Hey boss! Does your to-do list feature something along the lines of “improve team productivity”? You’re not alone. Long have leaders aspired to spearheading a motivated, well performing team. In reality, most are hard-pressed managing their own workload, let alone that of anyone else. Besides, there’s 1053 meetings to attend before 4pm.
In today’s complex, demanding and collaborative workplace, managing people is likely to be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do. It can also be one of the most rewarding. So stick with it! Getting more from your team is no walk in the park, but here are three steps you can take in the right direction.
- Expect excellence
A high performing team needs a leader that sets high expectations, empowers individuals to meet them and leads by example. Insisting on excellence isn’t about dictatorship, but trust and support. Clearly communicate what you expect – the deliverables themselves and how they will be achieved. Quantify it if you can. Monitor performance regularly, and when problems arise (and they will) collaborate with your team on how to address them.
- Build momentum
Look, when my to-do list is short and vague, I find it really hard to motivate myself. Can you relate? This my friend, is negative momentum. Conversely, when I’m busy with a clear goal in mind, my productivity sky rockets. It’s this positive momentum that you’ll want to harness. As team leader, it’s your role to create that momentum; like it or not, the energy that drives your team starts with you. Set the pace with defined long and short term objectives, timelines, good organisation, consistency and a healthy dose of enthusiasm.
- Get out the pom poms
A leader wears many hats, and perhaps one of the most important is that of head cheerleader. Show your team what is possible, highlight their strengths and in celebrating their wins (large and small) prove to them what is possible. Key to being a cheerleader is that you stick to the sidelines (apologies to the professional cheerleaders out there – I heard you groan). A cheerleader doesn’t piggyback the footballer throughout the game; top-performers need space to do their thing. So move aside! Trust in your team to play the game and in doing so, allow them to flourish.