Saturday, February 10, 2007

Reinforcing Your Team's Confidence

Teams' energy wanes every now and then under the workload and the workplace internal and external environmental pressures. When this happens, the team-leader's top priority should be to boost the morale of the team before giving them any more work to do. The right amount of motivation needs to be injected in order to energize the team and bring the members to their original efficiency level again. If this is not done both productivity and quality are sure going to suffer.
In order to make this happen, I have tried the following techniques withe different types of teams and and they worked:
  1. Remember the good times. Encouraging team members to reminisce the 'good old days' when the organization was working at its best, and sharing the teams role in success stories is a tried sure way to change the team mood and make them think positive. They become energized, and their batteries are re-charged to stay on track to complete the last leg and win the race. No one wishes to be with a losing team, and the great feeling of building on past successes nurtures new success stories.
  2. Build a vision for now. Based on what was powerful in the team's real past experience, you may provoke your team to think of a 'vision' or to 'restate' an existing vision but around 'togetherness'.
  3. Assess On-going Performance. This is an effective technique to keep your team focused and on track. The team members can even come up with their own instruments to measure their own performance. If they hate meetings, for example, they can be encouraged to come up with a criteria to measure their performance and effectiveness in having and attending business meetings.
  4. Share with them basic questions. The simplest mechanism to get your team involved and committed is to regularly share with them basic question to help sharpen the team' concentration: What's working well for us and the organization? What do we want to do differently, and why? Don't wait for something to go drastically wrong before using this mechanism. You only concentrate of the positive in order to sustain what's working than to get tied up in knots about what isn't; then you need to phrase problems as requests: "these are the things I would like us to do differently."; and finally, negotiate through the requests in order to get the best deal from you team on time, quality, and cost of doing their jobs.
  5. Develop a self-directed work team (SDWT). No good team-leader would like to lead an immature team for a long period of time. Good leader foster a culture of team-spirit based on strong team norms and cohesiveness. Mature teams should be able to decide on how they are going to accomplish the tasks given to them without any supervision. She should also cooperate in solving work problems, and eliminating any conflicts that may hinder their achievements. Team leaders should find the time to think strategically, align required resources to enable their teams deliver, and take strategic business decisions.

Finally, team leaders are 'captains' who lead their to score and win, but they do not do this isolated from their own team. They make themselves visible, and they have a presence in playing field to orchestrate the team work and take any required decisions to bring them back to track on time to continue the race.

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