As a business leader, regardless of your industry, you can maximize your successes by surrounding yourself with an experienced, knowledgeable, motivated, high-performing team.  While a successful business leader must possess certain skills, knowledge and personality traits, it’s not enough to “just” be visionary or strategic – you must also consider and implement certain metrics and motivators to create a winning team.

For instance, set specific goals and objectives and be clear about your expectations.  Ambiguous guidelines – like you want your team to perform “well” – are too vague of a benchmark.  What, exactly, do you need them to accomplish?  Have you clearly communicated your expectations?  Next, determine what will motivate your team and drive the positive behaviors that you’re envisioning to elevate your business wins. Follow these three key steps to create a winning team:

  • Learn about primal instincts.  I’m not an electrician, but I can imagine an electrician’s primal instincts, driving force and ultimate motivation.  That electrician wants to attract more customers, and can do that by showing they’re the best from a price and quality standpoint.  Since the electrician gets paid on completed work, his primal instinct is to get the job, do it well, get paid and move on to the next customer.  A real estate agent’s primal instincts are a bit different.  Since they get paid when they facilitate a sale, that’s what drives their behavior.  And my primal instinct as a property manager is to collect as much income as possible, which is done through rent collections.  If my team doesn’t collect all of the rent, we earn less money.  The vast majority of people in this world are motivated by money.  So, I could encourage my team to work harder to collect the rent checks – and fill any vacancies – by paying them straight commission, as some property managers do.  While I’m sure I’ve hired a group of great people, I don’t want them to be so motivated by earning this commission money that they quickly fill apartments with possibly-under-qualified tenants.  (That would just lead to another set of problems!)  Instead, I pay my team a combination of salary and commission.  The salary reassures them that they have a steady stream of income and inspires them to always vet applicants carefully (vs. filling the units with ANYONE because they’re desperate for the commission).  But I’ve found that the commission element is still a good motivator, preventing complacency.  My team knows that as they contribute to my successful business, their earnings will increase accordingly.
  • Learn about KPI.  KPI or Key Performance Indicators focus on metrics, showing  how success is measured in a particular industry.  Say I hire someone to handle my public relations efforts.  This person could be smart, dynamic and likeable, but if they don’t get any positive media stories placed on my behalf, it’s not a winning relationship.  As a property manager, I have weekly meetings with my team to discuss key performance indicators.  For instance, I have clear expectations about rent collection, which everyone on my team understands.  I expect a certain (high) percentage of rent collected within the first five days of the month, most of the outstanding rent collected by the 10th of the month, and 100% collected by month’s end.  By keeping a close eye on these metrics, I can ensure that my team is delivering results as expected.  Also, these metrics help me immediately spot any problems, so I can address them right away.  Watching your KPI will help you better manage your team and your business.
  • Learn leadership lessons.  Any leadership course or guidebook will list the attributes that great leaders should have – vision, compassion, skill, charisma, the ability to inspire, etc., which are certainly important traits. Here’s the thing, though.  You could be the most charismatic, inspirational, engaging person in the world, but if you don’t have a firm handle on your company’s key metrics and your team’s key motivators, you won’t be a successful leader.   Yes, it’s important to have certain leadership characteristics, but it’s also critical to understand and implement these metrics and motivators.  Combine all three of these factors and you’ve got a winning recipe.

Creating a winning team is instrumental in your company’s success.  Keep a careful eye on key performance indicators/business metrics as well as the motivators and driving forces that will elevate your team’s performance. Then, when you demonstrate how experienced, charismatic and visionary you are, that’s just icing on the cake.