Every organisation has teams of people working together. In your company, it could be your department working with another, your immediate team with a team supervised by a colleague or even teams that are cross-functional.
Whatever your team composition, there is always a need to lead them towards high performance. As a leader, the question is always, how do you do it? Here are five proven strategies:
1 Clarity of purpose
Every team exists for a specific purpose. Clarity is the most fundamental thing you need for your team to be highly effective.
Yet, teams can get so busy with daily work that they forget what really matters and why they exist in the company. Constantly drawing team members back to the purpose of the team will help them make the right choices.
At the foundation of high-performing teams is trust. While most managers say they have an open-door policy, how many of them actually have staff approaching them openly? Trust cannot be assumed just because you are their leader — it has to be earned.
Trust is a basic function of two areas: character and competence.
When you are a leader of good character, you have high moral values and integrity. You do what you say you will do on a consistent basis. To be consistent, you have to act on your promises and threats as well.
Competence is about how successful you are in performing a task at work. This means you can meet deadlines and do your work well with a high level of accuracy.
If you have character without competence, your team members will agree that you are a nice person but they can’t work with you. However, if you have competence but no character, they can work with you but they are not sure if they can trust you.
3 Open communication
Teams that perform well are composed of people who are forthcoming and who communicate well in discussions. They can make better decisions because they are not afraid to explore issues and even consider views that are harder to accept.
People do not need you to agree with them all the time, but they need you to see their point of view. When they feel their ideas have been listened to, their buy-in of the final decision will be greater.
Most teams can plan well but fail in the execution. When people are busy, you need accountability measures to ensure that everyone does what he is tasked to do.
Successful teams have frequent short meetings to ensure they are on the right track. Members normally meet on a specific day of the week for a short time to update everyone on their progress on a particular project.
They share with the team what works and what doesn’t, so everyone can learn and avoid making the same errors.
What makes a team go the extra mile? Is it their pay, benefits or something else? Most of the time, it is because their leader believes and cares for them.
Great leaders take the time to acknowledge the contributions of their staff, praise them, coach and train them well for their work. They can also see beyond the numbers and recognise each person as a valued member of the team.
Building teams towards peak performance is not rocket science but an art. If you act on the strategies outlined here, you will surely notice significant improvements in your team, onward and upward.
Article by Kenneth Kwan, a high performance strategist with Richard Gavriel Speaker Management. For more information, e-mail him at Richard@RichardGavriel.com