Every leader knows you can?t force your team to be more productive. Productivity needs to be cultivated and nurtured. Support and mutual respect are two of the ingredients of a productive team. What can you do to inspire your people and keep your team productive for the long run?
All great bosses and leaders have learned how important it is to listen to their team. No one knows what they need more than they do. You cannot address their needs and create a motivated work place without listening. This doesn?t just mean listening to the people brave enough to approach you with criticism. It means encouraging an environment where your entire team feels comfortable coming to you. This starts by addressing concerns that have already been raised. Offer anonymity to those who prefer it (think: suggestion box).
Don?t Rely on Email
Email is fast and easy, but it?s not always the best way to communicate. It can become especially confusing when people are replying to a group. If you want honest input on a project or the team needs to converse back and forth about something, make time for teleconferences, video conferences or in-person meetings. It will cut down on time spent checking email, eliminated missed emails mid-project, and allow you and your team to work out fine details much more quickly than emailing.
Eliminate Non-Productive Weekly Meetings
While hashing out project details in person is effective and saves time, standing weekly meetings may be just the opposite. If you find your weekly meetings are forced, little is discussed, and it?s really just a retelling of the week, nix the boring weekly meeting. The time spent preparing for and holding the meeting is time your team could be spending working.
Award your Team Wisely
Whether your whole team works in one building together or you manage a group remotely, recognition is a powerful motivational tool. However, a simple ?Good job,? is too generic. Handing out printed certificates for every little thing loses meaning fast. How do you use this strategy effectively? Be honest. Recognize individuals for specific actions you are thankful for. Be personal in your delivery, whether it?s a handwritten note, thoughtful email, or brief speech in a meeting.
Volunteer as a Team
This helps bring a team together in a way that no other function really can. Giving back to the local community is an especially powerful tool. It shows your team that together they can effect change. If you?re team is remote, this may be a little more difficult, but you could still put together something like a fundraiser where everyone can participate remotely. Friendly competition, like creating two volunteer teams of employees who challenge each other, also strengthens those team bonds.
Streamline Boring or Laborious Tasks
No matter what business you?re in, your team will undoubtedly have those tasks that must be done, but everyone dreads. Filing a report, updated contact lists, submitting invoices, and so on. Make sure you?ve got these tasks streamlined so they can be completely efficiently and with the least pain for your team. If you?re unsure whether there might be a better method, ask the people responsible for doing it. They may have great ideas. Falling into the mindset of doing things the way they?ve always been done is a real morale and time killer.
Set Clear Goals
Project deadlines, team goals, and even basic workplace expectations should be very clear. They should also be realistic. Giving your team and impossibly short deadline for a project might make them work hard to accomplish it in the short term, but it undermines the community of mutual respect and support your team needs to be productive long term.