Teams are great for accomplishing projects or complex operations / tasks. High performing teams can get more done more quickly than any one person. However, keeping teams on task and on track can be a real challenge. Even great teams can get distracted or pulled in the wrong direction. So how do you keep your team’s productivity up?
Here are 6 secrets to team productivity:
- Have fun. When people enjoy what they do and the people they are doing it with productivity will increase. Find small ways to break tension and stress by having some fun. Laugh at yourself in a team meeting, take a lunch break together that is different than normal (go out or bring in picnic foods, whatever works), create funny rewards for participation or ideas, or something else that will bring humor to the team without poking fun at anyone else. A couple of minute laugh break can get a meeting or work session back on track faster than pushing through it.
- Allow personal space. Working closely together can become suffocating at times. Create a way for people to step away and work independently for a while. Unwinding and working alone can make coming back together to share results and progress more rewarding. People need quiet time.
- Keep updates short. While reviewing individual updates, limit the time people can spend sharing their reports. Making sure this portion moves fast helps build a sense of momentum and eliminates boredom while others drag on. Use a template if needed, drive the discussion of tasks and hold people to the agenda.
- Avoid the blame game. Things will go wrong at times, instead of looking for people to blame focus on moving forward. If people are worried about getting in trouble for an error they are not working on needed tasks or assignments. Make it okay to make mistakes as long as people own their actions and bring solutions with them. Always be looking towards the finish line.
- Pick 3 things. Too often departments or teams have too many goals to focus on at any one time. Pick the top 3 or 5 things you need to do this week/month. Get these in the spot light and work towards them. When they are done move on to the next items. As the leader you need to set priorities for your team and help them know what is critical right now. Limit the number of critical items so they can be accomplished.
- Believe. If you believe your team can reach or exceed their goals and you communicate that often they will believe it. Holding people accountable is important but holding people capable is empowering. Show them that you trust them to get it done and they will surprise you with their results.
Some of these may be unexpected ideas, but creating an environment that encourages, supports and empowers people to perform well will get you the results you need. You can use measures and metrics to ensure things are being done on time and with the right quality level. Getting teams to consistently perform well requires the right environment and support.
What are your secrets to improving team productivity?