Ok, before you all think i’ve finally lost it, hear me out. Ok, maybe there is a chance that I have lost it. My wife keeps telling me that as I mumble while writing this blogpost in front of my monitor.
Alright I don’t want to get canceled. Hindsight is 20/20 so I guess we will find out whether or not this blogpost hits people negatively, ha (nervous laugh).
Jokes apart, I truly believe that every team, doesn’t matter sales or success should have some ground rules. I for instance go through those rules with every single new hire that joins my team. I have a dark mode Notion doc with all the goodies to help ensure that the new members of the team have everything it takes to get up and running.
The first thing we go over after the intro is done are the rules and expectations. It’s starting to sound awfully a lot like a dictatorship, Syed (says the inner voice). You know I should listen to that voice of reason…
I need to work on my SEO skills and come up with better titles, every team should have rules? Sounds like i’m about to join the Sopranos.
Alright, back to the subject matter. I have a concentration level of a teaspoon.
So as a manager, one of the things that really helped me cultivate a good culture inside of my team is making sure that I give everyone all the tools that they need to succeed but at the same time be super transparent and straight up with them about what ix expected of them.
No matter what anybody tells you, the team culture is more important than strategy. Without culture you have people working in a group, probably in form of silos. You. do. not. want. that. ¿Entiendes?
You know it’s not even fun to work in an environment like that, plus you probably won’t enjoy managing a team that does not have a strong culture. But to have that culture you have to build that culture and to build that culture you need to have set guidelines for what that culture looks like.
And yes siree Bob, you guessed it, that culture comes from you as a manager. Well, for the most part anyway.
Now, before I go ahead and share the 6 rules that I have. Please remember that you need to create rules that fit your company and style of leadership. For remote companies the rules would be a lot different than that of companies that work in person, in an office. So use these as a guideline and not as ten commandments carried by Moses from Mount Sinai. For those of you who didn’t get the reference, simply put, take them with a grain of salt and pick and choose the ones you like and discard the ones you don’t. I meant it when I said I wasn’t a thought leader…
So first things first, my favorite.
I love it when my team takes initiative and does things without waiting for permission from my end. I encourage my team to make sure that they do what they feel like they need to do to hit their targets. I believe that we should hire people for their skillset, if we hired a skilled person and start telling them what and how to do things, that really is not doing justice to the person you just hired and yourself for that matter.
Taking initiative means that you don’t wait for permission to try out a new strategy to reach out to a prospect, try a new way of qualifying leads, creating a pricing proposal, you get the gist.
Think something isn’t working well with the current process? Speak up and propose solutions.
Don’t know something reach out to the people who you believe have the answers and keep moving forward. Propose new ideas, go ahead and create new email sequences that you believe will work best for the prospects and share the results with the team.
Simply put: Take action without waiting for directions.
I know this is simpler said than done, because a lot of people do need direction and that’s totally fine. What I truly believe though is that if you give people enough space and encourage them to do things on their own, they will not only improve as a employee but also learn a new skill. They will be able to troubleshoot their way out of things and that is an invaluable skill.
I work remotely. I used to work in an office and believe me there was no shortage of banter in our daily lives, the sales team was like a frat house, we played hard and worked really really hard as well.
Working remotely for me has required a mental shift. You often end up working in a silo, especially if you are an individual contributor and/or work async because all your team is based out of different countries, you reach out to people if and when need be but other than that you just cruise your way through the day.
Look not everyone likes to slack all day long and that’s totally fine. But as a manager it is a good idea to make sure that when you are proposing new ideas, or setting new strategies in place, that you are over communicating the living hell out of everything. It’s important to make sure that everyone understands what you’re saying and have all their questions answered.
Over communication is crucial in times of crises, as well as in times of major changes. In these cases, regular updates, check-ins, and follow-ups help you avoid any misunderstandings.
Now you have to strike a balance because it’s easy to mess up the (over) communication side of things, you need to make sure you reiterate things again and again but there is a hard stop.
The goal with over communicating is to make sure that nobody has any doubts regarding the projects or any new strategy you want to test out. If everybody understands well what needs to be done, the projects will move forward in a blazing fast pace. If there is something that is unclear, I try to give detailed answers and/or record short videos explaining the answers. It’s best to give more information regarding a question a person might have than to give laconic answers.
Remember you are not in an office, where you can have a chat about something at the break time, communication really is key to ensure that your team is crystal clear about the tasks at hand.
Scary stuff ha 😅
If you didn’t know this already, I got news for you. You’re not perfect!
