How to Improve Team Performance: 15 Expert Tips

Developing a high-performing team can seem difficult. There are so many factors that go into team performance. What leadership styles should you use? How do you keep your team motivated? What do you do to bring your team closer together? How do you handle team conflict? 

Leading a team is different than leading individuals. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it has to be hard. In this article, you will find 14 tips and strategies to turn your team into a team that excels in all situations. Continue reading to find out how to get the most out of your team. 

What is Team Performance?

Team performance is all about how well a team performs together to achieve a common goal. You can have individuals that perform extremely well on their own but when you put them in a team situation, they struggle. This can happen for many reasons like lack of communication, excessive conflict, duplicating each other’s efforts, lack of trust, or many other reasons. 

Team performance often makes or breaks a work area or business. Therefore it can make or break you as a manager. You as the team leader are responsible for the success and failures of your team. 

Tips on How to Improve Team Performance

1. Set a Clear Vision to Give the Team Purpose

Image of a person holding string lights representing vision for team performance.

As a leader, it’s important to have a clear vision for the future of your team. Communicating this vision to your team is essential for aligning everyone’s efforts and motivating them towards a common goal. One effective way to communicate your vision is by creating an exciting vision statement that encapsulates your goals and aspirations for the team.

A good vision statement should be inspiring and motivating, capturing the essence of what you hope to achieve as a team. It should be clear and concise, easy to understand and remember, and should resonate with everyone on the team.

When creating your vision statement, start by thinking about the core values and mission of your team. What sets you apart from other teams? What do you hope to achieve in the long-term? What kind of impact do you want to have on your industry or community?

Once you have a clear idea of your vision, it’s important to communicate it to your team in a way that is engaging and memorable. This might involve creating a visual representation of your vision, such as a poster or infographic, or using storytelling techniques to bring your vision to life.

It’s also important to involve your team in the visioning process, soliciting their ideas and feedback to ensure that everyone feels invested in the team’s future. By creating an exciting vision statement and communicating it effectively to your team, you can inspire and motivate them towards a shared goal, and achieve greater success together.

2. Use SMART Goals to Guide the Team

Setting goals is an essential part of managing a successful team, and SMART goals are one of the most effective ways to ensure that your team’s goals are aligned with your overall vision and objectives. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. By following these principles, you can create goals that are clear, actionable, and achievable, and that will guide your team towards success.

Specific goals are clear and well-defined, with a clear outcome or objective. Measurable goals have specific criteria that can be used to track progress and measure success. Achievable goals are realistic and attainable, taking into account the resources and capabilities of your team. Relevant goals are aligned with your team’s overall objectives and are meaningful and relevant to your team’s work. Time-bound goals have a specific deadline or timeframe, providing a clear sense of urgency and direction.

Communicating your team’s goals is essential for ensuring that everyone is working towards the same objectives. By sharing your team’s goals with your team members, you can create a sense of shared purpose and motivation, and ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives.

To create SMART goals for your team, start by identifying your team’s overall objectives and breaking them down into specific, actionable goals. Use the SMART framework to ensure that your goals are well-defined, attainable, and relevant, and communicate them clearly to your team.

Click the link to learn more about creating SMART goals, and start guiding your team towards success today.

3. Understand Team Member Roles to Know How to Utilize People

As a leader, one of your most important responsibilities is to ensure that each member of your team has a clear purpose and role to play. When team members understand their individual roles and responsibilities, they are better able to contribute to the team’s overall success and work together effectively towards a common goal.

Ideally, each team member should have a role that is aligned with their skills, experience, and interests, and that contributes to the team’s overall objectives. Sometimes, team members will naturally take on certain roles based on their strengths and preferences, but it’s also important for you as a leader to specify each team member’s role when necessary.

Having the right members on your team is also essential for success. You need to make sure that you have a diverse group of individuals with a range of skills and experience, and that there is a balance of roles on the team. Having too many people in the same role can lead to duplication of effort and a lack of innovation, while missing key roles can lead to gaps in knowledge and expertise.

