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Improving Team Performance

I think getting everybody on the same page is important. Congratulate each on the positive things and give constructive criticism and ideas to help improve their performance.

Hi Isabel,

Thanks for your comments. You are correct, getting everyone on the same page, and keeping them there, is critical. Make sure you always communicate the "what" and the "why," to ensure everyone understands the reasons behind your strategic direction.

Consistently celebrating small wins with a sincere pat on the back is the best way to encourage continued strong performance.

The corrective measures would depend on what areas of the teams performance was suffering. Open communication within the team allows the leader and the members to have open discussions on where the team is falling short and on what fixes can be applied.

In instances where there needs to be person to person communication regarding a team members performance, communicating that to the team can be tricky. It could be that the leader would provide information to the team at the next meeting in a general progress report that indicates a redirection of tasks or updates on expectations.

Hi Wendi,

Excellent comments. Open and consistent communication is key. In the perfect scenario, goals and objectives are clearly established and consistently communicated so that any shortfall is obvious to all.

Life, of course, is not this simple. Speaking with the individual in private and then redirecting tasks and modifying expectations with your team is the correct path. You are right on!

It depends on the problem we're having. My team is made up of very independent some what opinionated people. When the team stops working together we have a team meeting to hash out the differences and come to an agreement, make a decision and move forward.

I see a large portion of the problems coming from a lack of focus on the team goals. What do you think?


A couple of things I would have to consider. What was the team trying to accomplish? What might be the issue causing the problem. Is the problem with the process or something external to the team? I would have to look to ensure I have the right people of the task. Possibly look to see if my approach would need to change. Maybe it is my approach to the decision making process, maybe I’m part of the problem.

I would prefer to communicate any measures face to face with the team. These days’ folks tend to communicate via email to often.

Hi Troy,

Great comments. You are right on. Before you can properly assess the quality of your team, you have to ensure that you have communicated the expectations in a clear, concise and consistent manner. I love to see that you are willing to look at yourself and your method of execution as a potential part of the problem.

Great leaders look out the window, and give credit to others, when times are good and look in the mirror when times are tough.

I think that team unity is a vert important part in improving team performance. Make sure your team is still focused and excited about the goals that were set in the beginning. Always give team members that are meeting their goals positive feedback, and for the team members who are not constructive criticism and find out what we as a team can do to help.

Hi Richard,

You are correct. Excellent points. I also find that taking the time to plan, prepare and budget for the project at hand provides a critical foundation for success.

When all team members are fully engaged in the planning process, they tend to have more "buy-in" and a greater willingness to work together to improve performance and achieve the desired goals.

I like to utilize strategies such as assigning specific tasks to individuals in the group's presence. This way everyone knows what the other is responsible for related to the goals. I also like allowing each person or group of people present their progress to the group on a regular basis. I find that stating clear expectations from day one is a good way to communicate. Another is the follow up. If I find that an individual or group has not been living up to their responsibilities, I work with them to find out where they are being held back and get them back on track.

Hi Jeff,

Excellent strategy! I love your style and I manage my team in the same way.

I would would only add that you should always be fairly certain a task can be executed when you make an assignment.

Some managers simply say, "you have to increase starts by 20%," or "you must hit 90% placement." Many times, the objective is not realistic and in some cases this creates an uncomfortable gap between expectations and performance.

Always use or ask for historical data, benchmarks and bridge reports (how we are going to get from A to B)to ensure success.

I believe that a good team leader must know the objectives that need to be accomplished. Once this has been decided then the team leader must identify within his/her self as to whether or not they can meet the objectives in a fair and impartial manner. Then, they must know where the strengths and weaknesses are within the team. If change is needed then change must be made at that point. We do not need a time manager if we already have five (5) time mangers on the team. This is not our weakness. We must identify the individual strenghts and then assign accordingly. Once you have identified tasks based on strenght, then you open communication to the team is condusive to success.

I believe one of the first corrective measures would have to be to establish solid and fluid lines of communication flowing up and down the various levels of hierachy. Only after this is successfully done, can improved team performance begin to be contemplated. I am anxious to hear your thoughts.

Kind Regards,
Dr. R. Lee Viar IV

One way that I help to build my team is through group activities at work and outside of work. All team memebers do not have to be best friends but they have to be able to work together and respect each other and the abilities they each bring to the table or the team.

Hi James,

Good points. To begin with, everyone has to understand and agree on the objectives. Then you need to agree on the type of measurement and track progress on a regular basis. This will help you identify the peak performers and those team members with development opportunities.

Hi Lee,

You are correct. Communication is key and, as you have pointed out, it must move openly in all directions.

Although the team must respect the leader and the decision-making authority that comes with the position, all members should feel very comfortable apporaching the leader on appropriate topics.

Peer-to-peer communication is also very important. This critical form of communication is only achieved when team members understand the common short-term objectives and long-term goals.

Hi Jon,

Great idea. Getting the team together in a more casual environment or for a group activity in or around the office can help them bond.

You have to be careful not to force these activities. Help them evolve in a more natural way and understand that some teams take to it better than others.

Let me know if you have any other concepts that have worked for you.

Hi Jon,

In theory I agree with your point, however, from a personal experience standpoint, I totally disagree with you. Previously, I was employed with a company that had "voluntary" team building activities offsite. It was voluntary as long as you wanted to remain employed there. Anyway, that set the stage and spiraled down even further down the tubes with the formation of cliques and a continued references back to topics of work after hours. It was in a sense, an extension of the office. Plus, the idea of white water rafting and trusting coworkers with my life who, in all honesty, I didn't trust in the office, did not thrill me too much. This initiative lasted for approximately nine months and was finally and mercifully ended after a broken arm to the owner in a team building exercise. Well, the owner took one for the team and gave up. Ironically, the office got along better after the activities ended. Maybe the ends justify the means.

Kind Regards,

I believe that early in the process a good team leader will clearly lay out goals and deadlines and assign tasks to the individual team members. Also, effectively communicating to the team what you expect for a result will also help your team members. Starting off on the right foot greatly reduces lost time/production down the road by avoiding team members trying to figure out exactly what they should be doing. You don't want to micromanage, just offer direction/guidance.

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