Article • Sales Tip

Developing and Enhancing
Your Team’s Potential

Written By Jim Heilborn, INDEAL • October 28, 2022


“Mitgefangen mitgehangen” – literal translation –  You get caught with them; you’ll hang with them.” 

You might be saying to yourself…”huh?” 

Let me clarify something; I am a first-generation American citizen. I was brought up with two languages. I heard this German phrase a lot growing up; particularly when I got in trouble with other kids. 

Another way of looking at this phrase, however; you win or lose together or better still; we win or lose together. This applies to all teams -sports or work teams. 

“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” – David Ogilvy, Advertising Mogul 

If you re-read the title of this article, you might be inclined to think that it’s only directed at managers or supervisors but it’s not. I’m addressing the way peers can impact the development of their team’s potential and performance, on their own. This is not about excluding a manager or supervisor but about all team members taking responsibility for the team’s success or failure. 

Certainly, the pandemic had an impact on people working on a team but that doesn’t mean teamwork and work teams are outdated. Even WFH teams can be productive and grow. 

I read an article recently in an HR ezine (HR Management) that had some interesting survey results. 

 “Some employers might think the keys to getting maximum results from a business enterprise are tightly managed employee procedures, a “strictly business” atmosphere, and employees chosen primarily because their skills best fit the job. 

Quite the opposite, says a surprising study by the Gevity Institute, a Bradenton, Florida-based human resources consultant. The study was done in conjunction with Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resources. 

Gevity and Cornell studied 323 businesses, with employee sizes ranging from 8 to 600. The average size was 53 employees. Their objective was to quantify the effect of specific human resources policies on financial results and turnover.” 


Relaxing control 
“A key finding was that self-managed, trusted and empowered employees are happier and more productive than those who perform under tight guidelines and close monitoring. The improvements in revenue and profit growth were 11.5 percent and 3.9 percent, with turnover reduced more than 15 percent.” 

Now you might be asking yourself if this is possible without management’s involvement and it certainly will take some, but it also requires everyone on the team to step up and take on more accountability. Members of the team must demonstrate their willingness to take responsibility for the outcome of the team, not just themselves, and in so doing earn the “authority” to manage much of their own work. 

What is the difference between power and authority?  

There is an old quote that basically says that authority is not given, it’s taken. In this case, I’m not specifically referring to management power but the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior.  

Power is the capacity of a person to influence others and alter their actions, beliefs, and behaviors. However, it’s important to note that there is a difference between power vs. influence. Authority is the legitimate power that a person or group is granted to practice over others within an organization.  

What steps can a team take to earn this level of authority? Here are a few: 

  • Taking the initiative to offer internal, ongoing mentoring by team members for other team members 
  • Setting realistic expectations and goals and stretch goals – for individuals and the team 
  • Establishing common goals that support those of the company. Regardless of their backgrounds, team members must share a common vision of what’s to be accomplished. There is tremendous power when everyone is going in the same direction 
  • Recognizing the diverse skills of team members. This allows each member to add his or her own knowledge and perspective, to both check and balance, but also build upon, the efforts of the group 
  • Allowing for an open exchange of ideas and information. Whether it’s through formal meetings or water cooler chats informed team members are more content, secure, and comfortable sharing what they know and think, both about their own roles and those of others
  • Cooperation. This goes hand in hand with open exchange, demonstrating a desire to help one another over the rough spots
  • Mutual respect. Even if they’re not friends socially, teammates need to always act professionally with one another and listen to all ideas. They must offer support when they agree and objective, constructive (not personal) criticism when they don’t
  • Celebrate everyone’s contribution and celebrate successes as a success for the team 
  • Continually looking to improve the existing team  

Jim Heilborn is INDEAL’s Training and Development Consultant specializing in the office furniture/products industry, working nationwide with dealers, manufacturers, and service providers. Jim has been associated with INDEAL since 2011, focused on training and dealer development. Jim can be reached at

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