A winning team is easy to spot. Something about the way they get along with each other, the “swagger” they carry and the way they go about their business. You can always spot a team that isn’t winning much also. Bickering and infighting, dissatisfaction is everywhere and most people are just surviving and out for themselves as individuals.
As leaders, here are 7 things we can put into practice to help keep our winning teams winning and turn around those teams experiencing a decline.
1. Get Alignment
You, as the leader need to make sure everyone on the team has goals that are aligned with the organization’s goals. How can you monitor progress so you can help with course corrections along the way to make sure everyone arrives at the same place at the same time? Communicating any change for the organization’s directional course, focus or priorities is also something you need to be able to articulate and communicate with them quickly and clearly.
2. Conduct Employee Performance Reviews More Than Annually
Yes, some people still do them once per year and some people do them, uh, never! More frequent review sessions gives the team member a chance to talk with the leader about what they are doing well, gaps in performance, compentency improvements and so on. It also allows the leader some teaching moments with lower results performers to allow them more chances to improve their skills to help the overall team come up some notches.
3. Provide Ongoing Feedback To Maximize Performance
Gving feedback is the one skill every leader needs to improve. It’s not something we do well. Giving feedback should happen daily with plenty of interaction. Waiting to give feedback even in more frequent performance reviews is not enough. Feedback needs to happen in “game situations” in real time to let the team member know you are listening, watching and helping them get better in performance. Ongoing feedback helps everyone as long as it is given in the spirit of helping and is relentlessly positive.
4. Invest In Performance Improvement Training
Yes, here’s my plug for training. It’s like taking the right supplements with your diet, it helps in ways you cannot imagine. Improving performance, increasing awareness, building trust, increasing confidence, I could go on and on.
5. Identify & Reward High Performing Employees
Yes, I believe in differentiation. If you don’t clearly identify and reward when someone is hitting the mark or going past it, what’s the incentive to grow? Also, knowing and being able to clearly identify who your high performing team members are is critical. These are the performers you can’t afford to lose as long as they are living the values and hitting the marks. If they are hitting the marks and not living the values, you can’t afford to keep them. Clearly identifying and rewarding the behavior you want is critical.
6. Have A Succession Plan
You must be able to replace critical people at all times. It’s a fact, you will lose people. A vacant spot on your team which represented essential skills creates a gap that will cripple your organization. Keeping a talent pool freshly stocked and trained is an activity too many leaders lack.
7. Balance Effectiveness & Efficiency
Endeavor to balance the right things with doing things right. The recession of the last couple of years has forced the activities and thinking of leaders into the effecient mode. Make sure that in your efforts you are not doing the wrong things very efficiently. Start with making sure that you are doing the right things at the right time and then doing them as right or effeciently as possible. It can hurt if you are hammering the nails as hard and fast as you can if they are they wrong nails.