September 19, 2019

Connecting With Your Team: The Secret Sauce

September 19, 2019

Robyn Seglem, CPA, CGMA

An Ignite Blog By: Robyn Seglem, CPA, CGMA
Director of Accounting, LK Architecture, Inc.

Sugar coating the hard stuff doesn’t lead to improvement or growth. On the other hand, tough-love risks coming across harsh and unapproachable.

Leading a team demands many levels of communication. So, what exactly is the right balance between sweet and salty?

What is the secret sauce?

Strive to connect with your team in a way that builds stronger, more cohesive relationships while still accomplishing the goals of the whole team. Be the leader your team wants to come to, not the boss your team avoids. You can accomplish this in several ways but here are a few tactics that encourage progress without discouraging morale:

Successful communication is always a two-way street. If the leader is doing all the talking, team members tune out. As a leader you are mentoring, coaching and being a role model for your team, without a separation between you and your employees. You should connect with your team in ways where they experience that you are one of them, not just evoking an illusion that you are. Simply listening is an essential element of communication.

If time permits, spend 10-15 minutes per day communicating with members of your team. Don’t reserve your communication for only when you expect them to do something. Let the subjects of your communication encompass all aspects of your team members’ lives - not just work.

To get your team members to commit and engage, one of the most effective catalysts is mutual respect. Mutual respect doesn’t just benefit the leader, it benefits everyone in the team. No other leadership behavior leaves a lasting and more positive influence on your team. In my observation, being treated with respect is more important to the spirit of the team members than recognition and appreciation by any other means. Understanding this is very different from demonstrating it by your actual leadership behavior. Utilize these insights to reinforce what you’re doing well and gather candid feedback from your colleagues on how you communicate and treat other people.

One of the biggest morale boosters is letting your team know that their voices are heard. Take time to ask your team members how they feel about their work or if they have any standing concerns. Doing so can alleviate potential problems and give your team the opportunity to feel like they are an integral and important part of the company. Your team is the force responsible for executing your directives and if you keep them happy and motivated, you’ll have a much easier time achieving both your long and short-term goals.

Ultimately, connecting with your team is important because it improves the health and engagement of your team and makes you a stronger leader. Showing your team that you’re on their side helps build mutual trust and respect, which allows them to feel heard, appreciated and valued. Part of building a good relationship with your team is showing them that they can depend on you. Two-way trust and respect make it easier for you to facilitate open and honest communication, which allows your team members to feel empowered to take risks and be less afraid of failure. All these factors combined allow your team members to feel valued and overall make for a happier, more connected and engaged team. Remember, as a leader, you have the power to create positive and successful experiences in the lives of your team members. Take the initiative and connect.

A great opportunity to connect with your team is coming up on Friday, October 4; the KSCPA Awards Luncheon at the Grand Street Café in Lenexa! Encourage your team to attend and mark off a couple hours of your day (11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) to boost your team morale as you showcase your support for your community of bright accounting athletes. Find laughter and motivation with keynote speaker, Devin Henderson as he delivers a comedic all-star presentation complete with star-studded soccer tricks! It’s a FREE opportunity to connect for all KSCPA members. 

The Ignite blog is an official publication of the Kansas Society of CPAs. Copyright 2019.