Turning Rocks into Rock Stars: Developing a Badass Team

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Have you heard about the labor crisis? Allow me to give you some cold, hard truth: There’s only a labor crisis if your culture sucks.

That’s right—the number of qualified applicants hasn’t dwindled. It’s just that your culture isn’t attractive to top performers. If that statement upsets you a little, good. The truth will definitely set you free, right after it first pisses you off.

Now that you might be a little agitated, let’s find a few solutions!

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Be the Damn Leader

You might be what some call “burned out.” Let’s get this out of the way: Burnout doesn’t happen to you, you allow it to happen. Burnout, like stress, is a choice. You read that right: stress is a choice. It’s not the events that happen to you, it’s how you deal with those events that have either a positive or negative impact.

Some people like to play the victim and whine about how unfair life is, how mean people are, or how their staff doesn’t care. Playing the victim does not serve anyone except the person acting like one. Drop the “poor, pitiful me” act. No one cares. If you want to start attracting better people you need to drop the drama and step up to be the leader.

Read this: Your Restaurant is NOT Special

Water seeks its own level. That means top talent is attracted to top leaders. Your team is in dire need of a true leader, someone who is committed to improving themselves and their business every single day!

You might have some average performing staff (rocks) right now who are waiting for a real leader to step up and give them an action plan. That’s your cue to be the leader they want.

Everyone Wants to Grow

Right now, if you look at your team with an objective eye, you have some rocks who are asleep in their current role. They’re not challenged to improve. They’re not given extra responsibility. They feel they don’t have communication from the leadership team. They don’t feel appreciated.

That all needs to stop. It needs to stop today!

Read this: Tap into Your Alter Ego to Become a Better Leader

One of our primal human needs is for growth. We crave its allure and seductive qualities. We’re hardwired to adapt and evolve. If that weren’t the truth we’d be happy living in caves like our ancestors. If your culture isn’t designed for learning and the growth of each team member, you’re behind a best practice of the top two percent of restaurant and bars.

Create a personal development plan for everyone on your team, including yourself. You want to show your team that you have a vested interest in their success. If you can do this, you’ll start to see a shift in your culture, and that might be the tipping point you need.

Trust Builds Teams

One lesson from military Special Operations teams (SEALs, Green Berets, Pararescue) is that they trust each member of their team. Without trust, you don’t have a team, you have a bunch of mercenaries out for themselves (and a paycheck). Trust starts with you as the leader!

Now, let’s clarify a common misconception: You don’t have to like everyone on your team. People think teamwork requires team members to be best friends, hug it out, and stand around singing “Kumbaya.” No.

Team trust develops when each member takes personal accountability to become their best and watch the backs of their teammates. Trust is the social glue that holds any high-performance team together. Without trust, you just won’t last.

Creating Badasses

If you’ve paid attention, you’re ready to take your rocks and turn them into rock stars a.k.a. badasses. You’re committed to becoming a better leader. You’re all in on creating personal development plans for everyone. You trust your team.

Once you have these elements firmly in play it’s time to get the chisel out and create your rock stars from your rocks.

Become a recruiting ninja. Dedicate time each week looking for new talent with the personality to match your culture. Don’t focus on skills—you can train skills. It’s difficult to change behavioral personality, even though many think they can do so.

Read this: Stuck in a Leadership Rut? Here's How to Pull Yourself Out

Work daily with one team member to show your dedication to their self-improvement. Now, this does not need to be a big-time commitment. Think of it more as a five- to ten-minute check-in. Show you’re invested in their growth and they’ll invest more of themselves in your culture.

Your expectations for yourself and your team need to become high to get badass rock stars; you must set your standards high and keep them there. You must hold yourself accountable to become a better leader. Your bar, nightclub or restaurant will become better when you become better.

Sounds simple right? Not so fast. Take these maxims to heart to succeed on your journey to improving as a leader:

  1. Execution is the key.
  2. Consistency is the platform.
  3. Commitment is the law.
  4. Don’t break the law.