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How To Maintain A Strong And Effective Team

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Teamwork is essential for any organization to succeed. A strong team can achieve great things, while a weak team can lead to failure in completing a project, achieving the quarterly goal or in the worst case scenario the whole business might need to shut down.

In order to build and maintain a successful team, it is important to set guidelines and standards. Here are some guidelines that will help create a strong and effective team:

1. Establish Clear Goals:

Every member of a team should have clearly defined goals and responsibilities. This helps clarify everyone’s roles and makes the team more productive and efficient.

Goals should be realistic and measurable. For example, a goal might be to increase sales by 25% over the next quarter. Instead of throwing a fixed number to employees, a better strategy is to ask the sales team what number they will be able to achieve.

In most cases, employees will give a realistic number that is not too low. If the organization still thinks that the number needs to go up, then you can incentivize employees to motivate them to achieve the set target. Always remember to create a win-win situation.

The path to achieving the goals should be linear and the expectations should not be too high as in such cases the employees start losing interest.

2. Have Regular Performance Reviews

In the past, most companies had performance reviews once or twice a year mostly at the time of appraisals. Having regular performance assessments allows employees to receive feedback on their current work or project.

However, performance reviews do not have to be according to the hierarchy, i.e. managers giving feedback to their employees. It can also be vice versa. In fact, a sign of a healthy workplace is one where team leaders are receptive to improvement feedback from their team members.

Performance reviews can be time-consuming and in busy workplaces where deadlines are strict, team leaders will often not get the time to conduct such an activity.

To save time, it would make sense to make use of an efficient tool. For instance, Leapsome can streamline your performance management and help you measure employee performance. In the performance evaluation, you can even ask customized questions such as,

“What areas did you enjoy working on?”
“Any hindrance to achieving your monthly goals?”
“In which areas do you think you would require assistance or additional training?”

3. Encourage Open Communication:

When people have questions or concerns, it is important that they feel comfortable raising them with the team’s leaders. It is up to the managers to address all issues and answer questions so that everyone is on the same page.

It is normal for co-workers to have disagreements at the workplace. It could be related to how a job is to be done or even about how the other person acted in a particular situation. It is also important to encourage healthy debate. While it is important to be respectful of everyone’s opinions, it is also important to listen to each other and avoid personal attacks.

A manager needs to step up in situations when there is a disagreement and have a conversation to resolve the issues. The team leader has to lead by example: if a team leader gossips, the team members are likely to follow suit. As a matter of fact, the working environment is defined by the habits that team leaders exhibit.

No one likes a toxic workplace. Nowadays, employees tend to prefer working remotely because it keeps them out of office politics and other unnecessary drama. In short, if you encourage open communication, there never will be any gossips or workplace drama.

4. Set Expectations:

Everyone should be clear on what is expected of them and the team as a whole. Setting expectations upfront can help prevent problems down the road, and help team members stay focused and productive.

Expectations could include items such as deadlines, job duties, dress code, etc. Employees become discontent when they are assigned tasks that are not part of their job description. Their main concern is that they are not being paid enough to do these new sets of tasks and so they tend to stick to what is expected from them. In other words, the initial job description provided to them is the only benchmark in their minds.

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If you as a team leader feel the need to utilize the employee for other tasks, it is important to communicate any changes to the expectations to the team member in a timely manner. It is a sign of a toxic team where bosses dump their work on employees without giving them prior notice.

Inform your team member that you would like them to take on the responsibility for a particular set of task(s). Make it clear that you think they are suitable to successfully get the job done. Instead of waiting for their reaction, offer them an incentive such as an increase in salary and/or benefits in advance.

If you exceed the employee’s expectations, the employee will not feel discontent and in this manner, you can maintain an effective team.

5. Provide Training When Necessary:

As teams grow, more tasks may be required of the members. Providing relevant training helps to ensure that everyone can do their jobs effectively. This not only makes the team more efficient but also helps to boost morale and increase job satisfaction.

Training also becomes essential when a new technology or software is deployed in an organization. The purpose of teaching them the essentials of doing a job is to ensure that no team member feels left behind or thinks “I have no idea of what is happening around me at work.”

Employees tend to switch jobs when they feel that they have achieved the maximum level of growth. Not only does training help in improving communication among team members, but it also reduces turnover.

In fact, after Covid-19, many companies felt the need to upskill their employees. As a result, they started encouraging employees to take courses to improve their skillset. Companies that trained their employees created an environment that fostered learning. This is a way to encourage employees to become more loyal to the company.

6. Encourage Teamwork:

Teams operate best when they work together toward a common goal. Rather than focusing too much on individual accomplishments, it is important to have people on the team who support one another and collaborate whenever possible.

A project usually has tasks that are interdependent. Having dependencies means that each team member knows that the overall timeline and project completion can be affected if they slack off.

It is also important for teams to recognize that each individual is important and has unique contributions to make to the team. This will help encourage everyone to play an active role in the team. A team is only as strong as its weakest member, so it is essential that everyone works together to ensure that the team is successful.

In addition, it happens sometimes that a team leader gives priority to one employee over another. Favoritism is likely to create discontent amongst team members and goes against the idea of maintaining a strong team. Hence, it should be avoided as much as possible.

Summing Up The Ways To Maintain A Strong And Effective Team

One of the challenges faced by HR teams is how to retain good employees. However, it is important to understand that not everything is in the hands of HR. Managers play an equally important role in team building.

In fact, if team leaders manage to build a well-connected team that naturally gels in together, they will see that the employees will stick together for longer.

Some of the key ways to build such a team are to make the goals clear, create an environment that encourages open communication, set expectations for the team, give regular training and encouraging ways in which the employees can diversify their skillsets. In addition, team members should always feel that they are an integral part of the project’s success.

Here are some other best practices for team-building: having regular performance reviews, keeping good records so that achievements can be highlighted and managing conflicts and communicating effectively.

In simple words, teambuilding is not easy to develop and implement. It is only the results of consistent execution of these simple practices over an extended period of time that will impact the overall success of the business or project.

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