If your team members are not as productive as usual, lack initiative or motivation, are dissatisfied and at odds with each other, it’s time for a tune-up. Just as with individuals, teams also need regular attention and maintenance.
By implementing some team-building efforts and activities, you can help the team come together to work as a cohesive unit toward a common goal, with shared trust, expectations, respect for the contributions of each individual and pride in their accomplishments.
Whilst this section is written from the team leader’s perspective, consider what you can do, as a team member, to directly improve team performance
Conduct a workshop to help team members understand the value of individual contributions toward achieving a common goal. Identify core experience and capabilities within the team. Ask for feedback on motivated abilities and interests. Confirm that individual capabilities are aligned with specific roles and responsibilities.
Demonstrate your role as a team leader by finding ways to resolve conflict. Continue to remind the team of the value of working toward common goals and express appreciation for their shared contributions. Build relationships with members based on trust and loyalty and encourage the same between members.
Facilitate communication as a team and between individuals. Set an example by being open to suggestions and concerns and being sensitive to feelings. Communicate clearly, especially regarding expectations and instructions. Encourage sharing of information, active listening and brainstorming.
Set clear work objectives, time frames and expectations. Make sure everyone understands their role and responsibilities and those of their teammates. Create team values and goals and evaluate team performance and progress toward those goals. Celebrate successes while painting a clear picture of what still must be accomplished and any obstacles to success.
Set ground rules with the team for operating efficiently and measuring performance and success. Some examples are that every member should contribute ideas when brainstorming and avoid judging others’ contributions, and being on time at meetings and with project deadlines. Create the ground rules as a team and make sure everyone agrees to them.
Create a method for reaching consensus and getting buy-in on decisions from all members. Create a climate of cooperation and collaborative problem-solving. In decision-making, make sure all members have been kept informed on the team’s progress, everyone has an opportunity to ask questions and express opinions, and all members are allowed to disagree.
Celebrate accomplishments and recognize the team for their shared contributions and efforts. Reward the team with a special celebration and bring their success to the attention of executive sponsors. Highlight their successes in company publications and reinforce the team unit as a model for teamwork and collaboration.
Now you’re thinking more deeply about team performance. Looking at the 7 steps above, what can you do personally to improve the effectiveness of your team?
Take a look at our TEAM COACHING eLearning course for more advice on how to improve team performance