We all know that teams have great potential to deliver great results. Sadly, despite this conceptual understanding, realising that potential is much more of a challenge. So if you are on or leading a team, here are 14 ways in which you might boost performance.
- Make sure the team has clarity around the result or outcome to be achieved. Vaguely specified outcomes mean that the team wastes potentially productive time trying to figure out what they are doing.
- Get everyone heading in the same direction. Team performance, and particularly higher level performance, relies on a strong degree of alignment.
- Make sure that your decision making process is clear and transparent. People might prefer their ideas to be taken on board all of the time and at the same time they are realistic. By the same token, if decision processes are transparent, people are more likely to support them
- Make sure that they have the resources that are needed to get the result you want. By resources I mean three things: manpower, materials and money.
- Provide good leadership. The team leader makes a huge difference and sets the tone for the team, so choose wisely.
- Encourage proactiveness on the team, rather than creating a dependency culture where nothing happens until 10 decisions are taken that go through 50 committees.
- Focus on effective communication and in particular exceptional listening.
- Give everyone the opportunity to be heard. Some people love the sound of their own voice and you don’t want to lose that enthusiasm. At the same time you want to be sure that the quieter, more introverted, get their air time too.
- Encourage constructive interactions. No teams are conflict free. At the same time a team that is destructive in its interactions is never going to be a success.
- Focus on building and maintaining trust. It takes time, energy and effort and is key on any team.
- Respect each other and don’t assume that everyone needs to be like you. Diversity of experience, knowledge, skills and personalities are key components in success.
- Create camaraderie by getting people to know each other and being ready and willing to pull together in the good and not so good times.
- Play to strengths rather than seniority. You want people to be doing what they do best most of the time.
- Create an environment where you reward collaboration rather than competition. Don’t have a disconnect between the results that you want and how you reward performance.
The truth is that getting the right levels of team performance requires effort. It does not happen by chance.
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps accountants and health professionals to become highly effective leaders and managers. He invites you to take advantage of his free audio e-course Leadership Success at www.goalsandachievements.co.uk