on productivity, as a leader, be prepared to mediate disputes when necessary and facilitate constructive dialogue to find mutually beneficial resolutions.


How ETC can help

Managing a growing team in a small business environment can be challenging, but it also presents a unique opportunity for personal growth and development. With the right strategies in place, you can manage your team effectively and enhance your skills and capabilities.

If you need help managing individuals, finding the right motivation strategies, or addressing team conflict, please get in touch.

If you are new to ETC, why not contact us for a free new business review? We’ll spend two hours with you, giving you professional coaching and will leave you with actions for immediate implementation.