Tips for Improving Your Team’s Productivity April 1st, 2010
When assigned a roll in a management position, it is very rare that you will be able to hand pick every individual that reports to you. This makes it very important for you to understand how to deal with a mix of personalities as well as the different abilities of your team members, and use this as a benefit to drive the maximum effort out of your team. From here the success of your team resides in your hands. Many managers will pick up and run if things are going poorly, but with these seven simple steps, you will be prepared to handle all of the situations that your team throws at you. Initially it will be important to figure out who the top performers are, the middle performers, and the group that is holding up the bottom of the pack.
1. Concentrate on your middle performers. Many of the team members that are performing at the middle of the pack have to potential to be top performers, but they might just need an extra push to get them there. Find out what is bothering them about their current assignment, and ask if there is anything that can be done to help improve the situation. If the requests are reasonable go ahead and make the necessary changes and see if this improves the employee’s performance.
2. Give everyone a chance to prove themselves. Before cutting employees from your team, make sure that they have been provided the proper opportunity and time to showcase their skills. If things still are not working out it is probably time to cut this individual from your team and give them the opportunity to showcase their skills elsewhere.
3. Encourage the team members to think creatively. Allow your team to provide solutions to the problems that they encounter. By including everyone in the decision making process, this will help to empower the team members, and it may offer some diverse solutions that will help to make managing the team just a little bit easier.
4. Do not hold your team back. Encourage your team to manage their work the way they want to. Do not bog your team down with out of date procedures just because that is the way it has always been done. Keep procedures in place that you feel are necessary to the success of your team, but do not just have procedures to have procedures.
5. Clearly define all expectations and objectives. Make sure that everybody on your team understands what their goals are and how they relate to the teams overall goals. It is important to make sure that these goals are clearly defined so that the team members know what they are striving for and do not stray off in their own direction.
6. Celebrate the wins and learn from the losses. When a team member performs, make sure that they are praised for their excellent service. This will become contagious across the entire team. Also, instead of punishing a team member for mistakes that are made, stress the importance of learning from these mistakes and making sure that they are not a regular occurrence.
7. Be loyal to the team and its mission.Make sure that you do what you say you’re going to do. Team members will respect a leader that follows through on their word and this will transform into better performance on the part of your team. The respect that is generated from your actions as a leader will be the spark that drives your team to success.
Taking these seven steps into consideration could make the difference between a successful team experience and a nightmare. The key to these steps is to continually push your team, and encourage them to push themselves, to new heights. It is important that you do not try to hold them back by establishing mindless procedures that need to be followed but instead allow your team to be creative and find solutions on their own. This will also make your job easier as the team leader, or manager, by decreasing the amount of micro managing that occurs. Instead you can spend your time managing the bigger picture and making sure that all of the pieces of the puzzle come together according to the plan.
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