Unless you live on a deserted island, you’re on a team. Your family is your team, your friends are your team, and in business, your coworkers are most definitely your team. Business teams are the trickiest type because it’s often a nonelective group. It’s pretty easy to invest in your spouse or best friend because you chose them, but it’s not so easy to give the same level of intentionality to an employer or employees who make you want to hit up the coffee stand five times every Monday morning.
However, investing in your business team is one of the best things you can do to generate a financial and emotional return. Not only will a positive team environment create a stronger company culture, but it will also improve the way you function together on all fronts. Billionaire and entrepreneur, Marcus Lemonis, says that people, process, and product are the three keys to a business’s success, and it’s no coincidence that people are the first on the list. So, here are five easy ways to invest in your team, no matter your business or your role:
1. Find out their goals
If you know what someone is working towards, you know how to motivate them. Understanding the intent of those around you is especially crucial if you are a business owner or team leader. Understanding the goals of your people helps you to decide how to use them best. More than anything, making an effort to know someone’s why reminds them that you care about more than their physical presence or a dollar sign on your payroll.
2. Spend quality time together
Every team can benefit from a little R&R. Go to happy hour, plan a pool day, or just grab lunch with members of your team. Spend time doing things together that have nothing to do with work. You’ll learn about each other’s likes and dislikes and might even realize that you have more in common than you think.
3. Don’t ignore the elephants
Nothing is more detrimental to a healthy company culture than unspoken grievances. If you notice the elephant in the room, take a moment to address it, either one on one or in a small group. Make sure the people in the conversation are the only ones who need to be in the conversation and keep the details private. The goal for any conflict is to find resolution and build trust; you don’t want your coworker to feel like you’ve talked to everyone else in the office before you came to them.
4. Utilize talent
This concept is also known as delegating, but I like to think of it as assigning tasks with a little thought behind it. Don’t give someone a responsibility because it needs to get done; give someone a job because it’s in their wheelhouse. Utilizing the talent of those around you goes hand in hand with knowing the goals of your people because continually giving someone a task that doesn’t allow her to flourish will drag the whole team down, too.
5. Compliment regularly 
Whether you are an employer or an employee, thank people for everything they do, no matter how small. Nothing bad has ever happened because of too many thank-yous. Making other people feel valued and noticed is no small thing, and it’s hard to let someone down when you know they care about you.
Team building can easily get overlooked in the stress of the day-to-day. Instead of falling prey to this stereotype, challenge yourself to be the kind of co-worker who radically encourages and challenges others. Don’t do it for a promotion or a bonus. Do it because every positive return starts with an investment.