Team working has become the preferred practice in many organisations as traditional corporate hierarchies give way to flat, multi-skilled groups of individuals. Working with teams, whether as manager of a single team or a leader manager of several, is an essential part of a manager’s remit.
Here are the top eight ways to improve team efficiency:
- Know the talents of each individual. Good team leaders make the most of the human talents available to the team. To do this, you need to understand each person, what they can be trusted to do, what they enjoy doing, how they work best and with whom. Use the Talent Dynamics profile to fast track this process.
- Communicate effectively. Strong communication links are vital to the wellbeing of a team. The most effective links occur naturally – for example, the casual conversation – but these will need supplementing by new technology, so choose the best methods. Ensure you set a regular rhythm when team members know they will receive and give information to each other.
- Run team meetings. Making team meetings effective is a major test of management skills. The key to holding a productive meeting is to involve everybody actively in the proceedings. Ensure that team members understand the purpose of each meeting and what is expected of them. Make clear at the end the actions that have been agreed and who will do them.
- Share information. Two-way information links between a team and the rest of the organisation are vital for efficiency. No person and no team is an island. Encourage collaboration and co-operation, and explain that these are hindered by the absence of open communication. Give stories about how sharing enabled others in the organisation to benefit.
- Deal with problems. Team members not only solve problems – they also create them. It is vital to build up loyalty between team members so that all difficulties, whether personal, work-related, or procedural, are tackled before they undermine the collective team spirit. Adopt a face-up-to the problem attitude in the team by tackling conflicts openly and immediately.
- Improve standards. Agree what the standard norms for your organisation will be. Are they ‘Excellence’ ‘Good’, ‘Acceptable’? Encourage improvement. Any approach to improving performance needs to challenge existing ways of working. Teams looking to improve must learn to generate their own tasks, tackle problems, agree on solutions, and implement their decisions with confidence.
- Measure performance. If something cannot be measured, it cannot be improved upon. This basic principle applies to any job. Define individual and team standards – that they always meet deadlines, for instance – to give a targeted objective by which performance can be judged.
- Track team progress. A good team is aware of the need to remain dynamic. Review progress regularly to maintain momentum, provide an overview, and ask team members, singly or in groups, to define specific aspects of the project that could be improved in the future.
Penny Sophocleous – 2nd August 2016
© C0rporate Alchemy 2016