How to Boost Team Productivity |

Productivity is Catching: How to Boost Team Productivity

How modeling effective productivity skills can have a positive impact on your team members.

You know the old saying that kids do what you do, not what you say? Employees are by no means children, but there is a grain of truth to the concept, even for adults!

The single biggest barrier to productivity in the workplace is… drum roll, please: managers. Team members saddled with an ineffective, discouraging, uninspiring and unmotivating leadership will not be as productive. Of course, there are other factors in how productivity is missed, but poor leadership is top of the list.

When it comes to productivity, leaders who model the desired behavior, as well as encourage, inspire and motivate, will find the productivity of their team members goes through the roof.

First and foremost: Walk the walk

Engage in and model the behavior you expect your team to display. There is nothing a leader can do that is more compelling and motivating than applying the rules to themselves.

If you expect your team to be respectful of one another, be respectful to each of them. You expect them to communicate with one another? Do the same. You expect them to provide peer feedback that is constructive? You need to model that.

A leader who walks the walk, instead of just talking and then going in another direction, will be respected; this is of major importance to the high productivity of a team.

Understanding the difference between working long and real productivity

Productivity is not about the hours spent sitting in a chair, in a cubicle or at a workstation. An employee who arrives at 8 and leaves at 7 is not necessarily being productive with their time. Unfortunately, many lesser managers engage in and reward that behavior instead of praising the employee who gets their work done and done well.

Why? When asked, some managers feel that the one employee’s behavior sets an example to others about tenacity and working hard.

Note to this manager: it doesn’t.

What does set an example are leaders understanding what their team is accomplishing and what individual members are contributing. Rewarding effort, not time in the chair, makes all the difference.

Recognizing the value of training

Anyone who says they know it all is lying. Every level of an organization can benefit from training at some point or other, which enhances productivity. Being open to learning and change, at the highest levels, models behavior that a team will more readily adopt.

Supporting the value of training, as well as other needs the team might have, shows an openness and adaptability that can only enhance productivity across the board.

Feedback and recognition

As noted in the beginning of this post, productivity is affected most by ineffective, discouraging, uninspiring and unmotivating leadership.

Modelling the right behavior is an indirect way of encouraging team members. If paired with more direct methods, such as constructive positive feedback and recognition of effort, a leader is providing inspiration to each and every team member — motivation that can be returned to them in productivity and loyalty.

Whatever you are looking to achieve with your team, modeling the right behavior is the surest way to get what you want from them. Respect is a two-way street and employees who receive it will return it.

If you want to make changes to how you lead and work, take it 5 degrees at a time for substantive, long-term results. The 5 Degree Principle will help you to attain your goals, in work and in life, one step at a time.

The Key to Good Teamwork is Kindness

The Key to Good Teamwork Is…

Drumroll please…

While many factors come into play in creating and maintaining a solid and healthy working team, the bottom line comes down to such a simple thing: kindness.

Yes, it’s true, according to the mother of all team creators, Google.

Wanting to find out what makes the quintessential team, a … well, a team was formed at Google and given a project name: Project Aristotle.

The project compiled data from hundreds of interviews with Google employees to attempt to pinpoint the perfect combination that would lead to a solid team: was it team members? Was it skill sets? Google was bound and determined to find the perfect algorithm: the one that defined a top team.

As it turned out, the right algorithm wasn’t about the WHO but about the HOW. The members of the team—their skills, abilities, experience—was found to be less important than how the team members interacted with one another. In other words, HOW they worked together as a team was more important than WHO they were as individual team members.

This probably isn’t ‘breaking news’ to anyone who has experience leading teams but it’s significant in that it puts into specific relief that which many leaders—including people like Steven Covey—have suspected all along: psychological safety is the key to an effective team.

Covey said in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Members of productive teams take the effort to understand each other, find a way to relate to each other, and then try to make themselves understood.”

Put another way, kindness drives a good team. Specifically, the project discovered five keys to a successful team:

  1. Psychological safety—taking risks within the team and in front of one another without feeling as if there will be negative repercussions.
  2. Dependability—knowing that each member will do their best work, on time.
  3. Structure and clarity—having each member be absolutely clear on their role, the processes for the project/team and the ultimate goal they are trying to achieve together.
  4. Meaning of work—each team member feels personally invested in the work being accomplished.
  5. Impact of work—each team member feels that the work matters, in the overall scheme of the organization and the world at large.

Identifying solidly with all five keys is the hallmark of an effective team. A leader who feels that this isn’t happening with his or her team can take heart if the first of the five is underway in his or her group. Why? Because ‘psychological safety’ is at the heart of all the keys and without it, the rest doesn’t hang together. It’s primary and most important.

A team can’t be effective if its members, including the leader, don’t feel safe sharing or putting out their ideas, in effect creating vulnerability vis-a-vis their team members. Work on that and you’ve got a team that’s working.

5 Traits of Highly Effective Work Teams

strong team

Work teams are an integral part of so many businesses today.  It is important that teams work well together to innovate, problem solve, and ultimately move a company toward success.  To develop a strong team, strive to adopt the following 5 traits, common in highly effective work teams:

Clear Goals – Effective teams define what success is, and commit to achieving specific, attainable goals necessary to reach that success within a given time frame.  All members of the team know, understand, and strive to reach that end.

Commitment – In truly effective teams, every single member is committed to the purpose and success of an organization and the team itself.  Team members not only commit to their individual roles, but they also support and cheer on other members until team objectives are met.

Strong Communication – Effective teams exemplify clear, two-way communication.  Regardless of personality style, each member is listened to and offers consistent, valuable feedback.

Trust – Trust is a crucial characteristic of strong work teams.  People who feel valued and trusted keep themselves accountable and are encouraged and empowered to take on greater responsibilities, produce, and innovate.

Purpose – Effective teams are driven to succeed when they maintain a strong sense of purpose. Leaders of these teams deliver a strong mission that motivates and inspires people to complete their individual tasks in order to benefit a greater cause.