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It was January 2007 when I put out my self-employed shingle.  It was me, one project, and one client. Yes, one project and one client!

Now almost five years later, Impact Instruction Group is a company with multiple project teams and clients, and a diversified set of training services.

I get asked all the time how this evolved, and here’s what I share:  I made a very important shift . . . from running solo into leading teams of many projects and people.  With that shift I had to become a more skilled leader and communicator with my team. You might recognize yourself somewhere on this leadership continuum, whether you are still an individual contributor, a new manager, or a seasoned executive.

I’ll share with you 3 key skills that have helped me successfully travel the continuum.

1. Brush Up on Your Chemistry.

Every team has A, B, and C players, and its chemistry is critical to your success.  Can you differentiate between your players?  At a basic level, this is about knowing who is the go-getter (A player), who is steady and dependable (B player), and who might be zapping energy from the rest of the team (C player).

So how do I find the right chemistry?

When determining someone’s potential value to the team, I pay close attention to his or her attitude, work ethic, and work quality.  I also rely on my (very unscientific) gut feeling.  My goal is to have a positive chemistry of A and B players on any project team.  If I’ve identified any C players, I gracefully and gently weed them out.  As hard as that might be, I know my reputation and credibility depend on it. The right chemistry builds fun, trust, and a deeper commitment to serving the client.

2. Give 15 Minutes of Fame.

Your team will thrive with a basic and reliable communication structure. Set a regular communication time as a team or on an individual basis. A past manager of mine used a concept she called “15 Minutes of Fame” for each of her team members. Once a week, I had 15 minutes of uninterrupted time on her calendar to discuss an issue, brainstorm ideas, or simply share a success.

This small window of time had amazing results. Great ideas and successes were shared. We felt a better connection to our management team and to one another, and it showed in our team’s overall camaraderie and performance.

3. Share and Showcase Expertise.

Expertise fosters credibility and teamwork. One of your roles as a leader and communicator is to showcase your expertise and that of your team.

One way to do this is by following the thought leaders, books, publications, and blogs covering your industry. Share what you learn with your team and your clients. Being on trend with relevant information will help them stay fresh and energized.  You never know when an idea you share might be the breakthrough that a team member or client needs. If you share this information with your networking circles, it might lead to that next great opportunity.

When a team member shares relevant information or expertise, pass it on and give them credit. That attention will build their loyalty to you, and encourage them to continue sharing valuable insights with other team members and clients.

You’ll notice that these ideas are “small ticket” items, easily accomplished on any budget. I hope they inspire you to continue building your habits on the leadership continuum. They’re the little things that can make the biggest impact on your team, and ultimately your clients and business.

About the Author:

Amy Franko is the Founder & CEO of Impact Instruction Group, a Columbus, Ohio firm that offers custom blended training solutions and professional development services to mid-size and large companies.  She is a 2010 Apex Award of Excellence winner for training design.

Visit for more information on training services and to receive the Impact e-zine, a twice monthly publication on workplace learning and leadership.

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© 2011 Impact Instruction Group, LLC

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