A leader sets the tone for their team’s work and performance, as many HR professionals and consultants know. This article will focus on what leaders and managers can do to improve the effectiveness of the people working with them. We will give you three ways for you to explore and practice how to fast track team performance, without adopting the usual team building games. Find more ideas on teams here and more ideas on leadership here.
- Know yourself
Among the qualities of a leader, self-awareness is one of the most powerful ones. Knowing your strengths and your weaknesses and being open about them serves for self-development. It will allow you to have greater impact on your team, as they will be able to connect with you more easily and at a deeper level if they recognise that you are just as human as them.
If you are willing to learn from your weaknesses and use them as indicators of development opportunities, you improve your leadership effectiveness in a short amount of time, because you know what will make the biggest difference. Learn new skills and be open to receive feedback, your team will appreciate your humanness and leadership capability.
2. Know your team
It is not enough to have a great understanding of yourself, if you don’t connect with those you work with. A team works more efficiently when there is honesty and openness, which can only occur where you are comfortable with your colleagues.
Do you ever find yourself disagreeing with someone in your team about how to complete a task? Maybe they want to get it done as soon as possible, even if it might compromise the quality, whereas you would prefer it to be close to perfect. When you know the origin of the disagreement comes from an incompatibility between personality types or having different priorities, it helps remove the pressure and be more accepting.
Not only a leader can demonstrate the necessity of having people with different values and personality types, who can take on roles that suit who they are and how they work. A leader can also reduce or avoid conflict by bringing attention to the differences between people in the same team.
You can use personality profiling tool to give accurate and unbiased descriptions of people’s typical behaviours and reactions to improve understanding for themselves, for their manager and their team. In addition, you can profile their motivation, giving you insight into what drives people in your team or organisation and on how incompatible drivers can lead to tensions (e.g. working for money vs. working for a charitable cause).
Understanding the individuals in your team from a deeper perspective will give you the opportunity to connect with them more profoundly. You will know what they value, what they like and dislike in terms of behaviours and communication and how they are likely to react in certain situations.
3. Address issues with honesty
Often team performance is hindered not by the lack of team working skills, but by underlying issues that are not spoken about between colleagues. This is what is called “the elephant in the room” because it is a weighing presence which isn’t addressed. Addressing “the elephant in the room” is a challenge, as it brings discomfort and uneasiness – the exact reasons why it is not spoken about.
Having the appropriate language to face the challenge and removing the block can be a great benefit, taking the team to a new level of performance. Personality profiling and motivational mapping both offer an opportunity to have honest conversations using common and accessible language that eases uncomfortable situations.
Team dynamics is about the purpose of the team, its alignment and communication. Working on these and other elements that impact team performance brings a new level of achievement and efficiency of goals. It could be that you are leading a good team, but you can’t seem to get them to beat their own targets. In this case, it might be that improving only one aspect of the dynamics within the group can lead to great results.
What skill will you try to improve to boost your team effectiveness?