Teamwork makes the dream work. Whether that’s a business dream, sports goal or a community project, working as a team certainly can help goals to be achieved faster. However, teamwork is not always as simple as throwing a bunch of people together and letting them get on with whatever task is needed. Different personalities, communication styles and working methods can adversely impact a team’s productivity. Below are five tips for getting past these common barriers and creating a more productive team for your business.
Tips for improving team productivity
- Play to strengths to manage weaknesses
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Some of us are great at organization; others of us are less organized and more creative. Understanding the different strengths and weaknesses of each team member allows you to set goals that help each play to their strengths while supporting other’s weaknesses.
If you’ve got an exceptionally creative team member, have them lead the brainstorming sessions and be more involved with problem solving tasks. Methodical, logical workers can apply their strengths to organization of timelines, systems and reports.
- Communication is key
Miscommunication breeds failure, great communication is the cornerstone of effective teams and increased productivity. Be clear about business expectations, goals and working protocols. And don’t be confined to business communication only. It’s important to get to know team members on a more personal level. It boosts engagement and makes for higher levels of team cohesion – the key for great team work and increased productivity. Ask about activities outside of work and build to deeper and more meaningful relationship with colleagues to really get to know who they are.
- A culture of support and accountability
Knowing your team on a deeper level and understanding what makes them tick will help you identify stress moments for individuals. Being open about your own stress points and having honest and open discussions about managing mental and physical health with your team makes it easier for others to be open about what they need to bring their best selves to work. Conversations about getting enough sleep, remaining healthy and happy might have once seemed to be a no-go area for workplaces, but it’s these types of conversations that will boost engagement, connection and productivity.
- Individual autonomy
A little bit of trust and responsibility can go a long way when it comes to increased engagement and productivity. No one likes to be micromanaged and it’s been shown to damage employee trust and increase turnover.
Rather than picking over every task, decision and mistake, it’s better to give team members a little autonomy within each project and allow them room to make small mistakes. Not only will it help them grow as individuals and learn; doing so will increase personal accountability, trust in management, their own skills and that of the team.
- Praise and Feedback
Remembering to say thanks and feeding back on performance can have an enormous impact on a team’s morale and productivity. Both are important to keep people engaged and on track. Let your team know how they are performing in particular areas and remember, feedback is a two-way street so give the opportunity for them to respond.
Praise needs to be specific, timely and sincere – waiting until Christmas to commend someone for achieving difficult goals at the beginning of the year is hardly worth the breath.
Team cohesion, communication and engagement are all key for increasing productivity. Understanding individual strengths, keeping conversations open and honest and remembering to give credit where it’s due will help build happier and more productive teams at work.