When people are happy in their jobs, they’re more fun to be around, they have fewer sick days and more energy, they’re more motivated, make better decisions, and, as an added bonus for us creative types, they get a creativity boost too.
This means that team leaders and managers today need a shift in mindset. Their role in the modern workplace should be less of an authoritative figure throwing out orders, and more of a nurturer of talent growing a happy and therefore productive team of people, who are striving to believe in their own potential and achieve their goals.
Here are five tips for growing a happy and productive team.
1. Be an Excellent Communicator
If you’re unable to communicate what you want from your team, how on earth do you think they’re going to be able to achieve it?
Effective communication is at the heart of a happy, productive team.
Ensure all team members are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities, both within the company and in all projects they’re working on.
Don’t simply delegate either, ask people for their input in a project and learn how to listen – communication is a two-way street so allowing everybody’s voice to be heard and showing a willingness to incorporate other people’s ideas into a project will help to build trust and show that you value their opinions.
When starting a new project, give team members responsibility and ownership, something that demonstrates your faith in their abilities and makes them more invested in the work. And always leave time at the end of a meeting to check that everybody knows what they’re doing, and let them ask any questions they may have.
Make it clear they can always come to you if they have problems or issues, and see what you can do for them to help them be more engaged and productive at work. Remember, people are motivated by different things, so what works for some team members won’t necessarily work for all.
2. Give Compliments
Always give praise where praise is due – it’s a great motivator and everybody appreciates gratitude. Where deserved, public recognition of their work and talent and offering rewards or incentives for excellent work are wonderful ways to inspire your staff, but it doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture. Sometimes a simple, sincere thank you at the right moment is enough to make people feel valued and show that their hard work has been acknowledged.
On the flip side, if somebody makes a mistake, ensure you handle it well. Mistakes are part of human nature – we all make them. Let them know mistakes are OK as long as they’ve learned a lesson from it. It only becomes a problem if it’s repeated consistently, or if they try to cover it up, causing further problems in the process.
Be constructive with any criticism you do give. Start by highlighting what they do well, before addressing the issue, and always finish on a positive note. Focus on supporting them in resolving the issue, rather than attacking them for what went wrong.
3. Nurture Your Team’s Talents
Each team member has different strengths and weaknesses, so ensure you know what they are. Assign roles that play to their strengths and don’t force them into roles they don’t enjoy or that they struggle with. Of course, people can’t pick and choose the best bits of a job – sometimes we all have to do things we don’t enjoy – but try to keep this to a minimum.
Nurture your team’s talents by offering training opportunities and opportunities for personal growth. This will give the message that you’re investing in them as an important member of the team.
And don’t forget yourself. Leadership shouldn’t be something you take for granted; it’s a skill in its own right. Like any skill, studying it will improve your management style. It’s important you can receive and act on feedback from your team, and learn to admit and grow from your own mistakes too.
4. Encourage Team Spirit
People with close friends in the workplace are more likely to be engaged with their jobs, so take the time to get to know your team as individuals and to appreciate them as people. Find out if they have families, what their hobbies and interests are, etc.
Remembering the little things about them will show that you genuinely care about them as people, not just employees. Plus, it may also give you an extra insight into what drives and motivates them.
Organising team events – from team lunches where you don’t talk about work, to away days and team building exercises – can inject a lot of fun into your working environment and will foster a strong team spirit.
It’s important that everybody in your team knows the collective goals you’re working towards. People shouldn’t be on a solo mission to make themselves look good at any cost, but should be a good team player. So fun team bonding and team building exercises and away days will encourage people to be more focused and engaged as they won’t want to let their colleagues down.
5. Don’t Micromanage
Finally, nobody likes to work with a manager looking over their shoulder every five minutes, so don’t micromanage every second of your team’s day.
Set goals and deadlines so they know what they’re aiming for, and show that you respect their ability to manage their own time and get the job done. People thrive on responsibility and trust, but if you check up on them every few minutes they’ll simply become resentful and feel that you don’t trust them.
There are loads of fantastic online tools available, such as Redbooth and Slack that allow you to keep track of progress on a project without pestering staff constantly to see how things are progressing. They’re also brilliant for breaking down any communication barriers and getting to know colleagues who are based in other locations.
A happy team is a productive and engaged team, which is great for your work environment and excellent news for your business and your clients.
What tips do you have for building a happy, productive team and creating a strong team spirit in your business? Have we missed anything out? Tell us below…