How to keep your team productive

Are you a manager or a leader? This is a question that needs to be answered honestly.

Some may argue that a ‘manager’ is an outdated position that has no place in the modern office of today. However, many in this position believe that they are owed respect purely because they are placed higher up in the hierarchal structure.

“A leader’s role is to create more leaders, not more followers” – Expander leadership is about facilitating growth and nurturing talent, providing an atmosphere and culture than entices staff to stay and drive the success of the business forward. When a great leader leaves a company, that company should still flourish, because many other leaders are available to fill the gap.

Leaders provide the vision and initiative to create confident, motivated and productive team members, if you think you have the quality in you to achieve this ethos within your business then read below on three areas that you can make your team more productive.

Make your employees feel valued

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

It’s often the small things that make a big difference; by simply thanking a member of staff or acknowledging their hard work and effort can go a long way to inspiring and motivating. This may be a complete change of behaviour for some senior members of staff who have finely honed skills to pick out mistakes – but not to compliment. Please don’t make this mistake!

Staff who are in control of their schedule and confident in their ability to make decisions are far more productive than those who are being micro-managed. A team member in this position will come to their senior for approval on the smallest of tasks and will be unable to grow and succeed due to feeling oppressed. Letting go isn’t an easy feat, but it could have dramatic results, and the team members that don’t flourish are probably not the right ones for your business.

Assisting in providing a great work/life balance for staff is one of the ultimate ways to make them feel valued. For example, why not let loose and ditch the HR rule book by letting mothers take a day or 2 throughout the year to be with their sick child without making them sacrifice holiday days or pay – I guarantee the work will soon be caught up on as they will want to repay the gesture; this can be extended to the rest of the team in some way, shape or form if needed. Clearly, there will need to be boundaries, and if individuals begin to overstep the mark, here is the time to make the decision if they are the right people for your business.

Be a team player

“There’s no I in team – but there is in win”

To encourage the team spirit, you must be part of the team spirit. Most ‘managers’ are very good at encouraging team work without actually demonstrating the qualities themselves.

To create a successful team who are capable of delivering incredible work within a set time frame, everyone must have an understanding and element of trust in each other to be able to truly work together. It’s down to a true leader to create a culture of mutual appreciation among team members by encouraging open and honest conversations within the team, allowing people to learn about each other’s background, insights and experiences, cementing relationships on a deeper level, creating an empathetic rapport and enhancing team co-operation.

When people are forced to work together without an insight into who they are working with and understanding their experiences that lead to actions, it becomes a competition against one another. It is vital to create an atmosphere that people become focused; not on who will score the winning goal, but on the fact that it was their team that won the game.

Create a productive atmosphere

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

There are a number of ways to approach the task of creating an atmosphere and culture that is productive.

The first is to appeal beyond the working day and make a conscious effort to encourage your team to get to know one another on a personal level. Team lunches where work is banned. And instead  people should focus on building personal connection; you don’t need to go to deep levels, just hobbies and interests and up and coming plans for the weekend/holidays are enough to kick start friendships that go beyond the 9-5.

Consistently holding company meetings is time consuming, but is invaluable from a communication perspective. One of the worst things that you can do is keep your team in the dark – this only serves to create rumour and uncertainty, a guaranteed way to kill productivity instantly. There may be times where the team don’t like the information you are providing, but they will appreciate the honesty. Company meetings are key for steadily revisiting company values and vision – passion is infectious.

Hold “Talent Workshops” to understand your team’s goals and dreams – How can you facilitate these and nurture their talent? Ultimately, this could have an impact on your business that you could not have predicted.

Continually educate your team – have a library of books relevant to their job roles and also on personal growth and also have regular training sessions, don’t allow this time to be wasted. Ask your team on areas that they feel they need training, this way you know that they will be switched on and ready to learn.

The second way to tackle it in a practical sense; Inject some colour in the work space, a hint of the right colour can go a long way to pepping staff up especially on a Monday morning! Although a sugary treat here and there will be a very much welcomed surprise, offering healthy food and drink options if possible will tick another box in the ‘great employer checklist’ and will be a far more sustainable energy source.

By changing behaviours of the leaders and senior team members within a business, this culture will trickle down to the rest of the company, resulting in happy teams that are passionate and productive within their respective job roles.