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I was reflecting on my business earlier this morning, and feeling some satisfaction about how many projects my team has completed this week- and was feeling thankful for how steadily they work and how well we work together. Each week, I learn about more capabilities that they have, and I feel more and more excited about the possibilities for my business- and my clients- as my team becomes even more skilled and more efficient.

One of my clients was asking me today about managing my team; how I do it, and what my guiding principles are. I thought this was a very intriguing question, because managing my team well is very important to me, and yet I’d never stopped to think about what principles shape my interaction with them.

This question feels timely, as I’ve had some conversations recently with business owners who have large teams, but who are suffering from very high expenses and not enough productivity from their team members. While I don’t imagine my way is the only way to run a team, it does work very well for me and us- and I’ll share here in case it’s helpful for you too.

So I’d say that the biggest principle for me in terms of managing my team is that I am devoted to them. What that means to me is that I try and make sure they have all that they need to do their work as a top priority. I begin each day first by reviewing all my communication with my team, and by making sure I answer their questions and get them what they need. It’s important to me that they feel like our communications are clear, timely, and helpful at moving them forward. After communicating with them, I then turn to my most important projects, and work on moving those ahead. I check email throughout the day, and respond to my team members as quickly as I can. It’s high priority for me that they be able to continue their work with as few gaps and delays as possible.

I also strive to be as clear, precise, and complete in my communications as I can. This means I give them clear instructions, with defined outcomes, and all the information they need to begin the task, which often includes login information, links, and so on. I try to keep our communication efficient, so that we’re able to have as few emails as possible on each issue.

In short, I spend a certain amount of time each day making sure my team can implement and achieve. I do this because I know when my team members achieve, my business productivity is multiplied many, many times.

I also try to give advance notice on projects and initiatives, so everyone is aware of what is coming up and what will need to be done. This feels important so that everyone can plan their workloads accordingly.

I know some entrepreneurs for whom creative vision is everything. They are constantly generating new projects, accelerating from idea to idea, and their team members are running behind, trying to keep up. The problem with this is that these types of businesses often end up lopsided; where the CEO is wearing too many roles, because there is never enough time or space to train the team properly so they can actually do their jobs. To me, this seems incredibly stressful- you’re investing in salaries, and not getting enough results.  You are in a constant state of fire-fighting, because you’re always trying to fix what just broke, instead of having the opportunity to be thoughtful and strategic with how you invest your business resources.

What seems to work best for us is visioning, with a strong focus on implementation. If I had to summarize, I’d say that my guiding principle is one of devotion to my team. I want them to have what they need to get their work done well, because I know when they are working well, my vision becomes reality.