The Sunday Mail
Women & Leadership
A productive and high-performance team is imperative if a department or company is to scale heights and excel.
Below are some ways to cultivate winning teams:
- Challenge and stimulate
Many people need exciting problems/situations to solve. This challenges them to get out of their comfort zone and go beyond themselves. Challenge is a form of nourishment. It stimulates and motivates. Many folks crave the feeling of accomplishment that comes from solving a problem, cracking a challenge, be it logistical, technological, social or artistic. They want something to bite into and flaunt their achievements. Many scholars agree that the joy of accomplishment is the greatest joy there is.
- Allow independence and autonomy
Most people yearn for freedom at work and in life in general. In fact, autonomy is a core human need, and research has shown that employees who have more independence and space to work autonomously at their workstations are more productive as well as happier and healthier. Experts say employees working in autonomous groups also feel less emotional fatigue and engage in more active learning.
- Respect staff time
Time is a precious currency. Teams need uninterrupted hours to solve problems and think strategically.
Team members need ample time to conceptualise and execute their work. Having a singular focus builds momentum.
Additionally, it is also important to respect people’s time outside the office. It is not good for an employee to continue thinking about work, even when they are at home.
Some workplaces often glorify workdays that stretch into 10, 12 and even 14 hours. But this has adverse effects in the long run. Not only will a culture of overwork lead to employee burnout, but is bad for business and staff retention.
- Give breathing space
According to experts, while the open office plan has become nearly synonymous with start-ups and modern businesses, there is need to re-think the open workspace. Studies show that open plans actually decrease face-to-face interactions and increase email communication. Other researches have concluded that employees who work in open offices report higher stress levels and struggle to concentrate and stay motivated.
Where possible, teams should be given their own separate offices or private spaces where they can work together without distractions. Experts note that it is equally important to minimise excess noise, which is the topmost grievance among employees who work in open offices. For example, you could designate places for conversation versus quiet work, or create a signalling system for team members to show when they are in deep concentration mode.
Finally, experts recommend that you should ensure your teams have mental and emotional space. You should thus be able to cut needless consultations, remove hidden obstacles and slash red tape and bureaucratic processes.
- Foster a culture of warmth and energy
Friendly, collaborative teams will inevitably function better. Groups should create a sense of warmth and safety in order for people to perform at their peak. Fresh opportunities and challenges can stimulate innovation.
Maggie Mzumara is a leadership, communication and media strategist as well as corporate trainer and coach who offers services to groups and individuals. She advocates women leadership and is founder of Success in Stilettos (SiS) Seminar Series, a leadership development platform for women. Contact her on [email protected] or follow on Twitter @magsmzumara