Vince Lombardi, the great coach of the Green Bay Packers who led the team to win nine American Football seasons, once said, “Leaders aren’t born; they are made….”

I’m inclined to share that view.

It takes time and patience to develop effective leadership skills and build a successful team. I want to share with you some steps for creating an effective and profitable team.

1: Have a clear vision

Clarity inspires confidence in what needs to be done and in the leader. If your team is clear on the objectives, outcomes, and expectations, you will engender more commitment.

 2: Learn the values of every member of your team:

Values shape who you are and direct why you do what you do. Each of us has a unique set of values, which are with us at birth and stay with us throughout our lives.

There are seven natural values: Sensuality, Empathy, Wealth, Power, Aesthetics, Commitment and Knowledge. As you build your team, understand how these values relate to each team member and use this knowledge to learn how to get the best from them.

3: Communicate, communicate …communicate:

Lead by example and create an environment of open communication where there is respect for everyone’s views. Encourage feedback and openness without recriminations. I recall working with a director who pretended to encourage communication; he looked at you intently and smiled at the right time, but in the end, he listened only to himself.

If, as the leader, you dislike constructive feedback or see negative comments as an attack on your sense of self-worth or identity, or cannot bring themselves to know that they may be in the wrong and cannot admit their faults.

4: Play to your strength and the strengths of the team:

As you develop your team, look for people whose strength’s complement yours. Working to your strengths is a great way to save time, reduce frustration, and create a sense of empowerment, which would allow your team to perform at their best.

5: Gratitude and appreciation:

Acknowledgement and praise go a long way. Be committed to recognising when a team member goes the extra mile –  working late, doing tasks that do not fall within their job description. Little things mean a lot, and people are motivated by a sense of appreciation and value.

If you are not prepared to say thank you, you will not develop an effective and harmonious team; they will work with you but not with genuine commitment.

6: Pick your team carefully:

Team dynamics and being able to work together is much more important than any one individual. The behaviours, mannerisms and overall interpersonal skills that a team member displays with colleagues or your clients will play an essential part in customer and team relationships. Select the people that can contribute, challenge and add value.

7: Commit to helping the team develop their personal and business skills

Create an environment of learning and development where staff have the opportunity to learn and grow. If team members express weakness or fear regarding a task, then mentor, coach or provide appropriate training and support to help them succeed in the role.

Action Exercises:

Here are three things you can do immediately:

1) Complete a values profile of your team to understand their values and how to motivate them extrinsically. Seek out a good coach that focuses on team development to help you work to their strengths.

2) Develop your listening skills – Practice listening and resist the urge to interrupt the speaker. Focus on what is being said, no matter how uncomfortable this may feel. If you are receiving feedback, see this as an opportunity for growth; sometimes, your most significant learning opportunities are when you hear tough criticism instead of sycophantic platitudes.

3) Use Toastmaster’s tried and trusted method of giving feedback – commend, recommend and commend. Start with what they did well; make a recommendation as to how it could have been better, and then end with another commendation