9 Tips for Improving Team Effectiveness

We all know the “Forming, storming, norming, performing” team development model (Bruce Tucker 1965) – Whether the team is an existing, organisationally aligned structure or a new team brought together for a project, making them as effective as possible is key to delivery – moving them from forming and storming as quickly as possible into norming and ideally performing.

The nine top tips below should help you to work towards this:

1. Ensure there is shared understanding of the team’s purpose or mission

Why has the team come together? If you keep the mission clear and consistent then you will maintain the focus within the team.

2. Ensure there is shared understanding of team roles and responsibilities

Some of the biggest conflicts in teams come from ill-defined roles or areas of responsibilities. Ensure all team members clearly understand their roles and responsibilities and act quickly if there are conflicts arising from duplication of efforts.

3. Set shared objectives

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) objectives should be set both individually and as a team to enable them to work towards the mission.

4. Review your task allocation

Unequal task allocation can lead to discord within the team. Take stock of all activities and tasks that are required of the team and make sure they are equally allocated.

5. Understand the team’s dynamics

We are all individuals, so taking some time to understand the differences between team members and how to work together to get the most out of the team is important. There are many models out there which can be used to gain an understanding of different behavioural types – we use Insights Discovery at Nine Feet Tall.

6. Create the plan and start delivering!

Pull together the mission, the roles, responsibilities and objectives into a succinct plan of action which can be used within the team to provide clarity and also externally as an update to the business on their plans.

7. Review progress against plan

Things change! Make sure you are constantly reviewing progress against the objectives and mission, whilst always ensuring you monitor potential areas of change such as competing needs on team member’s time.

8. Communicate and feedback

Ensure the flow of communication within the team is kept open and that feedback and praise is given regularly and in a timely manner.

9. Have fun!

Teams work best when they also have some “down time” to bond. This can be anything from a weekly coffee break catch-up to a yearly big team bonding event. At Nine Feet Tall we have regular Knowledge Sharing sessions, quarterly Company days and twice yearly team building events such as Sailing, Fire-walking, Cookery and Skid-Pan sessions!

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