HR 4 April 2016

How to create a strong team for your small company

loving leadership
Encourage your employees to care about their physical wellbeing and take regular holidays
As a micro business owner, one of the most powerful leadership traits you can possess is the ability to ensurethat your team members genuinelybelieve youcareabout them. HR expert Richard Summerfield author of new business book Loving Leadership explains how to keep your staff sweet.

To build the right team for your small company you need to treat people who work with you like family, or as you would your closest friends. It is an interesting and challenging concept but alsovery powerful.

People are not stupid, so there is only one way you can ensure they believe this, and that is for it to be true youcan’tfake it. It will require a sustained emotional investment from you, which may not come naturally to a lot of leaders. Below are some of the most important areas to think about.


Worry about thewholeperson, and every dimension that makes up the profile of aperson’sgeneral feeling of wellness. Wellbeing means, quite simply, being wellin both body and mind. The highest productivity and engagement comes from people who have high levels of personal wellbeing, so? don’t’see this as just a bit’soft. You want your team members to fire on all cylinders, don’tyou?


There is a direct link between peak physical health and level of productivity, and that goes for office workers as well as athletes.If you and your team are in good shape, take regular exercise, eat sensibly and look afterthebody, a feeling of wellbeing follows. Encourage any opportunityforyour teamto do’something individually or collectively that will promote their physical health.


Themost common mental health problemrunningriot through most workplaces is’stress. As a leader, I encourage you to be very aware of a) signs of stress, and b)thingsyou are doing that may be causing stress.Imustpointout that stress is not the same as pressure in fact, the human body and mind often function better under mild-to-medium pressure than in a laid-back homeostatic state.

If you see regular signs of stress from people around you, take responsibility to help reduce it in any way possible. Thisis one of the most powerful actions a leader can’takeand will build relationships that are much deeper and more meaningful with those around you. Start bytalkingto the person’showing signs of stress, as they may not even be awareof itthemselves.

Building family life into work

A feeling of wellbeing comes from a genuine belief that when a person really needs to put their family first, they will be supported to do so. As a leader, if you show flexibility with things such as caring for sick relatives, attending school functions, or attending to matters affecting the household, you will find that in the vast majority of cases, the individual will pay you back in spades.


This is oftenoverlooked, but you really need to make sure that your employees are getting good, regular sleep. Be really conscious aboutinsistingthey take a break after, for example, a long overnight flight, a few very long nights/early starts, or working at weekends. If you are exchanging emails very late and very early, then it suggests that your folks are not’switching offand getting enough sleep. it’sabsolutely fine to tell someone that you do not want to see an email from them after 10pm or before 7am unless it is an emergency. You set the boundaries.

Eating anddrinking

Set an example. Let people see you eating and drinking sensibly, putting a priority on your own health. Be careful with drinking too much alcohol;again, set an example to others. As GhandI famously said: Bethe changethatyouwishto’see. You may need to check the mirror first before encouraging people down a path of self-awareness and self-control.

Relaxing and recharging

As a leader, make sure all your staff take their holidays.Thereis nothing macho aboutcarryingdaysoveryear to year. In fact, I recommend that you do not allow any employee to carry over more thanfivedays, so it becomes a useit or loseit benefit. Make sure that they takeat leastone block of two weeksevery year from their holiday allocation. You will get the benefit far more than if they worked the whole year without a proper break.

Taking a long holiday is not only great for recharging, getting things in perspective, and spending time with loved ones, it is also often when some of the greatest moments of insight and inspiration comewhich canaddmassive value to the results of the team and the company.

Pursuinghobbiesand interests

A job does not define a person. As a leader, you mustnever forget this. Just because you may be in an artificially created hierarchy where you have morepower than others, it does not follow that outside of work things should follow the same hierarchy people around you probably have talents and interests that they are passionate about, andmaybeincredibly goodat.



Work and Wellbeing