To ensure that each team member has a clear purpose and role, it’s important to communicate openly and regularly with your team members and to provide feedback and support to help them succeed. Regular check-ins, performance reviews, and team-building activities can all help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and contributing to the team’s success.

4. Know the 5 Stages of Team Development to Get Your Team to Performing

Pretty much every team goes through the 5 stages of team development. Some progress faster than others but they all go through the stages. It starts with forming. This is the stage when teams are being formed. Teammates are typically respectful of each other but not much cohesiveness or trust exists. 

The next stage is storming. In this stage, teams begin to have conflict and friction exists between the members. This is the stage where many underperforming teams get stuck or spend a lot of their lifespan. Progressing through this stage is vital for team performance.

Next is the norming stage of team development. In this stage, teams finally begin to come together and start working well together. The team environment becomes the new norm. 

After that is the performing stage. This is when teams are kicking on all cylinders. Trust in each other is high and results are very good. The quicker you can get your team to the performing stage, the sooner they can start producing the best results. 

For more information on how to get your team to the performing stage click the link.

The last stage is adjourning. If you come to this stage where a team is disbanded for whatever reasons, it’s still important to know how to get your team through this stage. That may mean feedback, finding positions for people, and ending the team on a good note. Don’t abandon your team at the end.

5. Be a Motivator to Keep Your Team Going

Image of the word impossible with the im crossed out for the motivator section.

As a team leader, one of your key responsibilities is to keep your team motivated and engaged. However, not all team members are self-motivated, and it can be challenging to find the right strategies to motivate everyone on your team. Fortunately, there are many different approaches you can take to motivate your team and get the most out of your employees.

One effective way to motivate team members is through rewards and incentives. This can include bonuses, promotions, or recognition for a job well done. Rewards and incentives can help to create a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done, and can encourage team members to work harder and perform better.

Another key motivator is having good goals and a clear vision for the team. When team members understand what they are working towards and why, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. It’s important to set clear, achievable goals that are aligned with the team’s overall objectives, and to communicate these goals clearly to your team.

Job satisfaction is also an important motivator for many employees. This can include factors like having a supportive work environment, feeling valued and appreciated, and having opportunities for growth and development. As a leader, it’s important to create a positive work culture and to provide opportunities for your team members to develop their skills and advance their careers.

Ultimately, the key to motivating your team is to understand what motivates each individual team member. This might involve having one-on-one conversations with team members to better understand their goals, interests, and concerns, and using this information to tailor your approach to motivation. By showing that you care about your team members as individuals and providing them with the support and resources they need to succeed, you can create a motivated and engaged team that is equipped to tackle even the most challenging projects.

6. Choose the Right Leadership Style to Lead Each Person

As a leader, it’s important to recognize that there are many different ways to lead people, and that not all leadership styles are equally effective in all situations. Just as there are many ways to achieve a goal, there are many different ways to lead a team towards success.

Some common leadership styles include authoritarian, democratic, transformational, and servant leadership, among others. Each of these styles has its own strengths and weaknesses, and can be effective in different situations and with different types of teams.

Authoritarian leadership is characterized by a top-down approach, with the leader making all the decisions and expecting strict adherence to rules and procedures. This style can be effective in situations where quick decisions need to be made, but can also lead to a lack of creativity and innovation.

Democratic leadership, on the other hand, involves collaboration and input from team members, with the leader facilitating discussion and decision-making. This style can be effective in situations where team members have a high level of expertise and can contribute to decision-making, but can also lead to a lack of direction and accountability.

Transformational leadership focuses on inspiring and motivating team members to achieve a shared vision, often through charismatic leadership and a focus on personal growth and development. This style can be effective in situations where team members are highly motivated and engaged, but can also be less effective with more passive or resistant team members.

Servant leadership involves putting the needs of team members first, with the leader acting as a facilitator and supporter rather than a strict authority figure. This style can be effective in situations where team members need a high level of support and guidance, but can also lead to a lack of direction and accountability.

Ultimately, the key to effective leadership is to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your team members, and to adapt your leadership style to the specific situation and environment. By being flexible and adaptable, and by focusing on building positive relationships with your team members, you can lead your team toward success and achieve your goals.

