In today's typical company, up to 80 percent of employees' days are spent working in teams. The benefits can be enormous: higher-quality and faster problem-solving; a diversity of knowledge and experience that leads to better customer service; and speedier responses, due to fewer layers of bureaucracy. Unfortunately, those benefits aren't often realized, write the authors of The Best Team Wins: The New Science of High Performance (Simon & Schuster, 2018).
"The problem is the teams we find are nowhere near as effective as they could be, and worse, are often riven by massive tensions if not outright dissension," write best-selling authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. "Such dysfunction drains employee energy, enthusiasm and creativity rather than fueling them."
Gostick and Elton share tips for overcoming challenges and building cohesive, productive teams. Their recommendations are based on responses from 50,000 working adults to a 100-question survey they developed, in addition to data gleaned from more than 850,000 additional employee engagement surveys, site visits and interviews.
The book offers 101 ways to inspire your team. Here are 10:
- Keep remote workers focused. Add weekly one-on-one updates and quarterly goal-setting to better focus your remote employees (as well as everyone else on your team).
- Learn employees' stories. Sit down with each of your direct reports for 15 minutes and learn their stories. Ask about each person's background and his or her hopes and goals for the future. Take notes.
- Find their flow. Ask each of your direct reports to identify the most satisfying aspects of their jobs so that more of these tasks can be incorporated into their work.
- Recognize your MVPs. Start giving out a weekly award to recognize teammates who excel and those who do the so-called dirty work.
- Define your purpose. You might not be able to influence the bigger company mission, but you can gather your people to define a team purpose. If you've already got a team purpose, get together to talk about what it means in your day-to-day work. Are you living it? Where is the team falling short? What could you all do better?
- Better allocate your time. Conduct an inventory of how you spend your time. Is it with employees? Customers? Bosses? Paperwork?
- Send daily updates. Be much more open with your team about what you are up to in your meetings and other activities. At the end of the week, ask for feedback.
- Understand the allure. Find a way to help employees better understand your competitors' wares and, more important, lead your team in a discussion about how to outpace your rivals.
- Repeat purpose unpredictably. Put together a chart and consider what you can do to shake up the way you communicate your team's purpose.
- Create a kindness fund. Consider what the members of your team can do to help one another or your community. Put a plan in place to give back in some fashion.
Want more? Here's a bonus tip:
- Block off an hour a day. Set aside the same hour every day to silence your phone, turn off your computer, and get out and connect with your team.
The authors provide a playbook that can give every organization an edge: the tools to maximize team performance.
Desda Moss is managing editor of HR Magazine.