1. Assess your team’s effectiveness and productivity regularly.
Making it a practice to reflect on and discuss team effectiveness regularly can uncover improvement opportunities and make it safe to talk about what is and isn’t working for your team. You can do this a number of ways. One option is to seek feedback from team members using the ‘Stop, Start, Continue’ process – What should our team stop doing, start doing and continue doing to be even more effective? Another option is to conduct a meeting assessment at the end of each meeting. This will allow you to make adjustments on a timely basis and make continuous improvement a habit.
2. Make sure everyone has a voice.
Sometimes a few team members dominate discussions and team meetings. This might prevent good ideas from being raised. Research has shown that in higher performing teams, members contribute more equally to discussions. Communication patterns can form quickly in teams. It’s important to create an environment where input from all members is sought out and valued. This can be done by rotating team and meeting roles, using structured discussion processes, and providing the team with adequate time to review background materials before a meeting. Some members need more time to think about their contributions, so build this in to your team’s processes.
3. Be clear on goals.
The most important characteristic of a high performance team is that its members are clear about and agree on the team’s goals. This may seem obvious, but frequently group members may know the overall goals, but have very different ideas about what accomplishing them entails. Allow time for discussing and agreeing on goals and objectives, set goals for each meeting, and make sure it is safe to question and revise goals and plans along the way.
Give some thought to the teams you work on. Are they performing at their best? Chances are there is room for improvement. Consider how applying these tips might help you and your team improve productivity, satisfaction and results.