When we work solo it’s easy to feel like we don’t have a team to support us. Sure, we have people who we contract to do work, various types of suppliers and even sometimes people who may work voluntarily to help us (family members, friends etc). But it doesn’t feel quite the same as if they were actually employed by our business does it?
But … why not?
Why shouldn’t we treat people who work with us in various capacities as part of our team, just like employees? Just because you are a soloist doesn’t mean you are alone. In fact, I think if you treat your contractors and suppliers as part of your team, they will be more committed to you and what you do in every way.
So how do we go about building a strong team?
To me, there are five key strategies that will help to build a strong team feeling with anyone who works with you, regardless of how the actual employment relationship may be structured.
1. Be deeply inclusive in your communication
This means to include all members of your support network in on communication. Make sure you introduce key people to each other and explain the relationship you have. Be glowing in your explanations and the role each plays in your business and your success.
2. Be sincerely appreciative and respectful of all that they do
Never take anyone for granted. Even though you are paying them for their services, be appreciative of what they do. Point out what you like about working with them and the specific things they do that you value deeply. Be glowing in your praise and respectful of them in every way.
3. Share your visions, dreams and aspirations
Let everyone know what your big picture is. This makes it easier for them to understand why you do what you do, how they can help and support you and what drives you nuts. It isn’t their dream, so don’t expect them to be as passionate as you, but let them know your plans and they will feel a part of them – and rightly so.
4. Be there in good times and bad
We all go through tough times so make sure you’re there for your team members when things aren’t great for them. Be understanding, let them know when you are going through your own tough times, don’t make it one sided. They need to know you will be there for them, and you need to know that they will be there for you. Make the entire relationship less conditional and deeper.
5. Invest in the relationship
This is simple: invest time to get to know your team members, just as you would an employee. What are they passionate about, what do they worry about, what are their dreams and aspirations? Invest time, buy some small gifts to say thank you from time to time, praise them openly, refer other business to them and make sure that every week you are doing something to grow your relationship and to make it more meaningful all round.
And there’s one more thing I want to add to this list: ensure you give a little when you need to. If someone gets something wrong or fails to deliver, and it is out of character, don’t ruin a great relationship over one mistake. We are all human. Think long term and be forgiving when it’s right to be forgiving.
Remember, just because you fly solo, doesn’t mean you fly alone. Treat those people who help you and your business to do what it does as a team and they will go the extra mile when you need them to. This will also help you to feel less isolated and more supported in every way.
Who are the members of your team? Give them a shout out in the comments below!