Improving team performance is a great idea, but sometimes the team is struggling – or maybe it’s your team leader who can’t quite get her team going.  This article is about improving team performance, whether it’s your team, or you need to help your supervisor.

So, the team are struggling and you’re not doing as well as you’d like. You could try doing the same as normal but LOUDER, or getting out the whip and shouting at them (some do), but maybe there’s a better way…

Firstly, don’t despair. Every firm has some parts that work well and some that don’t. Having identified the team you want to improve it’s time to go to work.

How to fix the team.

  1. Reflect on anything team members have already told you that they’re unhappy about. In this list is there anything you could/ should have fixed, or (even worse) have already promised to fix? Don’t do anything until you complete promises you’ve already made.
  2. “One To Ones”: Get into a habit of informal “one to one” meetings with team members. Don’t sit at a desk, ideally get out and walk, maybe go next door to the coffee shop, or anything that’s different. Ask, “How do you think we’re doing as a team?”,  “What can we do better?” and one of my favourites “How can I help you to do your job better”. Explain that you’re trying to set a standard for what’s working well, so you can see how you progress.  No, don’t tell me they don’t come out with anything, it’s your job to try!  Actually the very act of trying differently does help. One client used to go out on visits with members of the team, the car journey always gave them time to talk, another would get breakfast for people some days. What would work with your team members?
  3. Share the conclusions with the team leaders (or whole team). Ask them how they’d fix the problem. Those things you can agree to immediately, do so. Reserve the right to consider others, but with a promise to come back to them.
  4. Develop a road-map. Here are things we will do, the processes we’re going to fix and how we’re going to improve things
  5. Make it visual. Put the road-map somewhere in view, update it and refer to it. Even better, get them to update it and ask them how it’s going.

Communications and improving team performance

One of the most common problems is that staff complain they don’t know what’s going on. Yes, I know you spend ages telling them – but I guarantee it will be one of the biggest complaints.

What this normally means is that they haven’t absorbed all the information, or it didn’t mean anything to them at the time.

One simple tactic to help here is to have a weekly 20-minute session with the whole team. Each team member “takes the stage” for a couple of minutes and talk about what they’re working on, new things they’re trying to do (clients, process improvements, staff etc). The reason this works is because:

  • You’re not doing the talking, they are!
  • It’s repeated regularly, so they get to hear things more than once.
  • It is time limited. It’s not about discussion and fixing things; that can take place out of the meeting. Keep it simple, quick and to the point.
  • It becomes about the whole team, not the leader

If you would like more information on this, you will love our free downloads on managing yourself and others

The key to improving team performance is for the leader to facilitate their improvement, that’s not the same as forcing it. What has worked for you?

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