It's tough being the little guy, you have to fight harder for what you want and work smarter to get results. On the flipside, however, the payoff is bigger and the results can be greater. This maxim is true in life and thus can be extrapolated to small businesses and small teams. Those in charge of small teams may look up to larger companies with a sense of jealousy, as they have the time and the resources to motivate their larger teams to get results.
What small team managers do not realize is that once you have mastered the art of making the most out of a small team, the successes can be grander while minimizing costs, and creating a sense of camaraderie and loyalty that no large team or organization can match
There's nothing better than having a group of people who are on the same trajectory as you. Their goals are aligned with yours and their passions are similar. In a big company, it is almost impossible to curate such a team. With so many people doing so many different jobs, it’s difficult to gain that sense of fraternity. However, with a small team, it’s not only possible but easy to build and straightforward to manage. That being said, there are ways to get more out of your small team, maximize results, and foster a happy workplace.
The overarching objective is to create a team culture that treats every member as an equal, indispensable part of the team and company. If the corporate culture is positive it will return magnificent results and happy employees. One way to accomplish this is to create an equal playing field where no team member is above or below another in terms of rank. Even though they may have different positions within the company, or on the team, they are equals. For example, rather than having employees present their ideas by rank, you can follow alphabetical order for presentations and feedback.
Even if every member has a different direct task or job that they’re working on, it’s important for the whole team to have a common goal. Something that they are aiming to achieve via their different tasks. It’s vital that this goal is driven home quite often so that team members don’t lose sight of what they're working toward. Imbue in each team member a sense that the team's goal is as important as their own personal goals.
Top-down management does not work in small teams. Everyone needs to be on the same level when it comes to communicating with each other. Yes, there may be times when delegating or directing is needed, but it should be done delicately.
All it takes is genuinely listening to team members’ thoughts, ideas, questions or even complaints and responding to them how you would want to be responded to.
Last, but most definitely not least, is to always invest in your small team members’ success and remember to reward them. To invest in them means providing guidance and training, as well as encouraging them to take on large and inventive tasks in order to achieve the company's big-picture goals.
To reward them means to thank them, to praise good work, to incentivize them and to reward them with perks or bonuses. Doing this will create a positive spiral. When a team member does something great and gets rewarded, he or she will be motivated to perform at the same standard in the future.
The tips outlined above work in accordance with each other. In order to get the most out of your small team, you must not neglect one for the sake of another. It takes a bit of planning and active participation to make your small team formidable, but the results will be well worth the work.