Entrepreneurs often start businesses with confidence and a lot of expectations. Unfortunately, not many new businesses live to see their second anniversary.
Good service and location, aggressive sales and marketing plus training are prerequisite to success.
For a team to be truly successful, there must be a positive culture engrained in the human capital of the business, that makes the staff go an extra mile even in the absence of supervision with the management team remaining accountable and supportive.
Such teams portray characteristics of cohesion and collaborative trust. Individual skills may not matter as much as the interaction among the team members.
Creating the feeling of safety and real value is key to the promotion of a positive culture in any organisation.
But how does leadership create an environment that promotes this?
Every leader must have a listening ear and this must be appreciated by the whole team.
As a good listener, the team leader must give full attention to his colleagues, encourage them to open up as much as they can.
Management must unwearingly communicate the goals and purpose of the organisation but, most importantly, the promise that the organisation has for its clients.
Often, there is an assumption that this is known to all with no need for regular reminders.
Furthermore, it is important that a leader is seen to be appreciative of the messenger whether he or she is a bearer of good or bad news.
They must feel safe enough to tell their leader the truth, failure to which one of the most important channels of communication will be blocked, making leadership ineffective.
The interaction among team members is key to the promotion of safety.
Leadership must ensure that the members have adequate time and space to engage with each other outside of their natural work space.
When teams interact in this manner, they share vulnerability and challenges that help promote the feeling of belonging and oneness.
The work environment should also be fun as this helps promote a sense of togetherness and safety.
It is important that leadership take advantage of the emotionally touching moments of a staff to communicate important values. Moments like the induction of newly employed staff.
The first day of a staff’s employment is crucial as it has a lasting effect on their perception of the organisation.
Management must always thank their team members at any available moment.
This creates a great feeling of safety and motivates everyone. The team members should also be encouraged to show appreciation to colleagues at work.
The hiring process has to be thorough and should not be rushed.
It must be clear that management is looking for a staff for a long-term engagement.
Due diligence must be conducted to ensure that the right person is selected to fit a position.
It should always be clear to the team that leaders are fallible and prone to making mistakes. When leaders are open to this fact, it helps build the trust and a sense of togetherness in a team.
Feedback to a staff must be fair at all times and given at an appropriate time.
In most cases a one-on-one feedback session will work better than feedback sent electronically that is bound to be misinterpreted.
Leaders are the biggest example of how things need to be done in an organisation. They set the priorities and they must remember that their actions will communicate louder than words.
There will be situations where management will have to address the effects of the "bad apples”. These are people who can bring down the positive energy in a team.
There are various ways of dealing with such people, mostly by engaging them and asking for their input and contribution and if all fails, management must get a way of getting rid of them as such people can be disastrous to a team.
All the above behaviours will work towards nurturing a positive work culture and subsequently a more satisfied clientele.
Anthony Chege general manager, Kampala Serena Hotel.