How to Build a Productive Team
To build a productive team, you must do the following:
- Set communication expectations
- Give team members ownership of your group
- Establish baseline for trust
- Continually support and nurture your team
- Provide a clear road-map for current objectives and future challenges
- Denounce glory – share the scoreboard
- Create a team-spirit culture
- Respect each other
- Accountability matters MOST!
Building a professional and productive team is more about finding a group of people with professional skills. How can someone lay the groundwork for a highly productive team that can communicate, cooperate and innovate in an atmosphere that exudes trust and respect? What is the art of fostering a strong sense of teamwork? Let’s talk about it.
If You are a Leader
As leaders, we want to build the kind of team that is highly productive. If you have already worked with a multitude of executive leaders, then you already know that many people in leadership tend to think their teams are the best. While this may be true, there’s always some room for improvement.
Why is this the case?
Simply put, a good team is just like that, but a productive team is different. When employees of a certain workplace truly feel cared for and engage consistently, this aspect gives birth to a productive team.
The key to creating a productive team – and a positive workspace culture – is rooted in strong collaboration and communication.
Communicate – You can always make more friends!
Model the behaviors you want your team to embody. Set the stage for how you want your company’s ecosystem to look like. If you are open and transparent, it encourages the team to exhibit the same approach. Allow your team to feel comfortable discussing new ideas, pending issues and to inspire the healthy art of interactive debates.
Encouraging open communication helps establish awesome synergy and not only allows the team to be productive, but also to feel valued and engaged. Add value to your services by adding value to people supporting you!
For instance, if you’re a project manager at a big-shot company, ensure effective communication. This will – with effect – help your team members understand their job responsibilities. If a gap is created, productivity is impaired. It’s that simple.
Trust your Team – Trust YOURSELF
I think it’s easy for people at many companies to become cynical. Workplace politics is like a cancer that can topple even the greatest companies. Do you think what happened to Nokia was just a fight against time? Think again.
The reason for any culture to thrive is respect, but more importantly, you need to be able to trust each other. Your team is not a set of pawns on a chessboard. Set the tone right; a team cannot succeed without trust. Establish a baseline that allows your team members to feel safe. As a result, they’ll freely discuss ideas or share delicate concerns without the fear of unjustified judgement – or just judgement.
As a leader, it is your job to create a safe space for a team to experiment and fail. Mistakes are part of any successful process and naturally the pivot of a desirable learning curve for any business. A leader is not just a person. A leader isn’t an amalgamation of his/her thoughts or motives, but a qualitative perception of people even remotely related to him/her.
Trust the leader within you, and trust the team inspired to work for you. You’ll be amazed by how things will change!
Note: For the millennial generation, a certain chief executive once said: “I don’t need everyone to be best friends, but I need to have a team with M.R.I. So… you can say anything to anyone, as long as you say it the right way. Maybe you need to preface it with, ‘Can you help me understand why you don’t want to do this, or why you wanted to do this?’”
M.R.I stands for ‘Most Respectful Interpretation’. Trust your team, and inspire respect forever.
Never stop Supporting your team – Nurture the Potential!
To allow your team to perform best, nurture and support them. Collaboration is the backbone to your strategy; build your entire culture around it. Promote, encourage, model and support this principle to realize the success of your dreams. If you ever sense collaboration or morale is low, consider team building. Team building is highly effective in helping teams come together, thrive and perform.
Sharing is Caring
The benefits of having a simple plan from the get-go create a shared goal that motivates people to identify themselves as part of a big group. Think for a bit. Ever played rugby? For example, let’s digress a bit. There are many tribes in a team – offense and defense, linemen and receivers, running backs and defensive backs. But because the goal of the team is clear, and there’s an external scoreboard to track progress, there is a greater sense of “us” on the team than the “us and them” dynamic that can often divide colleagues in companies.
Define metrics to harmonize a group of large people, whether its dozens, or even thousands. When they’re on their own and make their own decisions, they can be empowered to make those decisions with your metrics. After doing that, your team will realize how closely their decisions are already aligned with that of the company.
