Words and actions are the key
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
– Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple
You can have the best recipes and the best location, but if you can’t build a great team then you will never be able to serve your customers the right way. Hiring is now a skill in itself, as we’ve discussed in this space. But once the hiring is done and your team is assembled, how do you build your team up?
Team-building begins at the top. Everyone is always looking and watching you in every situation, from how you handle a customer complaint to what you say about that customer behind the scenes. They watch how you interact with other team members when praise is deserved and how you handle a team member when you hold them accountable for their actions.
As a leader, your words are the most powerful tool you have. Be mindful of who you are talking to when it is regarding other employees. Nothing divides and erodes a team quicker than gossip. Certain conversations may not seem like gossip to you, but those chats will not always be interpreted the same way, particularly if anything sounds like a criticism.
Therefore, a long-lasting way to build a team is talking great about people when they’re not around. Words always come back, so if you are talking up staffers, it changes the perception of that individual. It’s important to be genuine, but specific praise is great when warranted, such as: “Jane does a great job closing the store each night. I love that she cleans out the garbage cans.” When that gets back to Jane, she feels a sense of pride that helps build up the team.
Along with words, your actions have sway when team-building. Do you walk the talk? Integrity goes a long way. You can put up a “rah-rah, go team!” exterior, but if you do not act authentically and do as you say, it is all for nothing.
When it comes to actual events and team-building exercises, these are some of my favorites:
- I love having team meals. Think of the bonding that occurs when families sit around and enjoy a meal. The same type of connection can develop for your team.
- If you have ever been to Pizza Expo, you are bound to run into my team. We always bring along a huge crew. And not just our management team. It excites staffers to see what the industry is up to nationally.
- Contests between staff and stores build camaraderie. Any opportunity that we have to create a fun contest for our staff — we do it. And the bigger the prize, the better the success of the contest.
- We often take the team to sporting events together — with a meal first, of course. Watching a competition together when everyone is cheering for the same result creates a good energy.
And there’s more! In our next installment, we’ll discuss the contests and employee incentives that we implement to keep our staff energized and excited to come to work.
NICK BOGACZ is the founder and president of Caliente Pizza & Draft House in Pittsburgh. Instagram: @caliente_pizza