Thursday, February 11, 2016

Action for improving team efficiency

Working with teams, whether as leader of a single team or manager of several, is an essential part of a manager’s remit. Team working is rapidly becoming the preferred practice in many organizations as traditional corporate hierarchies give way to flat, multi skilled working methods. 

Here are 10 actions for improving team efficiency:

Analyze team dynamics. Good team leaders make the most of the human assets at their disposal. To do this, you need to understand each group member, how their behavior changes within the team, and how individual responses vary at different stages in the team’s development.

Communicate effectively. Strong communication links are vital to the well being of a team. The most effective links occur naturally – for example, the casual conversation – but these will need supplementing by new technology. Choose the most appropriate method to suit your team.

Run team meetings. Making team meetings effective is a major test of leadership skills. The key to holding a productive meeting is to involve everybody actively in the proceedings. Ensure that team members understand the purpose of each meeting and what is expected of them.

Network a team. All teams, no matter what their purpose, depend to a considerable extent on good networking skills. Make full use of the formal and informal connections both inside and outside your organization to provide valuable support for your team.

Share information. No person and no team is an island. Two-way information links between a team and the rest of an organization, and its external support are vital for efficiency. Remember that collaboration and co-operation are hindered by the absence of open communication.

Think creatively. Without new ideas, teams are unlikely to achieve the breakthroughs that generate real success. Creative thinking is a team responsibility in which all members should participate. Develop it in teams through plenty of training and practice.

Deal with problems. Team members not only solve problems – they also create them. It is vital to build up loyalty between team members so that all difficulties, whether personal, work-related, or procedural, are tackled before they undermine the collective team spirit.

Improve standards. Any systematic approach to improving performance needs to challenge existing ways of working. Teams looking to improve must learn to generate their own tasks, tackle problems, agree on solutions, and implement their decisions with confidence.

Measure performance. If something cannot be measured, it cannot be improved upon. This basic principle applies to any job. Define individual and team standards – that they always meet deadlines, for instance – to give a targeted objective by which performance can be judged.

Track team progress. A good team is aware of the need to remain dynamic. Review progress regularly to maintain momentum, provide an overview, and ask team members, singly or in groups, to define specific aspects of the project that could be improved in the future.