How to Reverse a Non-Functioning Team
June 10 2019 - Low team productivity can affect employee morale and hinder growth in a company.
Workplace stress, inefficient organisational structure, or even poor management can cause companies to stagnate. While there is a plethora of reasons why team productivity could dip, there are some sure-fire ways to reverse it.
Be a better manager
High productivity is generally down to good team management. Right now, industries aren't looking for bosses that micromanage - instead, they are looking for leaders who consistently improve and are able to reinvigorate their co-workers.
Know your team. Having a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses will help you improve how you manage their workflow. If your job requires more collaborative work, take notice how well the team members work together. This gives you a bit of leeway in leveraging your team's strengths while focusing on the drawbacks.
Develop a tailored management style. A more experienced employee needs more independence to function well and perform. While a less experienced team member may need a more hands-on approach.
Focus on building a good team. Leadership Thoughts explains how team building is largely about directing the team to establish clear objectives. You must set well-defined and realistic goals for the whole team as well as individual roles for each members. U.S. legal experts Special Counsel state that workers must "collaborate to innovate" no matter what industry they are working in. Optimise collaborative productivity tools like shared calendars or task platforms to promote teamwork. Encouraging team members to work together is a good way to turn an unproductive team around.
Maximise independence to unleash initiative. This cannot be stressed enough: do not micromanage. When responsibilities are well defined, it's easier for employees to feel ownership of their work and, in turn, imbue accountability. Consider telecommuting where possible.
The key to increasing efficiency is letting them focus on their core tasks and taking out the unnecessary ones. As much as possible, keep multitasking to a minimum. Multitasking has been shown to be less efficient than doing successive single tasks.
Streamline meetings. Meetings should be more of a huddle than a congregation. Management consultant firm Abintra suggests that the new meeting room etiquette is more about collaboration and flexibility than bureaucratic rule.
Foster a better work culture
Physical environments and work relationships affect employees' productivity. Coaching firm N2growth's expert Mike Myatt expresses that a "toxic work culture can only exist where a lack of trust and respect are present, and this only occurs in the absence of sound leadership."
Communication is key. Communicate clearly when you need your team to put in extra hours. Mismanaged expectations are some of the leading reasons bad habits get out of hand. You should also act as a buffer against your organisation's unrealistic expectations.
Reserve downtime. Studies have proven repeatedly that employees with a good work-life balance tend to be more satisfied, more collaborative, and more productive.
Incentivise productivity. While higher pay doesn't correlate to higher productivity, bonuses, even non-material incentives, on the other hand, it can provide a push to motivate employees to put in more work.
Give credit where credit is due. A good rule of thumb is: praise in public and criticise behind closed doors.
Lastly, introduce and improve healthy feedback mechanisms such as monthly team assessments or one-on-one sessions, if possible, to foster a nurturing and professional environment. The team must be on-board at all times if you want to reverse a non-functioning team.