Without a good, strong reputation, it’s hard to get others to trust you and work with you – which in turn makes it hard to deliver great results. And it works the other way as well of course – if you don’t deliver great results, you will not be perceived well.
Here are six ways to create a strong, positive team brand – a team that is well perceived:
Explore and then confirm your team brand, as a team
What do you want to be known for, what do you want others to see about you? That you are collaborative, responsible, knowledgeable? Or something else? Whatever it is, discuss and agree how to achieve that, keeping in mind that reputation is greatly influenced by how you do something, not just what you do.
Ask for feedback
Do you know what people are saying about your team? If the answer is no, go find out; ask for honest feedback. And discuss as a team what you think people will say – as a way of then comparing your team self-awareness with the answers you get. If you have done point 1 above, you can also include questions that specifically ask about what you want to be known for, to find out if it’s currently noticed by others. It can sometimes be hard to get honest feedback if you ask for yourself and your team. If you suspect this to be the case, consider hiring outside help to gather anonymous/confidential feedback for you.
Manage team members performance
Have solid performance management in place; plan and set goals, give feedback and coach, follow up and evaluate.
Keep your promises; deliver on time and to expectations
It may sound simple, but constant busy-ness often means that people juggle with priorities and miss deadlines. On top of that, they may not manage expectations effectively, by letting the other party know that their delivery will be delayed or the contents adjusted. Spend time as a team realistically managing others expectation – expectation setting can be crucial to the perception of your team. Think about your role in this as a team member.
Take responsibility not just for your actions, but maybe even more importantly, your reactions. Don’t let responses become automatic, use the moment between trigger and response to carefully choose how you will respond to the words and actions of others. Every moment counts. Think about how your response will impact the other party and how it will influence their perception of you and the team.
Learn from results and create better solutions
See all results as feedback and learning. If you had a great result, think: how can we make it even better next time? How can we exceed expectations or deliver something new? If you didn’t have great results, think: what can we learn from this? What can we rule out for next time? What can we do differently? Build a culture of learning in your team.
Whether you would use those words or not, your team has a unique brand – just like a company or a product does. A brand is an expectation that lives in the head of those you are dependent on (or who are dependent on you), your stakeholders. The expectation is based on what you’ve explicitly or implicitly promised AND the experience they have had of you – whether good or bad or indifferent.
Will you leave your team brand to chance or will you take control of it and build a strong, honest brand that delivers? The choice is yours.