Do you have what it takes to lead your team to success? Managing teams is often one of the most difficult parts of holding a leadership position in your workplace. How can you create a successful team and then achieve your business goals together?
Almost any team can be shaped into a successful team through time and effort of the leader. If you have an underperforming team that you want to improve, a new and untested team, or an average team under your direction, try using these 5 best practices to guide your existing team to higher performance levels:
5 WAYS FOR A LEADER TO IMPROVE TEAM PERFORMANCE
1. Make Responsible Goals – Then Share
How can a team be expected to do the right work and make forward progress for the company when they don’t even know where the company wants to go? If higher up, corporate goals are unknown to employees, or if those goals seem completely disconnected to what the employee does every day at work, performance will not be at its highest.
To improve performance, you have to let your team in on what the corporate goals are for the organisation and show them how their individual work contributes to that goal. Without this link, employees can engage in work activities which are unrelated to the company goals or lose their motivation based on a lack of knowledge about how they are helping to advance the company.
For this to work out properly, you will have to get feedback from your team about the daily goals they will be working towards. Are the goals useful for meeting objectives? What might be a better way to do it? Does this metric accurately reflect on the work activities done by employees? Answers to all of these questions get your team thinking about how they can help reach business goals and provide a source of motivation, as the team is now completely aware of how they are contributing.
Avoid vague goals such as “do the best work you can”. The American Psychological Association found in a study that employees who are given such types of goals generally do not perform as well as those given specific and challenging goals.
2. Balance Supervision and Self-Management
Micro management of your team is a mistake many leaders make when the team is new or when the team is underperforming. Unfortunately, this usually leads to lower performance levels and does nothing to improve the team overall. Pay attention to how your team members work and ask yourself this question: how much autonomy can I provide this team?
Teams made up of self-motivated employees need little to no supervision as long as your give clear direction about what they should accomplish. However, teams with employees that are not self-motivated will require more supervision of daily activities to make sure that goals are being met.
Creating a system of accountability will encourage team members to keep track of their own progress without falling behind on work. If employees are each accountable for what they accomplish during the day and what they add to the overall goals, they are more likely to work well on their own without you having to spend your time checking up on everything your team is doing.
3. Build Trust with Your Team
Teams with higher levels of trust for management and leadership figures are more likely to perform well and to have a more positive impression of the company in general, says a study published by Delft University in The Netherlands. While it’s sometimes hard to see the impact of great leadership, it will show up in the successes of the team. If your employees don’t trust you to make good decisions, to think about their well-being, and to lead fairly and responsibly, they will not give all their efforts to your team projects.
Many team programs focus on building trust between employees without paying much attention to how trusted the manager of the team is! This is an oversight which might end up costing you a lot in the form of wasted time, missed goals, and general team lethargy.
4. Acknowledge Individual and Team Efforts
When your team members put forth great effort in order to reach a goal, it’s worth recognizing their actions. If you fail to show your employees that you are appreciative of their hard work, they will be much less motivated to work hard in the future.
Imagine if employee X and employee Y are on a work team together. Employee X is a hard worker that usually has to pick up the slack for underperforming team members and do extra work in order for the team to accomplish daily goals. Employee Y is an average employee that sometimes underperforms, but usually does nothing more than what is absolutely necessary. If you acknowledge the team’s success as a whole and do never recognize individual contributions, you are subjecting employee X to feelings of frustration and bitterness, as their extra effort seems worthless.
5. Show a Great Example
You as the team leader are the one whom all team members are looking towards for guidance on how to participate in the team. If you are not doing your part or are showing poor working behaviors and a lack of respect for the organisation than many of your team members will follow suit. However, if you are a hard worker and you are modeling good employee behavior, then you will lead your team to follow that positive working example instead.
Applying Team Performance Strategies To Your Own Team
Just as no two people are exactly alike, no team will ever be the same as another. When you are applying these performance improvement strategies, you must be conscious of how they are affecting your team so that you can adjust them to fit your needs more realistically. Don’t be too static and stuck on one way of doing things, or else you may risk ruining team performance and morale even more!