This team working skill will change the way you see your team!
In the public imagination, entrepreneurs have a reputation for being mavericks. If you watch movies like “Joy” or “Steve Jobs,” you know the central characters are visionaries who forge their own path to success. Additionally, they're undaunted by hard work or setbacks or doubters. Unfortunately, these people are used to being a little lonely.
There’s a lot of truth to this image, especially the part about loneliness and especially during a company’s first few years of operation. More specifically, a newer company does not have the money for salaries, fledgling business owners do everything from balancing the books to answering the phones to cleaning the bathrooms.
#1 Team Working Skill: Rely on Your People
The loneliness never completely goes away. Even when you employ dozens of people, the boss still must shoulder some worries and problems alone.
Team Working Skill: Entrepreneurship Requires Networking
I edit a magazine for small business owners. Therefore, I regularly hear from men and women on the front lines of entrepreneurship. One of the most common pieces of advice they give: Your life will be much easier if you can join a team of fellow business owners. Maybe that’s a formal networking or “roundtable” group organized by your local Chamber of Commerce or business coach. But it could also be an informal group that goes out once a month for breakfast for lunch.
So the next time you’re staring down a major challenge—like a problem employee or a thorny negotiation—you’ve got a team of fellow entrepreneurs who will answer the phone and tell you how they might handle it. If you need a referral for a printer, a lawyer or a great place to take prospects for lunch, your brain trust of business leaders is there for you. Retired business owners are a great source of battle-tested wisdom.
Team Working Skill: Use a Variety of Wisdom
You might be thinking: Well, that sounds fine, but I’m in the business of (asteroid mining / banana imports / dollhouse architecture) and I don’t know anybody who’s going to understand the intricacies of my industry. More specifically, it's true, the average business owner probably won’t be able to share much advice about mineral rights in the asteroid belt. Nonetheless, you might be surprised just how common most problems are.
Heck, you might be able to share some wisdom, too.
There’s one piece of advice that’s very important to taking part in a group like this: Confidentiality is an absolute must, both on your part and anyone else who participates. Whatever you discuss among your group members, you all must promise to not discuss that outside the room, unless the person who brought up the problem gives explicit permission.
(I can’t take credit for the confidentiality advice. It’s actually one of the founding principles of the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program, a successful coaching program based here in Kansas City.)
Team Working Skill: Communicate!
While there’s a lot of benefit to the practical wisdom of other entrepreneurs, don’t underestimate how important is to have someone who can commiserate with you, too. Not that you should treat your time with fellow business owners strictly as an opportunity for you to vent or whine about your problems.
But done right, your team will help you remember that, no matter how big or strange your problems might seem, you’re not alone.
James Hart is the managing editor of Thinking Bigger Business magazine, a Kansas City-based publication for small business owners and entrepreneurs. firstname.lastname@example.org // www.ithinkbigger.com // Twitter: @JRHNews
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Thank you to James Hart for this guest blog post on team working skill. This blog is a product of People First Productivity Solutions where we build organizational strength by putting people first. Our president, Deb Calvert, is a certified executive coach and leadership development specialist, working with teams to bring out the best in everyone.