All kinds of remarkable feats have been achieved by mankind, from the creation of things that bring us pleasure and make life easier, to those that can save our lives. Such feats are made possible by the knowhow and efforts of teams of inspired, creative and passionate workers. And behind each of these teams stands a great leader.
Leaders play a crucial role in their team members’ overall productivity, which is key to delivering high-quality work, and ultimately, positive outcomes for the organisation as well as everyone involved. As Managing Director of RGF Executive Search Malaysia, Ai Ling Lee summed it up: “Effective leaders encourage, influence and drive the team towards achieving realistic and actionable goals.”
If you’re a leader, and your team members aren’t working in sync with each other, productivity will be impacted and you’ll be struggling to achieve your goals. Here’s how you can build a collaborative team and raise productivity:
1. SET THE DIRECTION
- Set goals for the team and develop strategies towards attaining them.
- Outline key targets, analyse your team’s capacity to execute them and decide the different roles members will play, based on each individual’s skills and strengths.
- Ensure that all members are equipped with the essential information and allocated the necessary resources they need to effectively carry out their tasks.
“The company vision and mission are also critical in driving productivity as they lay out the purpose for the team and point the direction as to how they are able to make a positive difference in the industry and society at large,” said Ai Ling.
“Having sufficient internal support such as tools and resources, sharing knowledge, and formal or informal training also help in boosting productivity,” she added.
2. SET PRIORITIES
Time management is a critical factor in upping your team’s productivity and chances of success in reaching your goals. So for a start, do not overcommit your team to more projects than they can cope with, and buffer them against unreasonable expectations from the rest of the organisation.
Exhibit good time management practices yourself, such as optimising the hours of your workday spent on time-consuming activities like meetings and email correspondence. Avoid holding too many, pointless or long-drawn-out meetings. As Ai Ling explained: “As we only have 8 hours in each workday to accomplish our tasks, it is vital that we practise good time management by having productive meetings, and avoid distractions and spending time and effort on unproductive work.”
3. GIVE CLEAR DIRECTIONS
The next step is to meet with your team members one-on-one to communicate the priorities and expectations with regard to their respective roles. Be clear about the main areas they should focus on and specify the time span within which assigned tasks should be completed.
4. GIVE TEAM MEMBERS AUTONOMY
Lead the way but avoid micromanaging your team. Lay out the outcome the team should aim for and let them determine on their own how best to reach their respective goals. Instructing them what to do every step of the way could well stifle their enthusiasm for the project, and limit any initiative or creativity.
5. KEEP COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN
- Share and discuss your own ideas in a meeting and encourage team members to do the same.
- While giving them autonomy to perform their tasks, you should also keep an eye on how things are getting along by requesting intermittent status reports.
- Hold regular feedback sessions to keep everyone aligned and obtain feedback on the progress of the objectives that have been set: Are we on track? Or are there any changes or roadblocks hindering progress?
- Encourage dialogue on any issues or challenges they might be facing in the course of accomplishing their tasks.
6. BE AN ENGAGED LEADER
- Never reprimand, point fingers or assign blame when something goes wrong. Instead, render guidance, support, advice or assistance where needed to help rectify mistakes, overcome setbacks or get to the root of problems (eg. excessive workload, inadequate resources, personality clashes).
- Take a genuine interest in the welfare and wellbeing of every member – listen to every individual and dive deeper into his or her perspective of things that concern them. This will make them feel that their insights, ideas or contributions are valued.
7. PUMP UP THE TEAM SPIRIT
- Foster team collaboration by developing a positive work culture through teambuilding and social activities and programmes designed to keep morale up and stress levels down, improve members’ physical and mental wellbeing, and help members develop trust and stronger working relationships.
- Acknowledge accomplishments, show your appreciation for good performances, reward groundbreaking ideas or work that has been done to extraordinary standard or under particularly tough circumstances, and take every opportunity to celebrate both small achievements and big successes together.
8. HIRE RIGHT
Ai Ling concluded: “It is essential to have the right hire right from the start. Ensuring that new hires have the right cultural, team and competency fit will certainly have an immediate impact on overall productivity, which could be accelerated with customised mentoring and coaching.”
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RGF Executive Search Malaysia