The power of effective teams has been on full display throughout the pandemic. Colleagues that found ways to stay connected even when they were physically apart were able to navigate the disruption to their work and lives more effectively than teams that functioned in silos. Connection in a disconnected world is paramount to a team’s success but it can be a challenge to keep people together when they have to keep their physical distance. What can you do to support healthier working relationships and improve your team’s efficacy? Let’s explore 5 strategies to help.
How can you improve team effectiveness?
Some managers might hope their teams find their stride automatically but if you want to take a more direct approach to supporting your team members, start with these 5 strategies.
Be authentic with your teammates: Leaders across the globe have had to shift their leadership approach to work in a remote world. What we’re learning after months of being in the pandemic is that employees respond best to team leadership that’s more empathetic and authentic. Employees want to hear how their managers are dealing with the same struggles everyone is facing and are rewarding leaders who are able to be honest and vulnerable. Gone are the days when leaders were expected to be perfect. Now teamwork is more about making mistakes together and finding solutions as a unit. Effective leaders are able to admit their faults and when they do, it helps to create a safer, more open environment for the whole team to work within.
Prioritize well-being: Effective teams are about more than just targets and deadlines. Yes, productivity is important but your teams will achieve more when they feel safe and supported. Part of that comes from investing in your employees’ well-being. The past year has been hard on many people and you might not know everything that your employees are dealing with at home. It’s a good idea to regularly take the temperature of your team so that you can provide help when and if it’s needed. One-on-one checking-ins and employee surveys can be a great way to gather that sort of feedback to ensure no one on your team gets left behind.
Clarify goals and responsibilities: Sometimes there can be confusion about roles and responsibilities on a team. In a remote world, that overlap can be even harder to identify. If you’re bringing in a new project or pivoting to a different strategy, it’s a good idea to spend some time upfront gaining buy-in from your team and explaining what everyone will be responsible for. Make sure you explain why responsibilities are being assigned, especially if employees are being called on to switch up the way they have been previously working. Teams that have a clear, shared vision of what they’re trying to achieve have a much better chance at producing a positive end result than ones who are all trying to work independently without any overlap or discussion. Clarity makes way for collaboration and communication so when it doubt, book that team meeting and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Improve interpersonal understanding: Did you know that our temperament has a significant impact on how we’ll perform in a given role? It lays the foundation of who we are and impacts our motivations, drive, and ability to interact with others, among other things. When managers and employees take the time to learn more about both their own temperament and each others’ they are better able to understand how they can fit together as a team. You probably know the Golden Rule to treat others as you would want to be treated. For great team effectiveness, though, it’s better to focus on the Platinum Rule of treating others how they want to be treated. By exploring each other’s strengths and weaknesses team members can learn how to collaborate more effectively together and treat each other more fairly. Not to mention, improving interpersonal relationships is linked to high-performing teams so if you want your team to operate as efficiently as possible, invest in the team development that will get you there.
Create a culture of feedback and learning: The most effective teams know that team performance isn’t dependent on one moment in time but rather tied to the ongoing culture they create together. Leaders should prioritize building a team culture that creates a safe space for everyone to grow and learn together. Employees who are given opportunities to embrace new skills and personal learning paths are more likely to stay in a role longer and contribute more to their teams. After all, happy employees are the goal, and one way to help them get there is to prove that they are valued. Check-in with them regularly. Make sure you have feedback loops in place to alert teams to any issues early on and debrief teams after each project on what went well and what can be improved. Over time, the psychological safety of your teams will increase, and with it, their ability to work more effectively together.
Don’t miss McQuaig’s own Team Effectiveness Workshop
Did you know McQuaig offers a half-day workshop designed to help teams work more effectively together? During the workshop, you’ll explore each of your team member’s unique personality traits along with an analysis of the team’s overall personality composition. This will allow you to better leverage teammate’s strengths, manage group weaknesses, and develop strategies to support each other. The ultimate goal of the workshop is to turn teams into a positive, cohesive unit with a strong understanding of both themselves and each other. When teams are given the opportunity to learn and grow, it strengthens their foundation and brings colleagues closer together. Contact us today to learn how your team can benefit from the McQuaig Team Effectiveness Workshop and how we can help you turn disconnection into success.
Effective teamwork leads to great performance
The value of strong teams can’t be underscored enough. Not only do effective teams approach decision-making and problem-solving with more cohesion, but they’re also better able to see the big picture of what they can produce together. Team goals are shared, as are the success and rewards of a job done well, and team members trust the people they’re working with. When that kind of environment exists on a team, companies report less turnover and higher levels of job satisfaction. But that sort of team building won’t just happen. Managers and leaders need to provide the right tools for successful team effectiveness. And when they do, good teams can turn into great ones.