Building effective teams and ensuring performance and productivity is a function of leadership behaviour and communication, as is demonstrated by the following tips from both established and rising business leaders. Leadership is as much about empowering staff as it is about “taking charge”.



According to Warren Buffett, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Staff need to be adequately prepared for the task at hand, not be thrown in the deep end.

You will get more out of your employees if you provide them with the right equipment and facilities, says founder Luc Pettett.

“I’m a big believer in giving staff absolutely everything they need to do their job: iPads, the best iMacs, extra monitors, a comfortable chair, great coffee,” says Pettett. “We don’t see any point in hiring a new employee and then slowing them down with budget limitations.”



At online retailer HardToFind, co-founder Erica Stewart says her tip for motivating employees is to give them the chance to learn and upskill.

“This means the team are constantly learning new things, which keep them interested and engaged.”

The approach has paid off for HardToFind, with a number of employees moving into new roles within the business based on the new skills they’ve picked up.

“Our seller support manager is now our operations manager because she showed an interest and aptitude in accounting and team management,” says Stewart.

This technique will also reduce turnover as employees move up the ranks rather than leaving to
progress their careers.


Fostering Team Spirit

For Mike Frizell, founder of Pet Circle, the key to getting the most out of his employees is regular catch-ups, whether formally or informally.

“We believe that it is important to recognise achievements of individuals and the company on a regular basis,” says Frizell.

“Our full body of staff meets on a monthly basis. Big wins are shared with the team, various departments provide updates on what they’re working on and what’s changed since the last meeting, and individuals are called out for achievements and hard work … It helps unify the team and align their goals. It also helps each member feel a part of a bigger collective.”

Sharing ownership of projects rather than being overly proprietorial as a leader will also build loyalty and productivity.



OzTrampolines founder Richard Haby believes he gets the most out of his team by not watching their every move.

“I feel the best way to motivate staff is to allow them to do their role and not look over their shoulder all the time,” says Haby.

“We have a small number of staff and they all know their role. If they need me I am there in person or on the phone, but otherwise I do not interfere in what they do and back them to make the right decisions.”



According to Warren Buffett, simplicity is crucial. For example, sales strategy should be easily understood by the sales team and the whole business and be expressed in simple language, as opposed to over-complicated and time consuming reporting at the expense of actually getting sales teams to sell more effectively.


Courageous conversations

Despite your best efforts as a leader, underperformance can occur – hence the need to have professional and courageous conversations with staff. iHR can assist in developing the link between leadership behaviour and performance via performance management training, which includes identification of leadership behaviours that will foster a high performance culture as well as management approaches for under-performance.


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