Having successful teams within your organization will help your company reach its goals. As a leader, it is your responsibility to help these employee teams be as productive as possible. Lindred Greer, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business has spent a considerable amount of time studying what makes team successful. A recent article on the Stanford Business website, highlights three things leaders can do, based on Greer’s research, to improve the performance of their teams.
Be thoughtful about who joins the team
Think about the composition of each department and the company as a whole and strive for diversity of thought. When we traditionally think about diversity, we consider race, gender and maybe educational background. These are important, but also consider personality types. For example, balance introverts and extroverts, and those more willing to take risks with more cautious employees. Focus on each employee’s strengths and how they can complement the rest of the team.
With diverse groups, there will be different ways of approaching projects. Make sure teams have clear guidelines and goals. Remove uncertainty whenever possible.
Also, be cautious with the size of your teams. Research from Gallup, suggests that smaller teams are easier both easier to manage and often more productive.
Understand the impact of hierarchy
In typical team the hierarchy of the team may impact each individual’s contribution. Find ways to flatten hierarchy for the good of the group. One suggestion shared by Greer is to give everyone in the room the opportunity to speak. Passing around an object can be a great physical reminder of providing people the space to share their ideas. Leaders should also be aware of their body language and tone to make sure they are sending the message that they are part of the team not supervising the team.
Identify and solve problems quickly
Small problems rarely resolve themselves. Instead they turn in to big, team-ruining problems. Learn as a team to quickly identify issues and resolve them immediately. Pay attention to the little things, like where people sit and when they speak up or stay quiet.
Putting this kind of strategic thought into your employee teams will help you be a better a leader and help the teams be more successful.