Optimising Productivity: How Business Leaders Can Work to Elevate Team Performance

How can you promote teamwork and collaboration in the workplace? 

This is one of the most common questions keeping business leaders and managers up at night. Plus with globalisation becoming a part of the business landscape, organisations cannot afford to lag behind their competitors. 

So, with that in mind, let’s explore how you can improve team productivity and build a better workplace.

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1. Cultivate & encourage growth mindset

“Don’t be a know-it-all, be a learn-it-all.”

- Satya Nadella, Chairman & CEO of Microsoft 

When Satya Nadella took over, he realised that a change needed to be made within Microsoft. There was a deeply ingrained silo mentality with employees reluctant to share their knowledge with others. As a result, productivity suffered and the company was falling behind its competitors. 

The example above is a classic sign of the silo mentality and if left unchecked, this can severely limit team productivity and restrict cooperation.

Fortunately, as a proponent of the growth mindset, Nadella believed that knowledge sharing is power. The growth mindset highlights an individual’s capacity for continual learning and resilience in diverse situations.

So with this in mind, Nadella set out to transform Microsoft’s culture into one that prioritises continual learning, self-improvement, and an openness to external ideas. 

The results would be so impressive that many have praised him for saving Microsoft. It is also a textbook example of the growth mindset at work.

Adopting a growth mindset
  • Educate employees : Kickstart your organisation’s journey by partnering with an agency well-versed in the growth mindset concept. ILS for example collaborates with organisations in a variety of ways. These include educating and supporting organisations to help them enact change in capability and culture. All of which are necessary ingredients for strategy execution and transformation.

  • Leaders as Role Models: Following the foundational training phase, leaders must actively embody behaviours and attitudes synonymous with the growth mindset. This means applying these principles in their day-to-day operations and decision-making processes. For example, by learning how to recognise potential in their team, leaders can encourage employees to see new things and learn from failure. Such an approach encourages innovation and gives team members a safe space to admit and address failures.

  • Leaders as Role Models: Following the foundational training phase, leaders must actively embody behaviours and attitudes synonymous with the growth mindset. This means applying these principles in their day-to-day operations and decision-making processes. For example, by learning how to recognise potential in their team, leaders can encourage employees to see new things and learn from failure. Such an approach encourages innovation and gives team members a safe space to admit and address failures.

  • Implement a Positive Feedback Loop: Instituting a constructive and positive feedback mechanism is crucial for nurturing the growth mindset in an organisation. It should focus on the recognition of effort, progress, and the act of embracing challenges. Highlighting areas of improvement and providing constructive guidance without negativity also forms a critical part of this feedback process. 

2. Provide clear expectations

Clearly defined expectations are key to improving team productivity. When employees understand their roles, responsibilities, and the desired outcomes of their efforts, they can focus on delivering quality work and achieving their targets. All of which eliminates confusion and ambiguity, which allows employees to focus on giving their best.

Additionally, setting clear expectations instils a sense of security and trust within the team. This is because employees feel more confident in their roles and possess a greater understanding of how their contributions align with the organisation’s objectives. And thus fosters greater job satisfaction and improves morale while promoting a better workplace culture.

Setting clear expectations for employees
  • Set concrete, measurable standards for performance that align with your organisation's goals: Help your employees understand what is expected of them by including quantifiable targets, completion of specific tasks, or attainment of certain quality levels. From here, make sure these benchmarks are communicated effectively to all employees.

  • Provide precise job descriptions: When preparing employee job descriptions, make sure to clearly outline the responsibilities and expectations of each role: This should include the key tasks, decision-making authority, and any specific skills or qualifications required. That way employees have a crystal clear understanding of what every role and its responsibilities entail.

  • Encourage an open-door policy: This encourages employers to reach out for help and advice from both peers and superiors. It also boosts employee confidence as they know that help is always available.

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3. Eliminate micromanagement

John Stoker, the author of Overcoming Fake Talk, once said “Authority — when abused through micromanagement, intimidation, or verbal or non-verbal threats — makes people shut down & productivity ceases."

Micromanagement is a leadership style that closely observes, controls, or scrutinises the work of subordinates, employees, or team members. While sometimes beneficial, micromanagement often suppresses creativity and leads to resentment in employees.

It is also a common trait of many toxic workplaces. And if left unchecked, micromanagement will reduce workplace productivity and team collaboration. This is why it's vital for leaders to identify and deal with micromanaging behaviour within their peers and themselves.

Dealing with micromanagement
  • Invest in Your Leaders: Offering tailored training can equip managers and supervisors with the skills essential for effective leadership. Such training can guide them towards an introspective understanding of leadership, enabling them to identify and leverage their strengths while addressing their weaknesses. This investment not only bolsters their leadership acumen but also significantly contributes to improved productivity.

  • Have Regular Check-In Sessions: Regularly scheduled check-ins, as opposed to constant monitoring, is an effective way to stay updated on an employee's progress without resorting to micromanagement. These sessions can provide opportunities for feedback and constructive conversation.

  • Adopt a Results-Driven Approach: Instead of focusing on the intricacies of how tasks are completed, shift your attention to the end results. That way you allow your employees to grow and choose a style which works for them.

4. Facilitate flexible working arrangements

According to a 2022 study conducted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), implementing flexible work arrangements allowed businesses to significantly improve productivity

In fact, it was found that employees who had the flexibility to choose work arrangements were more focused and motivated. All of which contributed to better work output, reduced absenteeism and higher employee retention rates.

And with a new generation of employees prioritising flexibility and personal wellbeing, organisations must also act accordingly.

How organisations can enable this
  • Empower Employee Choice: Give employees the autonomy to choose their preferred work styles that best suit their personal and professional needs. These could range from a hybrid model (a mix of remote and in-office), in-office, or fully remote work. Ensure these options are clearly communicated to all employees so that they can make an informed choice.

  • Subsidise Remote Work Costs: If an employee chooses a fully remote work style, consider assisting them with associated costs. For instance, employers could pass on some of the savings from reduced office maintenance to employees by subsidising equipment costs. This support could include items like ergonomic chairs, desks, or digital tools necessary for remote work, ensuring that employees have a comfortable and efficient home office setup.

Conclusion

Crafting a productive and engaging workplace calls for a diverse approach. This involves nurturing a growth mindset, setting clear expectations, eradicating micromanagement, and implementing flexible work arrangements. 

Each of these elements encourages continuous learning, promotes focus, bolsters creativity, and enhances work-life balance, contributing to a more satisfied and productive workforce. To learn more about jumpstarting workplace productivity, check out our website here.

 

 

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