As the year comes to a close, you are probably finding yourself recapping what you and your team achieved in 2017. And while you may be considering many points of success and achievement, I’m sure your areas of desired improvement and goals for 2018 are just as long. This can either make you a pessimist or a good leader. How you communicate this to your team will be the deciding factor.
Whether 2017 was filled with missed quotas or benchmark successes, as the leader of your team, YOU have the power to create change and move into 2018 with positivity and purpose.
Here are four ideas to do this well
- Make time to listen to your team.
Sure this might not be your usual time for team reviews, but there is something about the close of the calendar year that has everyone reflecting and thinking ahead. Capitalize on this natural thought process and make time to sit down with your sales team, or at least 1-2 of your strongest and weakest players. And instead of using this as an opportunity for you to share what you want from them in 2018, come prepared with a few questions and just listen. Here are a few ideas:
- What was your greatest success in 2017?
- What was the biggest challenge you faced?
- What would make your job easier and more rewarding in 2018?
- How do you hope to grow in 2018? How can I help?
- How can we serve our client better in 2018?
- Prove you were listening and RESPOND.
Listening is the easy part. Now what your team really needs is for you to respond—to act on their pain points and do what you can as their leader to equip them for the year ahead. Are there tools they need? More trainings? A better understanding of the solution they are selling? Make these things happen. Sure, they come with a cost, but investing in your sales team will be the best decision you make moving into the new year. As their leader, it is your role to equip and support and lead – this is how you best serve them, and thus serve your clients (through them). It can be easy to lose sight of this when the year is closing and everything gets busy. Take time to sit down and plan how you can provide the needs of your team before January comes and everyone is wrapped up in sales kickoffs.
- Thank each person individually.
Each person. Even your weakest team member. Even the team member with which you tend to disagree. Look them in the eye and thank them for being on your team and shake their hand. Ask them what their plans are for the holidays and listen to their answer.
Your team is your responsibility, and caring for them and serving them should be of upmost importance.
- Host a holiday lunch.
If you ran out of time in 2017 to make this happen, shoot for early 2018. And if you are unable to get off site, gather in a meeting room with easy catered food. Use this as another opportunity to show your gratitude for your team. No need to make it complicated with cheesy games or cheap gifts they are going to toss in the trash on the way out (who really wants another coffee cup with your company’s logo?), just plan a simple time to share a meal with your team, and take 10-15 minutes at the end to share the vision for 2018. Give them a reason to come back after the holidays—a vision they can get behind. If possible, share some company insights and remind them why your company is worth working for.
You have the power to launch your team into the new year with positivity and excitement. And, most importantly, you have the power to equip them to improve personally and professionally in 2018. Step up to the plate.