All managers and leaders of all stripes want their teams to perform as well as possible. It’s the reason why so many different creative training programs and team building exercises have been dreamt up.
But what if having your team members wander into the forest with walkie talkies isn’t the only way of improving their performance?
Here’s a look at a few more straightforward ways of getting the job done.
1. Automate Your Processes
A lot of mental energy and time can be wasted on the kinds of tasks which could be easily accomplished by an untrained individual, instead of one of your valuable team members. These include things like filling in reports, contacting suppliers about minor points of uncertainty, and anything involving a photocopier.
Instead of letting these tasks drain time and energy which could be spent unravelling more serious issues, try and install systems for automation as often as possible.
This could be as simple as signing up to a software product that could largely automate a task — Freshbooks for easier invoicing, for example — or it could involve signing up to a complete digital solutions package such as Drink-It, or affordable virtual PA service and having someone remotely filter through your morning emails on your behalf.
2. Introduce Open Brainstorming Sessions
David Allen, author of the bestselling productivity enhancing work, “Getting Things Done”, makes an interesting point about the way ideation often plays out in a company versus how it happens naturally.
In an office context, it’s not uncommon for a team leader to start a meeting or “brainstorming session” with an idea like “does anyone have any good ideas about this?”
The issue here is that good ideas don’t arise spontaneously. Ideas arise spontaneously and generally have to be filtered or massaged into “good” forms.
Instead of stifling creativity and problem solving in your meetings by demanding results from the outset, take a relaxed and open brainstorming focus. Introduce an element of play, and encourage your team to present any thoughts they may have regarding an issue or situation.
Pass on the message that there are no “bad ideas” at the brainstorming stage.
3. Introduce Remote Working Options
Many employers and leaders — especially those who started their careers before the advent of the internet age — are deeply suspicious and weary of remote working. The thought process tends to be something along the lines of; “I need them here in the office so I can watch them and make sure they’re not wasting any time”.
Not only does this attitude suggest a poor level of trust in your employees, however, it might also diminish their overall productivity and creativity.
Allowing your staff to work from home for at least a day or two a week will allow them to focus on their targets and approach the related issues on their own time, in their own way, which will provide fertile ground for novel thinking.
Allowing your team members to work remotely is also a sign of trust in their commitment and abilities, and will inevitably boost morale and positivity within the company. Employees who feel they’re being treated with respect and more likely to approach their work with vigour and commitment.