7. Run Efficient Meetings so They Don’t Waste Time

how to improve team performance: image of a meeting.

Meetings are a common occurrence in many workplaces, but they can also be a source of frustration and inefficiency. When meetings are poorly planned or unnecessary, they can waste valuable time and leave team members feeling frustrated and unproductive. As a leader, it’s important to recognize when a meeting is truly necessary, and to take steps to ensure that meetings are as efficient and productive as possible.

One of the key ways to make meetings more effective is to avoid having unnecessary meetings in the first place. This means taking the time to carefully consider whether a meeting is truly needed, or whether the same information could be communicated through a more efficient method, such as an email or a quick face-to-face chat. By avoiding unnecessary meetings, you can free up valuable time and resources, and ensure that team members are only brought together when it is truly necessary.

When a meeting is necessary, it’s important to make sure that it is as brief and focused as possible. This means setting clear objectives for the meeting, and sticking to a tight agenda to ensure that the conversation stays on track. It can also be helpful to set a time limit for the meeting, and to make sure that everyone is aware of the time constraints in advance. By keeping meetings brief and focused, you can ensure that team members are able to stay engaged and productive, and that you are able to make the most of everyone’s time.

Another key factor in making meetings more effective is ensuring that everyone is prepared and engaged. This means sending out an agenda in advance of the meeting and making sure that everyone knows what is expected of them. It can also be helpful to encourage team members to come prepared with any questions or concerns they may have and to actively engage in the conversation during the meeting itself. By keeping everyone engaged and focused, you can ensure that the meeting is as productive as possible and that everyone leaves with a clear understanding of what was discussed and what the next steps are.

8. Use Team-Building Exercises to Bring Team Members Together

As a leader, it’s important to recognize the importance of team-building exercises in fostering cohesiveness and teamwork among your employees. Team-building exercises can be done both in the office and outside the office, and they don’t have to take a lot of time. In fact, there are many activities that can be done in just a few minutes and still have a significant impact on the team’s dynamic and productivity.

One simple example of a team-building exercise that can be done in the office is the “two truths and a lie” game. In this game, each person takes a turn saying three statements about themselves, two of which are true and one of which is a lie. The rest of the team must then guess which statement is the lie. This game can be a fun way to get to know your colleagues better and build trust among team members.

Another quick team-building exercise is the “one-word” game. In this game, each person takes a turn saying one word that describes their mood or state of mind at that moment. The rest of the team can then try to guess what is going on in that person’s life, and offer support or encouragement as needed. This game can be a great way to build empathy and understanding among team members.

Outside of the office, there are many team-building activities that can be done in just a few hours or even minutes. For example, a quick game of tug-of-war or a relay race can be a fun way to build teamwork and collaboration skills. A scavenger hunt or escape room can also be a great way to get team members working together towards a common goal.

Overall, the key to effective team-building exercises is to find activities that are engaging, fun, and relevant to your team’s goals and values. By taking the time to invest in team-building activities, you can help to foster a sense of cohesiveness and collaboration among your employees, resulting in a more productive and successful team.

Click the link for 10 awesome team-building activities that your employees will love.

9. Utilize Situational Leadership to Empower the Team

Situational leadership is a leadership approach that recognizes the importance of adapting your leadership style to fit the needs of the situation and the people you are leading. This approach acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all leadership style, and that different situations and individuals require different types of leadership.

For example, if you are leading a brand new employee, they may require more direction and guidance as they learn the ropes of their job. In this situation, you may need to use a more directive leadership style, providing clear instructions and closely monitoring their progress to ensure they are on track.

On the other hand, if you are leading an experienced employee who has successfully completed a task many times in the past, they may require less direction and more autonomy in their work. In this situation, a more delegative leadership style may be appropriate, giving them the freedom to complete the task in their own way while providing support and guidance as needed.

By using the right leadership style for the situation and the individuals you are leading, you can build trust, morale, and productivity in your team. When employees feel that their leaders understand their needs and are able to provide the right level of support and guidance, they are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in their work.

