Three Leadership Tasks That Unleash Team Productivity
How do teams succeed in attaining a high degree of productivity and results? With all the road blocks that can cause a team to careen off the path to success, how do some teams productively navigate past them?
Ensuring the success of a team means curing all the faults we explored in our last post, because if you leave even one impediment unattended it could derail productivity.
The leadership responsibilities for building and guiding a productive team fall into three key areas:
Set clear direction
Successful teams clearly understand where they are going, and the reason for doing so. They understand what value their results will have in helping other parts of the organization succeed. If you as the team leader cannot clearly express the goals and how the desired result fits into and supports the larger corporate mission, you are not ready to build the team! Stop and get that direction straight in your own mind (and your boss’ mind!) before launching the project.
Line up all the needed resources
- Get your senior executives to buy-in on the team mission, and get their commitment to participate in communicating the mission to the team, and sharing their passion for helping to achieve the goals set in place. Keep these senior folks involved with updates, in-person wherever possible.
- Identify other corporate resources that may be needed, and get commitments from the managers who control those resources to support your team’s work.
- Keep these managers involved, too. Give them credit for helping. Invite them to the update sessions when the senior executives participate and publicly recognize their help.
Put the team together carefully
This is growing trend with our clients. Organizations are getting much savvier about using assessment, job DNA and team profile tools that can accelerate the team-building process. Take advantage of all these productive tools. You will get the group through the “getting to know you” phase faster, create greater cohesion and accelerate their ability to get to work on achieving team goals.
Diversity of talent and temperament also are critical elements that oil the gears of productive teams. Outline the complementary skill sets that the team needs, and assess the behavior traits of team candidates to match people who have a chance to work well together. Address style differences head-on, and raise awareness between members of differences in style and motivation between people. Use the assessment tools to give them the insight they need to better communicate with and support each other.
The Bottom Line:
Anticipate all the above stumbling blocks, acknowledge that they exist (and could crop up at any time), and line up an action plan with the team to address them head-on.
No team is naturally doomed to failure, but most teams fail if left to their own devices and starved of attention!
What team-based horror stories do you have? Was the group successful in battling through the issues and achieving what you set out to do? How did you accomplish those successes?