Neither am I. We all make mistakes, we all can improve and do better. We will not improve however if we’re not open to feedback. You should always strive to create an environment where the team is welcome to give you feedback on something that you as a manager could do better. The feedback of course goes both ways.
But to give feedback, always a good idea to set up some guidelines on how to give feedback. Here are some that I ensure that my team understands and operates with in mind when giving feedback.
- Make it constructive – Provide context, don’t be harsh, and propose how the person can do better, at the same time using a positive tone of voice. I don’t want to have my team hurling curse words at each other. Respect ✊ everyone you work with.
- Don’t make it a shit sandwich – Give feedback straight up, you don’t have to lace it with compliments, call it how it is, we are all adults here, and being straightforward saves everyone’s time and helps resolve the issue at hand a lot faster. Be direct.
- Avoid feedback overload – Focus on one or two things at a time, don’t make the feedback overbearing. If you give too many comments in one session, chances are the other person will zone out. Focus on the thing at hand, give feedback regarding it by being concise.
- Respect your colleague’s feedback – I have yet to meet someone that likes to be critiqued (maybe you’re unique). But, feedback is important since it can help us grow as people and a team. If someone is giving you feedback, respect that feedback, think over it and how you can improve rather than taking it negatively.
Always try and create a positive environment where everyone in your team can excel and become better versions of themselves.
Do your job and do it well
You know this might come as a surprise to everyone but ultimately we all are hired to do a job. The objective behind this rule is to ensure that everyone understands that they need to do a job well done.
You shouldn’t have to tell people how to do their job. Give them the all the right tools, training and always be there for them. Other than that give them the autonomy to do work how they see fit. They understand what the targets are, now its up to them how they go about achieving those goals.
Everyone has a different style and way of achieving a certain target, or going about their work and that’s perfectly fine. There are more than one way to succeed.
Ok, maybe if they are using carrier pigeons to send messages to prospects, then do intervene. Crappy dad jokes… Can’t help myself.
Back to the doing the job well done part. I’m sure as a manager you do not want to tell the team constantly how to do their job and i’m positive the team does not want to hear you tell them how to do their job all the time. Hence the guidelines.
You know, being a manager for so long I can tell you one thing that is probably the worst part of my job, and that is having to tell people that they are doing a less than satisfactory job, it does not give me any pleasure. Sure it comes with the job, but it’s so much easier when everyone (including me) shows up to work ready to go after the goals. It creates a better environment where everyone performs.
It’s always a good idea to give everything your best shot and get it right the first time around.
You fudged up? (trying to keep it PG 13).
Happens to us all. We all make mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Don’t try to blame it on the circumstance or point fingers. Understand what the issue was, how you can do it better the next time around, and my personal favorite, walk it off.
If you’ve promised to deliver something (project or a tas) by a certain date or time, doesn’t matter how small the task is, deliver it. If you can’t deliver it on time, explain it to the party you are suppose to deliver it to why you can’t and set a new date/time and deliver it. Get it done and take ownership.
It’s critical if you are to succeed professionally, to always take ownership. Learn from mistakes and improve, I promise you sky is the limit with this attitude.
Finally the last rule.
Work hard and don’t be an A**hole
You know, i’m a firm believer in the fact that every good manager wants their team to succeed. I also know that the team members perform best in an environment where they feel comfortable and can see themselves grow.
If you want everyone to go all in and strive to hit a common target. Everyone in the team has to show up, put in the work, put in the hours and I promise you that the results will show. And it all starts with the manager, managers have to lead the way and team will follow.
Yes, the last part. Perhaps one the most crucial ones if you want your team to succeed. No tolerating of dick-ish behavior. This is one rule that I make sure that everyone in my team understands well. I do not care where you are from, what color your skin is, your religion, I believe everyone should be treated with a certain level of respect, irrespective of their background.
Team members cannot put each other down or hurl cuss words to everyone, this is and shouldn’t be acceptable. Everyone should treat their team with respect, be nice, helpful, be positive and lift everyone around them rather than putting them down.
Sugar is better than vinegar. Trust me.
So there you have it folks. These are the rules that have helped me built phenomenal teams in several different companies. These set of rules and guidelines work for me, will they work for you? Maybe, maybe not. Use them as a north star and come up with values that you associate strongly with. I promise you the results will be great.
A team is only as good as everyone working in it. It’s helpful if everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal as oppose to going in different directions. Establishing guidelines is a good first step to getting closer to having a great environment where everyone grows and people actually look forward to coming to work.