Strategies to Improve Team Performance

Teams are the force that drives most organizations. Whether it’s a functional team, a team of managers, or a project team, people get most done when they work together effectively. So when members of a team don’t work well together, performance and productivity can suffer. That’s not good for anyone. Just as with individuals, teams also need regular attention and maintenance. Team coaching helps people understand how to work better with others. To coach your team, we need to focus on interpersonal skills and interactions instead of on individual development. The way people act with their teammates, and the way they communicate with one another. These are important drivers of effective team performance. People must learn to work together and understand how to relate to one another otherwise the team’s output will be less than it could be. Following are some of the innovative ways that can help to improve your team performance. By implementing some team-building efforts and activities, you can help the team come together to work as an organized unit toward a common goal:

Create a Good Environment
• Make it clear to the whole team that everyone in the workplace needs to be treated with dignity and respect.
• Team members can unintentionally create a negative environment with their actions. Observe how members communicate with each other (tone of voice, language, body language etc.) and make sure you let them know.
• Conduct work force diversity training to help members understand the value of individual contributions toward achieving a common goal. Explain how diverse backgrounds, skills and points of view can help find more creative solutions to problems than a group of individuals with similar backgrounds and experiences.
• 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.

Motivation is a Key
• Talk to your team and find out what makes them inspired. Boost motivation in a way that encourages your team to use their strengths and improve outcomes.
• Sometimes it is as easy as giving them recognition in a way their peers and co-workers can see and comment on.
• 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.
• Inspire the trust and respect of your team through your actions and your authenticity.

Set Goals
• Set key priorities for the team. This is a way for you to lead them but also something for the team to strive for on their own.
• When setting goals, make them attainable. If you have one big objective, break it down and set goals that can be attained in a shorter period of time rather than months from now. Achieving the smaller goals makes it easier for the team and gets them motivated to continue towards the overall goal.
• 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
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.

Involve them
Team members must feel like they have an opportunity to really make an impact and to have a say. Ensure that each and every team member knows how what they do influences business outcomes. Assist them to feel connected to the business vision and part of the success of the business.

Give Praise
• Employees like to know what they are doing is right. Show them that you appreciate their work.
• Give thanks to show you acknowledge their hard work.
• When people feel valued they are more engaged and passionate about their work.
• 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.
• 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.

Give Feedback
• Employees always want to know how they are doing. Provide continuous feedback to your team.
• In a real-time world, people expect to know how they are doing and what they can do to improve. To accelerate learning, teams need an easy way to link feedback to actual goals and day-to-day work.
• Reward and reinforce the behaviors you want. Take notice and provide feedback to your team when you see them demonstrating the behaviors that contribute to team engagement. The performance of your team is directly linked to the engagement of your team. It is your responsibility as the leader of the team to build a culture of engagement. When you do this you will be handsomely rewarded by creating an environment where the team is passionate and committed to producing extraordinary results, maximizing business growth and overall performance.

Laugh Together
High performing teams enjoy each other and frequently banter and crack jokes. This happens most often in teams where the team members have trust in each other. Choose to work with people you respect and have a chance of enjoying. If you are not happy, don’t make others miserable by burdening them with your unhappiness. Either change your attitude or strive to improve the situation.

Therefore, effective working relationships are built by understanding team members’ needs, preferences, and styles of work. By helping people understand their own styles and appreciate the different styles of others, you can work with them to change their behaviors and use everyone’s strengths. The process of improving team performance takes time, and it may involve looking deeper than team processes. Organizational systems, such as reward and recognition, performance management, give praise and feedback can help to improve team performance. Putting these tips into action, and the result will be a “great company culture” and improved team performance. Happy employees will be far more productive at work. Thus, the end result of this work is usually well worth it; improved collaboration and communication will benefit the organization as whole.

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