Small Business Leadership: 5 Steps for Building Effective Teams

small business teamsFor even the smallest businesses, it is necessary to develop strong teams of employees. Teams are the building blocks of an organization, and their success directly impacts overall productivity and growth. For those who may be new to leading a group of team members, there is a lot to learn. If you have recently become a manager, or foresee holding a future management role, these strategies can help your team achieve the highest performance possible.

1.       Establish Open Lines of Communication

First and foremost, make it clear that employees should always address you with concerns or questions. A team cannot function properly if there are outstanding issues to be addressed, so let your team know that your door is always open. Additionally, ask everyone to copy each other on all communication. It is beneficial for everyone to have an awareness of how the current tasks fit into the long-term goal.


2.       Combine Strengths for Maximum Performance

Just because you’re a manager does not mean you’ve hand-picked the members of your team. You may find that some people are strong in one area, while other people have expertise in something completely different. Chances are, no one is perfect, so focus instead of the strengths that do exist. If you can assign tasks according to skill level, you can essentially optimize your team’s performance.


3.       Focus on Results, Not Tasks

As a manager, it is important to give your team members some space to show you what they can do. No one likes a manager who oversees every little detail, and employees sometimes perform better when their manager takes a hands-off approach. Your team will know you trust them, which increases accountability and motivation. Moreover, you should concentrate on whether or not you are hitting your goals, which is hard to do if you try to keep track of every step in the process.


4.       Leverage Competition

While you don’t want to pit employees against one another, encourage some competition by getting the team to beat their own score, whatever that may be. A little competition like this drives productivity, keeps team members engaged, and will actually help everyone be more excited about their work.


5.       Break Down Barriers

Teams are often made up of very diverse people, and this can create communication barriers or misunderstandings. Help to break down these barriers whenever possible, and make it clear that a culture of respect is valued above all. Diversity can encourage innovative thinking, and some of the best ideas come from different perspectives and backgrounds.



Lindsay Traiman is a writer for Dale Carnegie Training, a company founded in 1912 by one of America’s most influential speakers and leaders. Today, the company offers corporate training and helps businesses and individuals achieve their goals. 

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