How to improve your team effectiveness
Steer your team towards the same goal
Raise your hand if you believe that efficiency and constructive work processes start with management – exactly! Effective teams with ineffective leadership do not exist | Anders Dyrholm
Even though your team is both adaptable and carries out projects without any problems, you may still need the inspiration to lift your team to a whole new level.
Here, we give you nine strategies that will benefit your team's efficiency and strengthen their collaboration.
Make your team run smoothly, faster, and more efficiently - and have fun at the same time
1. What is the purpose of your team?
Make sure that everyone on the team knows why the team exists and the value they bring to the company.
2. What is success?
Early on in the process, it’s extremely important that you define what “success” means for the team – and how you measure it. Without clear goals, you will never be able to know when to celebrate.
3. When are we done?
Make sure that the team's tasks and projects are clearly defined. Sometimes, you need to be able to check a box and say – 'job’s done'! Keeping tasks 'open' sucks energy from the team and will eventually lead to frustration. It is better to divide larger projects or tasks into smaller components, both in order to track progress, and also to provide the mental and emotional relief of getting a task done and actually finishing the job.
4. Don’t move the finish line
As a team manager, it’s important to clarify when something is an addition (for example a new task or a new challenge) and also to point out when the team members have not completed, what they set out to do. A few things can drag the energy out of a team; for example, when they feel that they have almost reached their goal, but suddenly realise that this is not the case. Therefore, make sure to clearly state when a task is a new one.
5. Clear tasks – clear responsibilities – clear expectations
It’s very important to make sure that everyone in the team knows what they are supposed to do. Assigning several people the responsibility of doing the same job is an almost certain way to create confusion, frustration, conflict, and to miss deadlines.
When everyone is responsible, no one is responsible.
6. Make a standardised reporting system
In order to track the progress, achievements, bottlenecks, and problems within a team, it is very important that you have a standardised reporting system. What system you use is not important, as long as everyone is on the same page. It’s totally fine that each team member sends an email every day with a status on their progress.
However, it’s not fine if half the team is reporting through a task management system, tracking time and progress there, and the rest is sending emails or filling in spreadsheets. It makes it impossible to get a structured overview of what is going on, and it makes the team members, who are 'following the rules', very frustrated.
7. Make a feedback loop
Information doesn’t flow through a team by itself. It needs to be an active, conscious process. Make sure there are clear channels for how to distribute information within the team. Set up a Slack channel, do daily/weekly status meetings, and make a guide for when to email people directly and when to cc other team members, to avoid information overflow.
8. There is always a hierarchy
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have a flat structure in a team. You don’t. There might not be a formalised hierarchy, but there will definitely be an informal one. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and it’s not something you need to point out. There is no need to wallow in it – but as a team manager, you need to be aware of the fact that a social and professional hierarchy exists in order to navigate your team effectively.
9. Stand behind your team
Sometimes a team isn’t running as effectively as expected. As a team manager you need to take this seriously: analyse what is causing the problem so you can mitigate the situation. Here are a few areas that can cause problems:
- Do the employees, you delegated responsibilities to, have the relevant competencies?
- Are there administrative or other organisational constraints that prevent your team from performing their tasks efficiently?
- Have you been clear enough in your task formulation?
- If bad relationships arise in your team, you need to take action and possibly remove a person from your team.
Keynotes from this article
All in all, good team management is about communication, structure, planning (most people hate surprises), and clarification of expectations. The first step towards improving team effectiveness is to ensure that everyone is on the same page, that everyone is heard, and that the team as a whole is steered towards the same goal.
Additionally, corporate culture plays an important role in relation to achieving a successful implementation of your new IT solution. With your team on board, the process becomes a lot easier.
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