How do you actually make your team more productive without the constant need to motivate and micro-manage them? Why do some teams seem to progress while others can’t stick to deadlines and are always under stress?
You know your team is qualified and capable, but you just don’t know how to help team members maintain productivity at a high level. If the team always lags behind, deadlines will never be met. The tactics we listed are good for business progress, personal development and the productivity of team members.
Set clear expectations
The team needs leadership, not micromanagement. The only way the team will know what they need to do is if the goals are clearly presented and explained. Repeat even the obvious things that are important, because in most cases, not everything is as transparent as it seems to you. Challenge the team, but stay realistic, to prevent wasting valuable energy and time on unnecessary work tasks.
Update all tasks in the project management software immediately at the beginning of the workweek. Reply to emails and messages on the same day in a timely manner, even if the answer is “I received your message. If it’s okay with you, we can discuss this matter on Wednesday.”
Facilitate team communication
Set some basic communication guidelines to help the teamwork smoothly. Be honest and direct in talking to colleagues, and show respect.
Finding the right communication channel facilitates team communication. (e.g. you can initially agree that emails are more suitable for long discussions, while messages about daily tasks can be sent on Slack, etc.) For example, tell the team to check emails once or twice a day, while Slack is a daily communication channel that they can check every hour or two. Instead of replying to the general Slack channel, suggest that they write in private messages or respond to a series of comments on the channel to keep the conversation and important information organized.
Explain the importance of deadlines
Encourage the team to meet deadlines. The goal of deadlines is to determine priorities and prevent additional stress. Team needs practice and time to get used to adhering to deadlines and realizing how important deadlines are for successful project accomplishment.
When someone new joins the team, talk them through the key priorities from day one. Inform them about team goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as their personal KPIs. When one member lags behind, it affects others. Use tools like Jira or Asana to create realistic time frames and manage dates, even when priorities change.
Lead the team by personal example
If you notice that you get too involved in every project, there is a high probability that you will micro-manage the team sooner or later. By changing your own patterns of behavior, you set the right example and give team members more autonomy.
Delegate tasks, and trust that they will do well. After all, you were involved in choosing them as part of the company. Instead of correcting mistakes, encourage them to double-check the material before sending them for the client’s review. The team does not have to wait for the approval of every task, because that can be frustrating and affect productivity in a negative way.
There is no need to be present at every meeting, nor to participate in every internal team discussion. If you’re in the CC of every email and need to be a part of every discussion, maybe it’s time to change that. It is normal that you need information from time to time about how the project is progressing, but you do not have to check its status after each completed part, but rather focus on the final result.
Optimize the initial steps
The onboarding process should begin as soon as the employee accepts the offer. Schedule an appointment to go through important documentation and guidelines for working with the company.
Also, you should talk to new employees about their potential career path and development right at the beginning. Mention the exact criteria for promotion and what the potential next step on the scale is for them.
87% of companies state that mentoring improves employee efficiency. If you have the opportunity, make sure to assign a mentor to each new employee. This person should be available to answer any questions or suggestions.
Look for someone who shares the company’s values
Skills can be learned and mastered. A person whose beliefs do not match the company’s culture will find it difficult to cooperate and communicate with others, and thus the productivity of the team can be drastically reduced. When hiring, give preference to those who are compatible with the rest of the team, so that there is no mutual dissatisfaction.
In the job advertisement, emphasize which values you stand for, and you can discuss them with the selected candidate. Explain how you work as a team and let the candidate ask questions. If he gets a job, send him a document describing the company’s values, where you make a brief overview of the behavior you expect from employees, as well as an explanation of how you, as the employer, influence the improvement of organizational culture.
Organize education and training
Employment is not the only way to grow. Additional education and training help the company to achieve specific business goals, but also to accelerate the personal development of employees. Create opportunities to upgrade skills and help the company achieve more. It is important for the team to be equipped with the skills and competencies to be able to keep up with the rapidly changing economy.
The work environment evolves over time. Think about what it meant to be a social media manager in 2010 and today – the same job involves completely different duties and tasks. Continuous training shows the team that you care about their future, which is a good strategy for building trust while working to increase productivity. Training is not just for specific job skills. “Soft skills” like organization and time management are essential to maximizing productivity, and most people never get the right training for these areas.
By improving their skills and knowledge, employees also become more confident, efficient and engaged in work activities. Many managers worry about investing because there is no guarantee that employees will stay even after investing in their growth. The more skilled your people are, the more valuable they become. It is perfectly normal for some people to go and look for a position in another company, but make sure that the time spent in the company is productive and proactive for employees.