Team Building: Getting the Message Across Without Micromanaging

When the list is longer than the time you have, it’s easy to sacrifice some important things just to get through the day. For the small business owner, communication with your team is one of those things that can get lost.


It takes time to convey your dream and your standards for taking care of clients. And some of us truly believe that no one can do it better than we can. Well, it’s probably true for certain areas of your business but not all of it.  If you’re awesome at sales but you do all of your own administrative work, chances are there’s an administrative wiz right under your nose.

You need a team and if you have a team, they need some management.

Teams Cannot Train And Manage Themselves 

Even the smartest group requires clear standards and leadership (and micro-managing is not the same thing as leadership). Managing your people takes time on the front end, but it creates momentum on the back end.

With a well-chosen and well-trained team you can move faster, be in more places at once and serve more people. It’s like a new computer — it takes time to set it up, to transfer your data and to learn how to use the new features, but once it’s ready to go, you can NOT imagine handling business without it.

Management boils down to one basic standard.

Make It Hard For Your Team to Mess Up Or Miss Out

You want your people to get the message and take action. It’s not about “I told you so” or a litany of “what’s wrong with those people.” It’s about results.

To get the desired outcome, leave a trail that reinforces your core message. Tell your team what you expect from them in multiple formats.  Say it in the initial training/orientation.  Reinforce it in the ongoing staff meetings by role playing and other hands on experiences.  Use well placed signs around the property or well timed emails to your team. This allows you to use visuals to reinforce your message.

And then follow it all up with consistent consequences and rewards.

Give Your Team A Reason To Care As Much As You Do 

This requires some brainstorming up front (with your leaders, mentors and management experts). Find the kind of rewards that gets the response you want.

Finally, monitor the impact. You can’t just delegate and assume it’s done, you have to inspect the work. For the busy small business owner who tends to forget, put a reminder in your smart phone – 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks later a little note pops up reminding you to ask for the sample that Mark created (or was supposed to create).

Two Things Are At Work Here

Each team member has a responsibility as well as the space and opportunity to excel without being micro-managed. They also have a check and balance and a deadline.

Teamwork Photo via Shutterstock


Jamillah Warner Jamillah Warner (Ms.J), a poet with a passion for business, is a Georgia-based writer and speaker and the Marketing Coordinator at Nobuko Solutions. She also provides marketing and communication quick tips in her getCLEAR! MicroNewsletter.

12 Reactions
  1. I think management is the hardest thing about small business, but also one of the most essential. For me, the best way I learned to manage was actually before I started my business. It gave me the confidence I needed to hire my small team. I also think being willing to make and admit your management mistakes also helps you learn to manage better. Thanks for this post Jamillah!

    • Jamillah Warner (MsJ)

      I’m curious Tomas, you said the best way you learned was “before” your started your business. How? Was it a training program or shadowing or a mentor? (and I agree about owning your mistakes)

  2. Thank you for the very insightful post, Jamillah. These are just some of the things they don’t teach you in management school. 🙂

  3. One more thing that either you forgot to mention or was not so important in your point of view but in my opinion that plays a big role in success of a business & that is ‘motivation’. If team/staff members are motivated by their leadership, they will work firmly with determination.

  4. This is leadership with presence. You don’t have to hover per se… but you can’t do delegation by abdication either. As you beautifully stated, you have to be present and engage your team so that they care as much as you do and take pride in their work as a part of the team.

  5. Thank you very much for the useful info on team building 🙂 As Mark Sanborn said: “The greatest danger a team faces isn’t that it won’t become successful, but it will, and then cease to improve”.

    Ann Peters

  6. For me the #1 priority for my team was Setting Expectations. Most employees will strive to meet their expectations and therefore will accomplish more with consistent focus to their expectations.
    Without vision, people perish.

  7. Hi Andrew, I have the same priority. Most truly will rise to the occasion.

    I’ve found that if I set the bar and live up to the bar, then my team will work to do the same and in many cases, even more.

  8. Behind a succesvol team is a great manager. If you want your team to achieve the desired results you need to lead them and communicate what you want to achieve.

  9. Teamwork is achieved when all persons have the same goal and the same mindset. They stay focused to the goals for the team and not for themselves and everyone becomes a team player. What is the mission, who is in charge, how can they achieve their goals and why is it important to have good communication where everyone verbally has open input to their ideas and concepts.
    Everyone doing the assignment that is given to them with an attitude of gratitude.

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