1. Get rid of non-performers immediately
You will save yourself a lot of time and a vast amount of goodwill with other team members if you get rid of the poor members right away. You’ll notice a lightness and energy in the air immediately afterwards, the team will feel a weight has been lifted. Nothing is so cancerous in a team environment than a member who drags the others down without reprisal.
2. Fill vacant roles with capable people with the right attitudes and skills for that particular area coupled with good attention to detail and execution
Good workers like other good workers. They hate being on a team with others that are slowing them down. Most companies we see do a decent job hiring for attitude and skills but not a very good job at taking on people who have good attention to detail or the ability to plan and execute well. Recruiting from within first is a great way to get others in the team performing well to get noticed.
3. Set the goal for the group and establish clear milestones
Remember you’re the leader. That means, it’s part of your job description to set the goals for the team. It’s highly important to make these SMART goals. For those not familiar with the acronym SMART it stands for “Specific Measurable Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed”. In other words can the goal be clearly defined, checked up on and can actually be achieved within the time you want it to? People want to know how they’re getting on with the task in hand. Milestones let you tell them.
4. Tell people when they’re doing a good job, encourage them when they’re not
This sounds simple, but a lot of team leaders forget to update their members on how they’re progressing against the goals set out. If too much time passes between updates, people’s attention drifts to other topics. It’s also the most sole-destroying thing to feel as if you are working very hard, doing a good job but not getting rewarded or at least told you’re doing a good job. Workers can very quickly become disinterested and unhappy if they’re feel like an insignificant pawn in your company’s big plan.
5. Agree on meeting rules
Start and end meetings on time! It’s got to be clear that it is unacceptable for team members to be late for meetings. This can’t be enforced differently across the team. Even if it’s your best team member who is late, he/she should be held accountable just as if it was anyone else. In a team everyone needs to follow the same rules. Failure to do this will look like favoritism and cause dissatisfaction in the team.
6. Schedule regular meetings with each member of your team
We meet lots of busy managers who say, “people know they can always come to me… I have an ‘open-door’ policy.” Yet, probably most don’t bother. It doesn’t happen.
The best bosses who have the best performing teams know the importance of face-to-face meetings and keeping a finger on the pulse with every team member. When it doesn’t happen, you can see the team start to gradually drift apart and once again the disillusion spreads.
7. Hold fewer team-wide meetings but smaller ones with the right people attending
Top workers hate it when their valuable time is taken up by endless meetings that, really, they don’t need to be at in the first place. Often companies will go down the line of trying to keep everyone involved with everything that goes on, because they don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being left out of discussions. Yet, you’ll have a happier team with fewer meetings with only the most necessary people attend. You can still keep everyone in touch with things by sending round minutes or bullet points of the meeting to everyone so they can keep abreast of things if they wish.
8. Do regular performance reviews and discuss developmental needs
This one is a big differentiator between the high- and low-performing teams. Everyone is busy. Yet, a lot of people will use their busyness as an excuse for not doing performance reviews in a timely manner.
They see it as less important than “getting real work done.”
Yet, across multiple industries and multiple companies, whether or not you do timely performance reviews is a huge predictor of team performance. The best team leaders make time for this – and their teams appreciate it and make the effort to get better in the areas they are lacking.
9. Hold people accountable
If someone’s falling behind, you’ve got to catch them and support them to become successful, it is in your interest for everyone in your company to be doing a great job, you want them to do a good job. Make sure they know that you know that its in your best interest to see them succeed. If they don’t improve on their performance despite regular support and help in order to help them do so, then you need to start looking to refer to point one of this blog.
10. Measure the team’s progress regularly
There are lots of tools available to measure how your team is doing and what needs to be tweaked. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of bench-marking the team’s performance relative to any others on a regular basis. By reviewing the strengths and weaknesses from their performance ratings and seeing them in black-and-white, you’ll find it easier to gain consensus on the areas that need improvement. As the team leader, you’ve got to take responsibility for when performance is not up to scratch. Remember you are the leader, the buck stops with you.
If you would like external perspective or help on any of the above, do get in touch or book a free business help session here.