However, it’s important to note that situational leadership is not about simply adapting your style to fit the situation at hand. It requires a deep understanding of your team members, their strengths and weaknesses, and their individual needs and preferences. This means taking the time to build relationships with your team members, listening to their feedback and concerns, and providing support and guidance tailored to their unique needs.

In summary, situational leadership is a powerful tool for building trust, morale, and productivity in your team. By adapting your leadership style to fit the situation and the individuals you are leading, you can create a supportive and effective work environment that fosters growth and success for everyone involved.

10. Understand the Individuality of Each Team Member

As a leader, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of managing a team and lose sight of the fact that each team member is an individual with their own unique strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and values. However, it’s important to remember that individualism is what makes your team strong, and that each team member has something valuable to contribute.

One of the key aspects of effective leadership is recognizing and celebrating the individual strengths and contributions of each team member. This means taking the time to get to know each person on your team, understanding their motivations and goals, and providing opportunities for them to use their unique skills and talents to contribute to the overall success of the team.

It’s also important to recognize that each team member may have different communication styles, learning preferences, and work styles. As a leader, it’s your job to adapt your leadership style to fit the needs of each individual on your team, providing the right level of guidance, support, and autonomy to help each person thrive.

When team members feel seen and valued as individuals, they are more likely to feel motivated, engaged, and committed to the success of the team. This, in turn, can lead to increased productivity, better teamwork, and stronger overall performance.

Of course, recognizing individualism does not mean ignoring the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Rather, it means recognizing that each team member brings something unique to the table, and that by embracing and celebrating these differences, you can create a team that is greater than the sum of its parts.

11. Provide Incentives to Celebrate Results

Incentives are a powerful tool for motivating and engaging employees, and can range from small rewards like a free lunch or time off, to larger rewards like bonuses or recognition for outstanding performance. By offering incentives, managers can encourage employees to work harder, be more productive, and achieve higher levels of quality in their work.

One of the most effective ways to use incentives is to tie them to specific goals or targets. For example, if you want to increase productivity in a certain area, you could offer a bonus to employees who meet or exceed a certain production target. Alternatively, if you want to improve the quality of work in a particular department, you could offer an award to the employee who consistently demonstrates the highest level of quality in their work.

Incentives can also be a great way to celebrate successes and recognize the hard work of your team. For example, if your team completes a big project on time and under budget, you could treat them to a celebration lunch or dinner to thank them for their hard work and dedication. Even small acts of recognition, like a thank-you note or a public shout-out, can go a long way in making employees feel valued and appreciated.

It’s important to note that incentives should be used strategically and in moderation. Offering too many incentives can create a culture of entitlement and undermine intrinsic motivation, where employees are motivated by the satisfaction of doing good work and achieving their own personal goals. Additionally, incentives should be tied to achievable goals and targets and should be fair and equitable across the team to avoid creating resentment or competition.

12. Diversity Strengthens the Team

Images of hands together from multiple colors and races for diversity section.

Having a diverse team can bring many benefits to an organization. When people from different backgrounds come together to work on a project or solve a problem, they bring a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table. This diversity can lead to increased creativity, better problem-solving, and a more innovative and dynamic team.

One of the key benefits of a diverse team is the variety of ideas and viewpoints that team members bring to the table. When people from different backgrounds work together, they are more likely to approach problems from different angles and think outside the box. This can lead to new and innovative solutions that might not have been possible with a more homogenous team.

In addition to being more creative, a diverse team can also be more effective at problem-solving. When team members come from different backgrounds, they may have different expertise, skills, and knowledge that can be brought to bear on a particular problem. This can lead to more robust and effective solutions that take into account a wider range of factors and considerations.

Another benefit of a diverse team is that it can help to foster a more inclusive and welcoming workplace culture. When people from different backgrounds work together and learn from one another, they can develop a greater understanding and appreciation for each other’s perspectives and experiences. This can lead to greater empathy, respect, and collaboration within the team, and can help to create a more positive and supportive workplace environment.

