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Ways to Improve Team Effectiveness

  • Amruta Bhaskar
  • Apr 15, 2021
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Simple, but not necessarily easy. Leading and managing highly effective teams is more challenging than ever before. The blockages created by low engagement and general misalignment as part of the fast-paced world of modern business are now exacerbated by our current volatile and uncertain environment.

High-performance teams focus on maintaining clear communication, alignment, buy-in and extreme accountability. Leadership exists at every level – top-down, bottom-up, and horizontally. But working remotely has placed a new burden of command on leaders and managers in organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Team performance is vital to project management for many reasons. It enables the smooth running of projects, flow of information, new ideas, and collaboration that facilitate efficient completion of project goals.

As a project manager, if you don't nurture maximum team performance, you run the risk of underutilizing the resources you have available for each project. This can lead to wasted time and higher costs for less value produced.

Managing and maintaining a steady level of team performance is possible when your team trusts each other, understands their role in the team and within the organization, and each one takes ownership of projects.

Teams that have these qualities are high-performers, and they deliver the best results. High-performing teams maintain quality of output, degree of innovation, the time allotted for each project, budgetary constraints, and continuous development of their members.

Here are nine ways to increase team effectiveness on chaotic battlefields.

1 – Ensure Alignment and Buy-in

This one is always at the top of the list. Without alignment and buy-in, the battle cannot be won. The challenge now is that many teams and organizations have new goals, new initiatives and new strategic imperatives. So, when it comes to planning engage the participation from as many appropriate people as possible. And let their voice be heard. 

2 – Clarify Goals, Roles, and Responsibilities

Pivoting on the battlefield often requires a shift in focus and priorities. For example, many small businesses right now are changing the way they operate almost weekly based on changes in policies. Ensure that everyone on the team understands their responsibilities, accountabilities, and how their job functions align with mission success. And make sure everyone knows the “why.”

3 – Engage in Proper Planning and Rapid Execution

There is no time for analysis paralysis in this dynamic environment. There is no such thing as a 100% plan anyway. By the time you think you have one, the landscape has adjusted based on new external and internal forces. Role clarity, communication and accountability will provide the team with the ability to course-correct as needed.

4 – Develop People and Teams

I know, I know. Who has the time or budget for this right now? Well, all the research comes back the same. Organizations that find ways to prioritize development and training retain employees longer, have higher levels of engagement, deliver great products and services, delight customers, and generate healthier profit margins than similar companies that do the bare minimum. So, the question is: can you afford not to?

5 – Create Feedback Loops for Learning and Accountability

All high-performing teams have a learning culture where transparent feedback is crucial for execution. An environment of psychological safety and respectful conflict is part of the culture. Rank and emotion are left at the door and teams discuss what’s going well, what isn’t, and plans for improvement. Insights are documented and shared with other teams.

6 – Design Networks, Not Hierarchies

We all know over-managed under-led organizations with a significant top-down hierarchical approach no longer work. Right now, collaboration is more important than ever before. Creating cross-functional teams for executing new initiatives accomplishes three things: higher productivity of teams and individuals, new elements of creativity, and increased accountability.

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