How To Build A Productive Team

There are as many leadership styles as there are personality types in the world. To complicate matters, no two people will react the same way (whether positively or negatively) to a leader’s choices and decisions. However, it is possible to rally a group and build a sense of camaraderie in the face of disagreement, giving your teammates purpose and direction beneath your banner!  

Whether you are leading a group of volunteers, rallying together your colleagues, or pursuing a business venture, here are three traits you can adopt to help bring your team together.

Serve Your Team

People are more willing to follow someone who leads by example.  They will not forget the small acts: bringing Starbucks during the workday, or helping them on bits of their own projects.  Being a strong leader is less about cracking the whip and more about ensuring your team is prepared to achieve their goals.  They need you to be willing to pull through for them, as much as you need them to do the same.  When they know you see them as equals, they are more willing to can give you the respect that is needed to be productive.

It can be summed up with the idiom, “Don’t ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself.”  That doesn’t mean do everything by yourself, but people need to know that you value their work and effort.  Your team wants to see that you are in the trenches with them.  Make your team confident that you do not simply wish to benefit alone, but that you are looking to benefit the group as a whole.  When it comes down to crunch time, the extra workload will not be as aggravating.  Your team will find it easier to delegate tedious tasks between themselves with you at the helm, taking a share of the work.

Know Your Team’s Needs And Frustrations

While it’s no secret that work isn’t always fun, it’s important that your team feels they can express their frustrations to you before they become overwhelmed.  Maintaining a personal, but professional relationship with each of your team members and communicating with them on a regular basis can help to alieve some of their building frustration.  Group discussions are also vital to the productivity of the team.  Do not expect your team to come to you on their own volition; they may not wish to come across as complaining or for any other myriad of reasons.  You have to give them your ear from time to time.  They may not feel compelled to suggest anything, but the option should always be present.

This leads to the next step: following up on what they tell you!  What feels better than knowing your team leader heard you out?  They incorporated it into your team’s strategy!  In some cases that may not be possible, but the point remains that your team needs to know that you are active in considering their thoughts and suggestions.  This may mean working with them to come to a new idea or saving the suggestion for a future project.  Ensuring that your team members know their input truly matters is a crucial component of driving team productivity.   

Tell Your Team What You Need

Lastly, your team needs to know what it is you need from them.  Sit down with them and make sure they all understand what you want to accomplish.  Give them suggestions on how you would like them to work together and how you would like them to work with you.  Let them know the level of effort you are prepared to invest into the project.  When they know how you are approaching this project, it will set the tone for the work ahead.  Simply dropping work on your team will not be conducive to promoting productivity or a satisfying work environment. You must lead them, not only by delegating tasks, but also by setting the bar for the level of work you expect to be completed.  Your team will see when you are giving it your all, and they will follow suit.

In the end, the only person you can control is yourself.  When you have been placed in a leadership position your job is not to be above your team, but to bring them together and find new ways for you all to work together.  Occasionally, you will need to make the final call on decisions, and not all your choices will be favored.  However, if your team knows that you value them, and truly want to see them succeed, they will be more willing to go with your calls.  You have the skills needed to lead a strong and productive team.  Treat them with honesty and respect, and be prepared to give your best, and they will echo your efforts.