Of course, creating a diverse team is not always easy, and there may be challenges to overcome. However, by embracing diversity and actively seeking out team members from different backgrounds, organizations can reap the many benefits that come with a more varied and dynamic team.

13. Start Out Small to Not Overextend a New Team

Starting a new team can be both exciting and challenging. While you may have high expectations for what the team can achieve, it’s important to remember that building a strong and effective team takes time and effort. One of the keys to success is to avoid overwhelming the team with too much too soon.

When a team is just starting out, it’s important to keep the tasks small and simple. This allows the team to build confidence and trust in each other as they work together to achieve their goals. By starting with small tasks, you can give the team some easy wins that will help to build momentum and morale. These small wins can also show you what the team is made of and help you identify strengths and weaknesses that you can build on in the future.

As the team gains confidence and experience, you can gradually start to introduce more complex and challenging tasks. By building on the small wins, you can help the team to develop the skills and knowledge they need to tackle bigger projects with confidence. This gradual approach can help to prevent the team from becoming overwhelmed or discouraged and can help to ensure that they continue to make progress and achieve their goals.

In addition to keeping tasks small and simple, it’s also important to give the team the support and resources they need to succeed. This may include providing training, coaching, or mentoring, as well as ensuring that the team has access to the tools and information they need to do their jobs effectively. By providing this support, you can help to build a strong and capable team that is able to tackle even the most challenging tasks with confidence and success.

14. Provide Good Feedback to Improve Team Members

Feedback is a critical component of employee growth and development. It helps employees understand their strengths and weaknesses, provides them with guidance on how to improve their performance, and ultimately helps them reach their full potential. Additionally, feedback can also be beneficial for managers, as it allows them to identify areas where they may need to improve their own leadership skills.

One of the key aspects of providing feedback is to ensure that it is both timely and specific. Employees need to know how they are doing on an ongoing basis, so it’s important to provide regular feedback that is focused on specific behaviors or actions. This can include both positive feedback, such as praise for a job well done, as well as constructive feedback, highlighting areas where an employee could improve.

In addition to providing feedback, it’s important for managers to seek feedback from their employees. This can help managers gain a better understanding of how they are perceived by their team members and identify areas where they may need to improve their own leadership skills. This can be done through formal channels, such as performance evaluations or surveys, as well as informal channels, such as one-on-one conversations or team meetings.

While feedback can be provided in both formal and informal ways, it’s important to be mindful of the nature of the feedback being given. For more negative feedback, such as addressing areas where an employee may be struggling, it’s generally best to provide this feedback in a formal setting, such as a performance evaluation meeting. This can help ensure that the feedback is given in a constructive and supportive way and that the employee has a clear understanding of what they need to do to improve.

15. Resolve Conflicts Quickly to Keep the Team Running Smooth

In any team, some level of conflict is inevitable. When individuals with different backgrounds, skills, and personalities come together to work towards a common goal, there will inevitably be disagreements and differences of opinion. However, not all conflict is bad, and in fact, some level of conflict can actually be beneficial for a team.

One of the benefits of conflict is that it allows team members to express their own thoughts and beliefs. When individuals feel comfortable sharing their opinions, it can lead to a more diverse range of ideas and perspectives, which can ultimately lead to better decision-making and problem-solving.

However, it’s important to keep conflict in check to ensure that it doesn’t get out of hand. When conflict becomes too heated or personal, it can quickly escalate and lead to negative consequences for the team as a whole. Excessive conflict can hurt productivity, morale, and ultimately, the success of the team.

As a leader, it’s important to recognize when conflict is becoming too much and to step in to help the team work through it. This can involve mediating between team members, providing guidance on how to communicate effectively, or even bringing in an external mediator to help resolve the conflict.

It’s also important to establish clear expectations and guidelines for how conflict should be handled within the team. This can include establishing ground rules for communication, encouraging respectful dialogue, and providing training on conflict resolution and communication skills.

Click here for more strategies on managing conflict in the workplace.

Wrapping it Up

As a leader, you have a lot of influence on the success or failure of your team. These tips will help you have greater chances of success and develop a high-performing team. 

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