However, if everyone has their own ways of keeping score, then you’ll see nothing but fights and arguments.
They’re arguing about how to keep score. They’re arguing about what game we’re really playing. That’s all counterproductive – having the opposite of a desired effect.
Once you devise a simple plan and invoke the past discrepancies for a slide down the dumpster, your team suddenly adopts a laissez-faire approach towards each other. They finally understand the internalized fracas that had caused past problems, and finally begin to re-evaluate their priorities. This is a positive step. But don’t allow this to turn into a dangerous overthinking-frenzy-type situation. MAKE A LIST.
Make a List and Stick to It!
The most important thing is for the team or company to live by their stated values, rather than just going through the motions of the exercise, with people earning promotions even though their behavior runs directly counter to the stated rules of the road.
Avoid the following traps:
- Don’t make your lists too long. Most people can’t remember more than three things day-to-day, and the lists don’t need to somehow address all potential human behavior, good and bad. Just focus on the things that feel unique to the group or organization, and are good reminders to keep everyone aligned and moving forward.
- Specific is better than vague. Many lists of values share similar words, like excellence and integrity, but those broad notions can create problems of their own. The problem with values like respect and courage is that everybody interprets them differently. Instead of creating friction, find common ground and release that positivity which has stayed dormant for all this time.
Accountability works both ways – where do you stand?
Treating people with respect is part of a two-way street to help foster teamwork. At the same time, leaders also need to hold everyone on their team accountable for their work and role on the team. In effect, it’s a simple bargain that leaders can offer their employees: “I’ll treat you well, but we’re also going to be clear about the work you’re expected to contribute.”
At many companies, this culture of accountability is discussed explicitly. So, if you’re working at a big company, do NOT say you’re going to do something and not do it, because in a company of this size, everybody is directly responsible for the person next to them.
Just as you say it, DO IT. Every time you work with someone at any company, the trust-battery between you two is either charged or discharged. It is generally based on the things like whether you deliver on what you promise. We humans typically work like this. It’s just that we decided to create a metaphor so that we can talk about this in performance reviews without people feeling like the criticisms are personal.
A Final Word for Word
Make. Conversation. Easy.
A big part of holding people accountable for their work is a willingness to have frank discussions about problems and misunderstandings that inevitably arise among colleagues. But the fact is that most managers go out of their way to avoid these “adult conversations.” It’s understandable. They can be unpleasant, and most people would rather deliver good news instead of bad. Also, you never quite know how somebody’s going to react to feedback. That is why problems are often swept under the rug, and maybe dealt with months later in an annual performance review. HAHA to that, right?
On a serious note, you should never make statements that include assumptions about the motivations behind someone’s behavior. Instead, you should stay on your side of the net and talk only about what you’re observing and your own reactions and feelings. That way, it’s harder for people to get their back up because you’re not devising rationales to explain someone else’s behavior.
Consider, for example, the small but important difference in approaches in the following paragraph:
- “I’ve noticed you keep showing up 20 minutes late, and it seems like you don’t care.” The boss has gone over the net here and accused the person of not caring.
- “I’ve noticed you keep showing up 20 minutes late, and it makes me feel like you don’t care.” Here, with just a small language tweak, the boss is staying on the right side of the net, and avoided an overheated conversation because the employee can’t argue about how someone feels.
Note: This example was taken from an excerpt of Mr Andrew Thompson, a Chief Exec of Proteus Digital Health.
Expect feedback and always be ready for it. How often people give feedback is just as important as how they deliver it. Some leaders tell their employees upfront that they are going to give them frequent feedback. That way, employees are not so alarmed when the feedback comes, and they’re more open to hearing it and acting on it. That’s the way to do it, so take note!
If there ever was an overarching theme for a perfect way to make and maintain the ideal ‘productive team’, I wouldn’t be writing this for you. But, the human mind has remarkable tendencies to achieve on both sides of a singular objective. Try being simple in theory, and inhibit a personality that invites frank conversations – and, with effect – better relationships, on-and-off the field of work.
It heartens the soul to feel productive and simple, so if this article was any good for you, follow our page for updated posts!