Building your dream support team of experienced, talented, and decent-human being pros is a feat. Once you’ve found the perfect people to help you keep your creative business thriving, your job’s not done, though. If you want your dream team to be productive AF and happy working for you, you’ve gotta know how to work with them.
Follow these tips to work with your support team better.
Set The Standard
Everyone brings their own communication styles and experiences to the table. That’s why it’s clutch to create a basic set of company communication guidelines for your team to follow. Unless you want a complete clusterfuck of IMs, voice messages, and random project management notifications, that is. Major yikes.
Make sure everyone knows how you’ll communicate about work and what tools to use. For example, if Trello is for tasks and projects, make it clear that all related communication should happen in there. If you want Voxer to be reserved for urgent answers, tell your team.
After you’ve shared your company communication guidelines, it’s time to lead by example and actually follow those guidelines yourself. Yep, that’s right. No matter how tempted you are to make an exception and Instagram DM a team member about a project, don’t do it. The second you break the rules, you’re basically telling your team those don’t guidelines don’t mean shit.
Respect Your Support Team’s Time
If your support team is made up of contractors, they are not full-time employees. You can’t dictate their work hours, and you definitely can’t expect them to answer you on stuff immediately. And if you start pestering a contractor or making them feel like you’re on their case 24/7, they probably won’t stick around for long.
There’s a simple solution here: Agree on a response window that works for you both. Figure out what sort of timing will let them get their work done and deliver it when you need it. Then, put that shit in writing. And don’t you dare bother them for a response within the window.
Have you ever had someone bugging you for a deliverable before it was due? Yea, it’s fucking annoying. Don’t be that guy.
Give Them What They Need
Look, even the smartest and most-capable support team members need instruction if you want them to give you the work product you want. Don’t assume they know everything, even if they seem to be unicorns who do. Always provide a deadline, any resources they need to complete the task, and an assignee. Don’t skip this step.
If giving your team those pieces of info before they’re expected to dive in on something is too much work for you, that’s a red flag: You need an OBM or a project manager.
Your support team will do their best work (and be happy doing it) if they’re not scrambling to figure it all out. Plus, it shouldn’t be on them to know all of a project’s details — they don’t have the same big picture view of your company’s operations that you do.
Let Your Support Team Do The Damn Thing
You hired people who know their shit… Let them DO their shit. Once you’ve covered that essential step (above) of giving them what they need to do their work, they’re up. Ask for an outcome, and then let them wow you by getting to that outcome in their zone of genius.
Hey, they know what they’re doing. And if they’re pros in their niche (they should be), they probably have a better way of reaching that outcome than you would.
Letting your team do the damn thing and keeping your hands out of their shit also helps you keep micromanaging to a minimum. Ever worked with a micromanager? They seriously suck. Plus, your team will feel ownership in their roles and will probably blow your mind with how valuable their contributions are.
Be Realistic With Your Expectations
Your support team might amaze you left and right with their skills and abilities. But, it’s essential to keep your expectations in check. Part of working well with your support team is being realistic about the goals you have for them and what they can accomplish.
Keep their experience and skillsets in mind, as well as how much you’re paying them. For example, a $10/hr non-native speaking VA from overseas won’t do your copywriting at the same level a professional, native copywriter will for 20x that rate. And you might be just fine with that, but you’ve gotta remember who you’re working with and what they’re capable of.
This is also a friendly reminder to be honest with yourself about what you’re looking for before starting the hiring process. Getting the right people in the right roles will make it a lot easier to align your needs (and wants) with your team’s capabilities.
Make it Rain On ‘Em
When you want to thank your support team for being the badasses they are, pause before you send them your standard e-gift card. Not everyone wants a monetary award. Sometimes, a token of your gratitude in their appreciation language goes a long way. Think about how you felt the last time someone sent you a thoughtful gift. All warm and fuzzy, right??
So, how do you know how to thank individual members of your team? It can be as simple as including a question in your onboarding process, or sending a quick Google Form out to your team.
They’ll feel appreciated in a way that feels great to them, and you might just get those warm and fuzzies yourself knowing you’ve made their day.
Let’s Talk About YOUR Support Team
Want some custom guidance on working better with your unique support team? Set up a 90-minute Strategy Call with me. We’ll talk through any challenges you’re bumping into and opportunities to help you and your team crush it together. Contact me to get a Strategy Call on the books!