It’s now April and the excitement of the new year and the goal achieving focus for the first quarter can be starting to wear off, particularly in the workplace. Often teams can feel lacking and uninspired, so here are ten tips to boost focus, productivity, engagement and also energy, to carry your team through the next quarter.
- Set agreements
Have you figured out how you want to work? How you expect your team to communicate, support each other, prioritise work and celebrate the wins? Setting team agreements are like ground rules – agreed ways of working – and are just as important, if not more so, than the work that is to be done.
- Focus on clarity
Team members need to know their role and their clearly defined responsibilities – this is vital for success, focus and direction. Providing clarity makes way for achievement and efficiency, and is less likely to foster frustration. Start by being clear and transparent about the organisation’s vision, and then what the team’s role is in helping to achieve that. Team members should then understand their individual requirements and the part they play in helping achieve the bigger vision.
- Remove roadblocks
Be prepared to hear your team out on this one: “In your role, what’s the dumbest thing you have to do?” Whilst you may be met with some interesting answers, the key is to look for procedures that can be improved, removed or replaced.
- Hold effective and efficient meetings
Don’t fall into the trap of lengthy and ineffective meetings where team members are more frustrated than inspired. It is never too late to review and reset meeting processes, where expectations and standards are discussed and ownership is created. Some questions to ask include, ‘What do you want out of our meetings’, ‘What do you feel is currently working’, and ‘What do you feel would make our meetings more effective’. Meeting regularly for a shorter time period (e.g., instead of meeting monthly for two hours, meet weekly for 15mins) provides more clarity and clearer purpose.
- Focus on the positive
In the famous words of Don Clifton, “What will happen when we think about what is right with people rather than fixating on what is wrong with them?” As a strengths-based coach, I truly believe in the power of these words and the mindset shifts that happen when teams acknowledge, embrace and apply their strengths. By encouraging the different perspectives of each team member within their own uniqueness and strengths, we can bring enthusiasm, collaboration, innovation and inspiration to the team.
- Create safe spaces
Following on from the above point, leaders need to provide support and emotionally safe spaces for team members to share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns, to be heard and appreciated, through active listening, coaching and guidance to seek additional support.
- Foster opportunities for individual development
Providing strengths-aligned opportunities to team members can lead to increased productivity, engagement and have them feeling like they’re an integral part of the organisation. Making sure these opportunities or tasks support their strengths is key – this means different tasks for different strengths and talents. Some examples are writing a key summary from a conference or training exercise, improving processes or procedures, or presenting information and findings to another team.
- Review team development
Regularly checking in on your team agreements (see point 1) and what is working well or what needs improving is key to continual investment into your team culture. Reviewing, improving and acknowledging leads to higher trust, collaboration and stronger relationships. As they say, you don’t train once in the pre-season and expect to win the championship!
- Let things go
To move forward, we must let go of past grudges, missed opportunities and perceived wrongdoings. In the words of Elsa from Frozen, let it go! We need to move away from below the line behaviours and culture of judgement and gossip. Shaking things off and letting them go is a very simple but powerful mindset for both leaders and team members.
The final important point of creating and cultivating an inspired team culture is to acknowledge and celebrate even the smallest of wins. Authentic and spontaneous recognition is powerful, but can you also include this in your weekly team meetings? Asking your team what they felt went well in the last week and what we can all celebrate fosters those feel-good emotions that are congruent to when we are out celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, competition wins etc. Imagine integrating those feelings into the team culture and the level of engagement and workplace satisfaction that could bring. Also remember that team members are more than the person at work each day, so it’s important to also celebrate personal wins too.
So there are ten tips to boost focus, productivity and engagement within your team culture. Do you apply some of these already? Which ones are next on your list to implement? Leave me a comment below or share this article with colleagues that would find this useful!