Whether your team comprises ten members or fifty, leading a team isn’t easy. Bringing together different minds with different thinking can often result in miscommunication and personal clashes, affecting the workplace significantly. A poorly functioning team is not just irritating for the leader, it can seriously hamper the productivity and personal satisfaction of every member of the team. With a little effort and a clever tactic or two, you can help your team work together as a unit and accomplish the goals easily. Assembling the team may not be a problem, but bringing them together and moving them forward toward a single goal is challenging.
Anthony Lapadula, Managing Director at Aegis Capital, knows that team effectiveness increases productivity. Team members who work as a unit have the capability to boost output and improve quality. Ideal teams consist of people who understand their own responsibilities as well as their teammate’s responsibilities. Moreover, effective teams agree on the same end goals, work together to construct new plans and strategies, and divide work equitably.
Anthony suggests the following ideas to increase team effectiveness.
Tip 1: Provide Accurate Direction
A key to increasing team effectiveness and productivity is to provide proper and accurate direction. An excellent leader provides comprehensive details about team projects, including goals, project deadlines, and measurements. Depending on the project, an effective manager assigns tasks compatible with team members’ individual skills and strengths.
Tip 2: Utilize In-house Talent
Leaders sometimes fail to recognize or utilize the talent already at work in the team. Team members who have mastered a particular skill can multiply their talent by training junior members. Introducing an internal training program is a perfect way for a leader to foster mutual knowledge, expand the team’s capabilities, and increase worker satisfaction.
Tip 3: Introduce Team-building Exercises
Comradery among team members dramatically affects team productivity. If the teammates get along with each other and know each other’s weaknesses and strengths, the mood of the workplace improves. Team-building exercises are designed to increase understanding, unity, and trust within a team. Whether the team is just newly formed or has been in place for a long time, team-building activities can improve team performance. These activities may be elaborate and expensive, but they can also be simple and inexpensive. Popular exercises include:
- Whiteboard Challenge – The objective of this experience is to highlight the difficulty in verbal communications. Team members take turns drawing a shape or figure on a whiteboard based on verbal directions from another member of the team who holds a piece of paper showing the object to be drawn. The director cannot name the object but must direct the drawer’s actions to reproduce the object.
- Zen Counting – The purpose of this game is to increase mindfulness, cooperation, and trust. Team members sit in a circle facing away from the center so they cannot see each other. The leader assigns the team to count, one at a time, from one to the number of people in the circle. In other words, if ten people are in the circle, the members must count out loud from one to ten. They cannot talk or make a plan, one member cannot talk over another member, and they cannot count in order around the circle. It will take many attempts for the team members to figure out how to go slowly, trust their teammates, and calmly cooperate to achieve the goal.
- Survival Challenge – Also called Two Truths and a Lie, this game helps team members get to know each other better. Members take turns telling two truths and one lie about themselves. The truths should be interesting and informative, and the lie should be plausible. As each member tells their truths and lie, the team votes on which of the three tales is the lie. If the team accurately identifies the lie, the liar is “out” and does not get another turn. Play proceeds until only one member has not gotten “out”.
Tip 4: Bonuses
Employees do their best when they have a reason to do their best. When words and plaques are not enough, bonuses may be effective. Money is not the ultimate motivator for everyone, but for some, it is a tangible sign of recognition and approval. Studies show 85 percent of the workers feel more motivated when bonuses are offered. Happy employees mean a happy team, and if the team is motivated, effectiveness and productivity automatically increase.
Working in teams has increased in popularity in many companies in recent decades. Experience has shown that effective teams multiply and amplify the talents and efforts of individual members. In other words, high functioning teams prove the axiom that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Anthony Lapadula of Aegis Capital Corporation is a firm believer in teamwork at all levels of an organization.