Do you know what it takes to a good team leader? Frequent team building exercises, perks and rewards, using sports analogies to get your message across, that’s pretty much all you need, right? Not really…actually. Getting the best out of your employees is not that simple, and you must believe it when it comes from one of the most innovative companies of the world- Google.
Not much time ago Google studied the performance of its teams. Being one of the most creative companies of the world that is known for hiring some of the brightest and sharpest minds ever, it expected to get impressive results. Unfortunately, what it found was far from the expectations.
While some teams were found to be performing 20 percent less than the expectations, others were performing 20 percent more. This difference, they believed was uncanny. On further analysis, Google found that there are three major factors that explain the problem:
Most leaders assume that the only motivation they need to provide their team is the company’s needs in working on a certain project. Thus, they brief them on the goals the company has regarding the project, and what they are trying to achieve. In the process they completely disregard what the individual motivations every member has. Google found that this is a big mistake.
When an employee is motivated on a personal level they are more likely to give their best to the projects they are given. They wouldn’t care so much about what the company is trying to achieve, but when they know that their own goals will be achieved by working on the project they will feel the motivation intrinsically.
Lesson For the Team Leaders
If you are a team leader, you must check with your team members, and seek what motivates them on a personal level, and then assign projects to them accordingly. For instance, say one member is an expert java programmer and wants to add python to their portfolio. So, next time you receive a python project you can assign them to it, and without doubt they will go an extra mile to give their best to it.
Factor#2: Clarity and Structure
One of the biggest challenges that a team leader has to face in a project, is shaping its structure. However, structure and clarity are essential for any project’s success: every member of the team should know what they are working on, and what their responsibilities are. It helps bringing a structure to the whole system, and makes management easier. You can have a clear idea on what’s going on with the project, and who is doing what.
Almost every project goes through a number of changes. You finish phase one, and then client sends a list of changes they want you to implement. Everything has to be made different now. When changes are frequent it can become difficult to keep track of things.
Lesson For the Team Leaders
You can’t stay on top of the projects all the time, but the good news is- you don’t have to. All you need to do is create just enough structure so that everyone is pointed in the right direction. You don’t have to have a crystal-clear picture of the project, just clear enough to know that the resources of the company are utilized wisely, and not getting wasted.
Factor#3: Communication Hindrances
Many times, when team leaders ask for feedback on a particular idea from their team, and someone responds with a concern or a potential problem with the same, they get shot down. They are told to not being so negative, which is not a good thing to do.
When leaders deny hearing negative feedback they make it unlikely for the members to speak up against anything in the future. This can be even more problematic when these exact concerns become a reality in future. Due to ego issues the leader may not acknowledge their fault.
Lesson for the Team Leaders
It is important to create a culture in the office in which the employees and their leaders address problems in a positive way. Honest feedback needs to be encourages. This will help in addressing potential problems well in advance, when it is easier to fix them, rather than in future when they actually develop.
The three factors mentioned above are highly influential in improving the performance of your employees, and thus the company itself. By paying heed to the same and making appropriate changes you can make a big difference to your business, irrelevant of whether it is big or small.
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