Leaders are constantly navigating change in the workplace, seeking to improve efficiency and collaboration to get good work done. If your team has been in the doldrums, it may be time for a thoughtful review of your management practices. As more teams are shifting toward hybrid and remote work, standard management practices may not work as they once did.
Devote time to analyzing your management style, organizational structure, and habits to identify opportunities for improvement. Interview your direct reports and frequent organizational partners to glean inside information as you gather data. Once you better understand your work landscape, consider implementing these ways to be more successful and efficient.
1. Identify Your Team’s Preferred Work Style
In a traditional office culture, employees are typically expected to be at their desks for the entirety of the workday. While some work types require physical presence and attention in real time, many roles do not. Consider the nature of your business and your team members’ preferences when determining how and when your team will work.
For some businesses, it’s advantageous to set core work hours where team members can be available to collaborate. This approach can help project managers schedule meetings knowing that key participants will be able to attend. Colleagues can also feel confident that real-time needs like media inquiries, customer service calls, and daily deadlines can be addressed successfully.
For other teams, an asynchronous collaboration approach can help improve efficiency and increase job satisfaction. Distributed remote team members can work on projects on their own time without worrying about signing on during someone else’s 9 to 5. Using collaboration tools and project management software, teams can update one another on progress, ask questions, and share files. Team members can also design their schedules to align with their most productive times based on their work style and type.
2. Protect Your Processes
Ad hoc practices have no place on successful teams, which makes the need for standardized processes a no-brainer. Review your existing workflow for potential process updates and identify gaps where new processes may be needed. If your team has been relying on the institutional memory of various veterans, now’s the time to kick off a process management project.
Start by assuring team members that they’re not in trouble for the way they’ve been operating up to now. Instead, establish your kick-off meeting as a safe space to share bad process habits, unknowns, and possibilities. Seek to understand your workflow’s current status and note any processes that need to be created.
When creating those processes, partner with subject matter experts across the organization to ensure you’ve accounted for all known variables and details. Conduct training so your team can be successful with the new processes. Nurture their adoption and review all processes annually.
3. Use Collaboration Tools to Increase Efficiency
The pandemic-driven shift to remote work brought the need for coordinated collaboration into high relief. Some companies addressed this need by adopting formal collaboration tools. If your team doesn’t use such tools, consult with your IT staff to identify those that best align with your workflow. If they do, review the tools and how they’re used to determine whether improvements are needed. You may need to provide training and guidance on how best to use your chosen tools and which are most appropriate for certain tasks.
There’s little doubt that these tech solutions can help your team be more successful. File-sharing within collaboration spaces gives colleagues shared access to edit project files, reducing version control issues. Chat features offered with most platforms can reduce email clutter. Some team members may be more inclined to instant-message a quick question before taking a guess, potentially reducing errors. Your shared collaboration spaces are vital team resources, so be sure to protect them, reiterating standards and updating practices to maintain their effectiveness.
4. Foster Individual and Team Development
Team members are hired into their roles to fulfill an organizational need. Over time, they learn more about their position and its challenges; meanwhile, the organization’s needs may shift or grow. This occurs while an individual’s career goals transform based on their experience and Personal Pivots needs.
If leaders aren’t keyed into their team members’ goals, they can inadvertently contribute to burnout and dissatisfaction. Establish a methodology to help you connect with your team members and champion a shared professional development effort across your organization.
Seek to understand your team member’s personal goals and how your group’s contribution to the organization may change over time. Champion your team’s expertise as you participate in leadership conversations, advocating for them and securing necessary resources. Schedule regular, recurring one-on-ones with your team members to review their tasks, individual performance, and development plans. Your hands-on approach can help identify opportunities for growth that can improve your team’s overall effectiveness.
Build Your Foundation on Trust
Work allows individuals to earn a living using their skills and applying their expertise toward a common goal. While traditional work is transactional by nature, that doesn’t mean that the experience of work has to be cold. Consider pursuing individual and team training that helps you and your colleagues establish a culture of trust. Teams whose foundation is built on trust cite better morale and innovation, which can lead to better results.
Identify structured training that can be facilitated by an expert. Launch your training after setting the stage for its adoption, reaching out to influential team members beforehand to get buy-in. Treat this effort as a component of your organizational change strategy.
Work to understand the status quo and how to effectively deploy a lasting organizational change that can also be maintained. Refine your leadership model as you bring on new team members, nurturing your team’s work style as your success grows.
Dorian Rossini is a French musician. He has a number of albums out, and he also likes to upload them to YouTube and Spotify. He is also incredibly popular on social media. His two most popular albums are “Religion” and “Starmania.” Dorian was born on December 13, 1990 in Paris, France to a jazz singer and a kindergarten teacher. He was raised in a Christian home, and is now an avid music lover.