Team Productivity

How to Boost Team Productivity Without Driving Everyone Crazy

Stephanie Gonzaga
April 29, 2014
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With a major project underway and a deadline to meet, you want your team to be at their most productive. And like a mother prepping her son for his first day at school, you want to make sure that every aspect of the project is in order by conducting meetings, follow-ups, progress reports, the whole shebang.

There’s just one problem though: your managerial tendencies may drive your team members up the wall in frustration!

As project head, it’s understandable to want to ensure that every member of the team is focused and productive in order to meet and complete milestones on schedule. You may feel the need to inspect every detail, ask as many questions, follow-up as many times, and be present for possible problems or issues 24/7.

What this creates though is frustration and stress, both of which are the antithesis of productivity and focus. The pressure to deliver clashes with the lingering resistance towards your calls for meetings and constant nitpicking at every detail. This causes your team to become less enthusiastic and engaged, and the last thing you want is internal trouble creating havoc within the team.

To establish balance while promoting productivity in the workplace, there has to be a fine line between crazy project management and being aloof with your team responsibilities. Let’s take a look at how you can lead and boost team productivity without driving them nuts in the process.

Clarify each member's roles and responsibilities.

Begin Day 1 with a clear understanding of each member’s roles and responsibilities in the project. Answer any question or concern a member has about his or her role while establishing boundaries to avoid task overlaps in the process. A RACI chart can help with this.

Clarity from the get-go allows the team to work hand-in-hand with one another without stepping on each other’s toes. You lessen the need to come together for team meetings just to clarify who’s responsible for doing what. And with a clear-cut definition in place, everyone can now focus on getting work done.

Always meet with a clear agenda in place.

Asking for a team meeting without an agenda in place is literally dragging everybody into a room for a long session where ideas and questions are thrown left and right. It defeats the whole purpose of having a meeting in the first place.

To prevent this from draining everyone’s time and affecting productivity levels, make sure to establish a set list of items to discuss before organizing a meeting with the team. Most importantly, start and end the meeting with these objectives so as not to waste people’s time.

Stick to a reasonable follow-up schedule.

While the intention is to keep tabs on everyone’s progress, asking your team to gather for irregular follow-up meetings every time can become an interruption than healthy upkeep.

Your goal is to get things done, so it’s important to balance follow-up meetings with actual work hours. Decide on a reasonable follow-up schedule that everyone can agree on and stick to. Only set up emergency meetings when addressing critical issues that can adversely affect both the project and group.

Communicate with just the necessary people.

When sending out emails and messages, you may feel that everyone in the team should be involved in the conversation. What happens though is this creates a tower of email notifications, drowning your team in unnecessary email everyday.

To prevent this, you can just include members who are directly involved in the conversation and who can contribute to the issue at hand. You’d save everyone else the trouble of reading messages they wouldn’t be able to relate or contribute to.

Establish workable timeframes.

While it’s important to set realistic deadlines for work to be done, this should go hand-in-hand with workable timeframes to allow sufficient work to be done. This ensures that you deliver a product that possesses the quality and standards expected.

With this, you need to communicate your expectations clearly while being open to all possible factors that may impact the projected timeframe for each task. Ask questions, listen to each member’s ideas, and establish a timeframe everyone can agree and work with.

Keep the line open for feedback and suggestions

Good working relationships are essential for productive teamwork. To achieve this, make it easy for everyone to communicate problems and share feedback and suggestions. Establish an environment where ideas are encouraged and that everyone has each other’s back. And being the overseer of all things related to the project, it’s your job to respond to these problems, negotiate and establish solutions to prevent internal problems from getting in the way with work.

It’s time to turn the mic over to you. As project leader, what do you do to ensure optimum productivity within your team? What problems have you faced in keeping the team motivated and focused at work?

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