YESTERDAY'S article discussed the importance of creating strong teams in boosting productivity levels and achieving organisational goals.
It established that following seven principles were necessary to build strong and effective teams. The first three principles were:
Purpose and mission
Playing to strengths
4. ESTABLISH WORKFLOW SYSTEM
Whenever there are problems in the workplace, ask whether there are systems in place to prevent such mistakes before you start pointing fingers at people.
Many problems arise from the lack of a clear system of doing things. One of the first questions I usually ask my clients is whether there is a system in place for certain processes which everyone knows about and understands.
I am amazed to find that people often are not clear about who is responsible for a task, and that an SOP (standard operating procedure) for it does not exist.
A contact of mine shared that she had to process many insurance claims, a task which was extremely tedious and prone to error.
I asked her if she had a clear workflow detailing how to approach her task and she said she did not.
Once she saw the importance of creating such a workflow, she was able to process every piece of work almost flawlessly.
Processes or checklists must be in place to reduce the complexity of a task and also to ensure that the quality of work is duplicated easily.
As a manager, you need to check that there is a clear workflow for each important task and that every team member follows it.
5. CREATE TIME-OUTS
A time-out is a moment in a sport like netball where any team can call the game to a halt so that its members can discuss an important issue. This break helps players to evaluate certain tactics they need to change and disrupt the opponent’s momentum in the game.
Time-outs are useful during the course of a project because it allows everyone to give their feedback, evaluate progress and make decisions on the way forward.
Commenting on what “should have been done” after a task is completed is pointless as it is too late by then to change anything.
Time-outs also let your team members know what they have done well and where they can improve, and are an opportunity for them to air their feelings and frustrations.
In a time-out, you and your team can ask:
What are we doing well?
What is not working well?
What did we learn from this?
How can we improve it?
6. ACCOUNT FOR RESULTS
One of the worst things managers can do to their staff is to tell them how to do their work. I suggest you give them the freedom to decide how they want to tackle or perform their tasks. All you need to do is to be clear about your expectations and make them accountable for the results.
Regarding accountability, set goals that can be measured. For example, create a milestones chart to track a project’s progress, set up a clear work flow of tasks that have to be accomplished by a certain date, or a sales target that has to be met within a specific time.
7. CELEBRATE EVERY WIN
Every time your team moves forward or achieves a goal, celebrate it. Gather a few members and acknowledge their contributions. Make sure you let other people know about it.
This increases morale and tells your team members that they are on the right track to success. In many teams, the opposite is true.
People are usually told where they have gone wrong and asked not to do it again. They do not have a sense of achievement and feel that they are always reprimanded when they see their boss.
According to a survey, employees believed was the most important quality to have in the workplace was the acknowledgement of their work.
This is one of the most powerful things you can do for your staff: Acknowledge their contributions and celebrate every victory. This will make them feel successful and confident enough to overcome any challenge.
Follow these seven principles when building your team — and your team will follow you.