6 Tips for Managing a Productive Team
Many company owners and executives want to believe that a team of highly-experienced people can turn out great results without a lot of intervention. Don’t fall for this misconception. The best teams know how to operate effectively and efficiently because they have a leader who knows how to bring out the best in them. Here are six tips to help you make your team more productive and efficient.
1.Set realistic goals and communicate them clearly
The first problem that most businesses encounter is the fact that they don’t know how to set effective goals and communicate them. They either set the bar too high or too low, and then they assume their team members understand exactly what they’re thinking. Setting the bar too high prevents team members from ever reaching the goal, leaving them demoralized or at the mercy of unrealistic schedules, while setting goals too low makes reaching the goal completely inconsequential and irrelevant. In other words, the achievements made by pursuing these goals are rendered completely meaningless. Communicating clearly about your expectations ensures that your team doesn’t have to waste hours redoing work that unintentionally missed the mark. Also remember that goals should be grounded in SMART principles: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Using these parameters, you can adequately measure their level of completion and your progress towards them.
2. Assign roles accordingly
In some teams, skills, personalities, and experiences of members are so specific that the division of work comes naturally, but this is not something you can afford to rely on. It’s best to clearly assign roles and tasks so everyone knows who is responsible for each part of the project. Without clear assignments, it’s easy for everyone to assume that someone else is taking care of essential work, and you want to make sure accountability is built into every phase.
3. Give adequate feedback
Building an excellent team also depends on your ability to give adequate feedback. Your staff looks up to you for guidance, even if they don’t want you constantly hovering over their work. It’s best to keep your comments balanced — too much praise means your team has no idea how to improve, but lots of criticism will make your team stop giving you their best because nothing ever meets your approval. Offering regular doses of constructive criticism also teaches team members that they can get less-than-stellar feedback without feeling like failures.
4. Schedule tasks
Take charge of setting schedules and deadlines so your team is clear on direction and priorities when they come into work each day. It might be tempting to let your team help define those parameters, but chances are that you have the best perspective on what tasks need to be completed in what order so there isn’t a stressful scramble at the end. With short-term goals and deadlines in place, the whole team has a better sense of direction and the security of knowing how the project is paced.
5. Avoid unnecessary meetings
An Atlassian survey found that an average office worker spends about 31 hours every month in meetings. While there’s nothing like an in-person brainstorming session, you probably need fewer meetings than you think. Too many times, your creatives are probably hard at work, at the peak of their efficiency, only to be interrupted by a notification for a meeting that doesn’t involve them at all. Reducing the number of unnecessary meetings reduces distractions and saves you more than one and a quarter work days each month, which could be a huge boost to your productivity. As an alternative, you could hold standup meetings, either in person or over instant messaging. Another option would be to send an email summary on some of the less urgent topics.
6. Plan for growth
Finally, remember that having a fast-growing company is fantastic — until you can’t manage the pace. Without a solid framework in place, too much growth can overextend your team and leave clients or customers disappointed. When the demand for your services exceeds your capacities, you need to be prepared to answer some essential questions. Should you outsource extra work to someone else within the industry? Should you hire more staff? Should you simply turn down this extra work? Having these answers — or at least knowing how to analyze how your company responds to growth— will help protect you from drowning in work without a life preserver.
Be the leader your team needs
Building a team that knows how to make dependable decisions and when to ask for help takes more than a few leadership classes. Good communication is key to relay company goals to your team, clarify roles to distribute responsibilities effectively and provide a feedback loop that enhances your chances of success. Building a realistic schedule and trimming out distractions will help you keep every project on track and on time. And finally, knowing where you’re headed when success hits will help create a team that’s focused on performance and sustainability at every stage of your company’s growth.
Author Bio: Nick Brown is a blogger and marketing expert currently working on projects for FreshOps, a roster software company in Australia. He is an aspiring street artist and does audio/video editing as a hobby.