Could your team be more productive? Whether you’re the leader or just an integral member of your team, here are 5 tips you can help implement to increase your team’s efficiency and quality of life.
Remember the dreaded group project in school?
You know the dynamic: there were the passive procrastinators, those treating the project like a social event, the one person who did about 90% of the actual work, and then the guy who was completely nonexistent until the moment of the actual presentation (probably the smartest one in the bunch).
Now, you’re probably not going to see this exact same dynamic play out in your team of paid, competent workers. However, if there’s one thing that group projects in school taught us, it’s that, in situations of non-existent or poor management, teams tend to lack productivity. Even with highly-skilled employees, the quality of your management will determine their level of performance.
Here are 5 ways you can boost your team’s productivity and maximize profits for your growing business.
Set Realistic Expectations
A common practice among managers is to set extremely tight deadlines and ambitious goals in order to produce better results. This is not, in and of itself, a bad practice. However, there is no faster way to kill team morale than to set unachievable goals.
Setting proper expectations is walking a fine line of challenging individuals to give their best, while not discouraging them because they have limitations. Realistic goals are not easy goals, but they are considerate.
This is easier to achieve by discussing expectations with the team, rather than just demanding results. Productivity (and creativity!) is increased when the “why” behind the “what” is known.
In Simon Sinek’s award-winning book, Start With Why, he explains that there are two main ways to motivate and influence people: manipulation and inspiration. Given the two options, inspiration is more powerful and lasting.
Delegate According to Strengths
It’s general knowledge that micro-management decreases productivity (check out our talk with Mike Michalowicz)… but so does poorly thought-out delegation. In the wise decision to delegate, you need to assign tasks appropriately.
Ultimately, you must have a firm grasp of what skills your individual employees possess. Giving your charismatic sales associate the job of data-entry is not going to give you the best use out of your employee’s skill set.
So, how well do you know your team? There are plenty of personality tests, such as CliftonStrengths and Myers & Briggs, that are extremely helpful resources. But, the most intuitive information you can gain comes through some amount of trial and error.
Establishing an environment where honesty and transparency are prized – even when things go bad – will also increase your ability to delegate. When your teammates know that they can speak up when their responsibilities are a bad fit, you decrease the risk of handing out the wrong task to the wrong person.
Organically getting to know the people who work for you and paying attention to their successes and failures will give you the insight you need to delegate fittingly.
In the world of business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of perceived productivity. Busyness does not mean that anything valuable is actually being accomplished.
Where does this show up most? Team meetings. Far too often, managers schedule frequent and unproductive meetings (and everybody said, “Amen.”).
Routinely meeting with your team is important. Your team does need to regroup and discuss projects together to successfully move forward. But, it is a common occurrence for meetings to take place, even when the agenda is light or nonexistent.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, before every recurrent meeting, if it’s even necessary. It’s more than ok to cancel or adjust invites. And, if it is necessary to meet, stick to the agenda. This communicates your respect for everyone’s time, and your team will thank you.
It’s no secret that positive reinforcement is a great motivator. But, beyond implementing a company incentive program, how else are you rewarding your employees for their hard work?
Monetary prizes are great but, it doesn’t always take extra cash to communicate appreciation. Doing so can be as simple as recognizing and publicly acknowledging individuals for consistency, growth, going above and beyond, etc.
Take every chance you can to encourage the people on your team. Ensuring that they feel valued will encourage engagement and investment in your company.
Value Healthy Work-Life Balance
If you have employees consistently working late and during weekends, you may want to think twice before commending such behavior. This is a tell that that employee may not have a healthy balance between work and home.
It’s necessary to prioritize the work-life balance of each employee and encourage healthy boundaries for their personal and professional lives. In doing so, you’re respecting the team, holistically. This will lead to healthier, happier, and more productive team members.
The concept of promoting employees to learn how to say “no” to work may seem counterproductive, but it guarantees that they are bringing their best selves to the table.
Leading a team of people towards progress and growth is never an easy task. Even the highly experienced have moments of struggle in managing team production. But, these 5 steps, when used consistently, are sure to bring your team into health and towards higher productivity and profits.
Where does your team come up short? Does one of these tips seem like they could help your efficiency? We’d love to hear from you in comments!