When you are manager of a team of people, you carry a heavy responsibility to create an environment for them to perform at their best. If you’re not getting the best out of them, ask yourself how much of the blame you personally have to accept for the results.
Are you helping your team members achieve to the level they know is possible? Do you assist them in building a team culture where they really want to contribute to its success?
Here’s my take on the steps you can implement to achieve a high-performing culture:
• Decide with the team how you are going to build a high-performance culture. Discuss with each team member what they expect from you on a day-to-day basis
• Provide clear expectations and priorities for teamwork and discuss how great team behaviour can be exhibited daily
• Help team members to gain a sense of ownership by sharing the group’s goals, such as productivity, costs, schedule, customer service, production quotas, etc. Let team members help you in tracking what is important progress measurements
• Let team members help in problem-solving. If you deal with other departments, help team members set up cross-departmental improvement groups to ascertain how each department can assist each other
• Let team members have input to agendas for team meetings and have the chance to lead the meetings at times
• If you have a new account or new project, solicit the help of team members in detailing what direction they should take to make the project a success. The more ownership they have of results, the committed they feel to making it work
• Keep lines of communication open. Include team members in plans, processes, results, challenges and project development. Let them see customer feedback. Highlight the relationships with other departments. Tell them what higher management strategies mean to them as a team. Communicate the state of the business, and the part they can play in it.
• Encourage a team ‘code of conduct’ that will develop a team ethos for working together. Ask them what they think a professional team would look like. See if you can get a short film of a Formula One pit-stop team working together. What do they need to do to produce such stunning results? How much do they rely on each other? What can they learn from the pit-stop team that would work in their situation?
• Provide good coaching sessions to each team member so that they feel part of the development of the team and can contribute to their team’s multi-skilling opportunities
If you are able to nurture your team to accept responsibility for the results they achieve, you create a culture of belief in them that will help them go from strength to strength and build a firm foundation for excellence in all they do.
Originally published: 14 June, 2011
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