On one of my favorite new blogs, TLNT, Brent Peterson provides some great suggestions from his book for how team leaders can remove the typical barriers to getting real work done. According to Brent, these barriers include:
- Policies and practices that are too restrictive or don’t add value.
- Redundant or useless steps in processes.
- Meetings that don’t have a very clear purpose.
- Meetings that pull people in just to be observers.
- Conference calls, video conferences, etc., that have no clear purpose.
Considering the number of barriers you can’t control, what can leaders to do ensure that your team is as efficient and productive as possible? Read on.
Every team meeting should be armed with data
Your team must collect, analyze, and promote action plans with strong data. Identify the ways you can demonstrate project success: people involved, messages delivered, feedback provided, steps proposed and completed, etc.
Help your team advocate and sell its value
Every team member must understand and know how to measure value, and as the leader, you must take data, new ideas, and recommendations for change to your superiors to validate your team’s work.
Leaders must be mentors
Managers add value when they use their experience to help others learn, empowering them with the knowledge to be self-sufficient. Remember that someone can be mentored by the same person he is mentoring on a different set of skills. Teams thrive when they create this kind of value sharing.
Leaders must follow through and follow up
This means doing what you say you will do. Managers often promise financial assistance or senior management support, or make a host of other promises that will help their team succeed. Then, they become a barrier when they don’t come through.
Leaders must hold others accountable
Your team members should produce work plans that are broken down into specific actions that can be observed, quantified, and discussed with clarity. Each action needs a deadline and various milestones attached to it.
Set up simple and open methods to systematize new learning, best practices, and improved processes. Where there are new tools, bring them into play for everyone. Where there are significant accomplishments, pass the word along.