Leadership can support or destroy team momentum and trust, but these four approaches build up those elements up for stronger collaboration. Implemented individually, each contributes to team success, but together they bring the team to a new level of collective innovation and productivity that benefits everyone, including the project at-hand.
1. Reward Top Performers
It is vital to pay attention to all the work involved in a project and know that every team member contributes to the overall success and completion. However, some team members may be more dedicated or top performing and it is important to reward or recognize them. There are team members who produce more, have their tasks go smoothly, or tend to their tasks with accuracy.
Sometimes it is the team member who doesn’t talk about how hard the work is who is the unsung hero on your team. Taking care of countless tedious, thankless tasks is often where you’ll find such a person who bears an astute awareness of the scope of the project. Such team members are not to be overlooked. According to the 2015 National Management Salary Survey published by CMI and XpertHR, 30% of employees who did not meet expectations still received bonus payments. Even if you do not reward your top performers, do not reward the poor performers instead.
2. Protect Your Team’s Time
Create and maintain standards so, if a new project is sent your team’s way, you can deftly evaluate the resources and expertise needed to complete it. Establishing this consistent set of criteria against which you evaluate proposed projects helps show those above you that you aren’t just a yes-man, while also guarding your team against vague projects that may not suit your team’s skill set. In turn, this helps your team understand how much you value and respect their time, which builds rapport.
The criteria would ideally include a project timeline, parameters to measure project success, budget limitations (including if overtime would be necessary and covered), pitfalls or failures from previous attempts at the same work, and other elements that are essential for an informed decision to be made. This way, you can approach your team with detailed information, not just a vague demand.
3. Encourage Efficiency and Communication
Strong and frequent communication builds trust. Being part of a team you trust helps create a happy work environment. Happiness then drives efficiency and builds momentum on projects, so let your team do their best work in a positive environment. Be flexible with teammates as to how they work best. This approach to encourage optimum efficiency and intra-team communication.
Embrace what makes each team member do their job best. If you have someone who does amazing work early in the morning and another teammate who prefers working late into the evening, let them choose their hours so long as the work gets done. Provide your team with current technology and software to make sure they have the tools to do their job completely and effectively.
4. Provide Clear Role Definition and Project Direction
Document roles, project scope, or work processes while also establishing a benchmark. Detail workplace protocol and procedures for a concise, clear, and single approach to the workload. An established benchmark for project elements would be ideal. If you are documenting anything, be aware of overlapping processes covering the same topic and resolve them for consistency.
Having roles and project direction defined not only helps teammates feel ownership of their work and responsibilities, but also reinforces their individual expertise to be thought leaders within their team and company. This empowerment strengthens collaboration in unexpected ways because teammates know who to rely on for certain project resources or specific industry knowledge as the workload dictates.
These four elements to gain momentum and build trust within a team really work, especially when implemented in tandem:
- Acknowledging and rewarding top performers on your team builds individual and collective enthusiasm, while establishing internal experts and resources.
- Know the scope of a project before moving forward as to guard your team’s time and resources against vague projects or ones with deadlines which coincide with your existing workload. Do not limit information about the project and work involved because you don’t want your team blindly moving forward.
- Maintain strong intra-team communications and task efficiency so that you move toward completion together and avoid heading in the wrong direction which may lead to overcorrection, thereby stifling their inspiration and momentum.
- Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and how those contribute to project goals to make the most of your team strengths. They will become experts on the project as you work, so recognizing this along the way only strengthens the team’s trust of one another.
Implement these and your team will be rolling! What advice would you add to this?