Let’s face it - we all have too much to do and not enough time to finish everything. When you are the boss - the task of boosting the productivity of your team becomes twice as hard. You want to help your team members, but what’s the right approach to use? Should you organize everything for them? What can you as a leader do to help them increase their productivity?
With agile being introduced, a lot of companies and managers simply assumed that it is the silver bullet that will solve all their problems, including the productivity one.
However, that is simply not the case.
Agile (or any other methodology for that matter) cannot increase productivity simply because it is being used - you have to work on enhancing the productivity of your team. Here are some tips you can use to ensure that your team works productively.
1. Encourage open communication
Mentioning effective communication in the workplace is like saying that you need the Internet access to read news online - it goes without saying. But, for some reason, it is often overlooked and taken for granted.
Effective communication provides directions, encourages a healthy company culture and helps bring misunderstandings to a minimum. It is important that you don’t use just online tools to do this - include good old face-to-face communication.
Instead of spending an entire day sending messages back and forth, you can discuss everything in one go. An additional benefit of face-to-face communication is the sense of community it creates, setting the foundation for trust and creates a better working relationship.
2. Set clear goals and provide feedback
If you don’t set clear goals, your team will not know how to reach them. By keeping them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely (check out this SMART Goals Template for more info), you will provide guidance for everyone. Short-term goals are especially effective in encouraging team members to properly manage their time and efforts in completing their daily tasks.
In addition to this, make sure that you give your team useful and constructive feedback. Acknowledge accomplishments and address errors and, once again - encourage communication.
Since receiving feedback is just as important as giving it, by encouraging your team to give each other feedback, they will build a great work environment and help each other develop their skills.
3. Set the example
When you are a leader, your employees will look up to you. Get everything sorted out and show them how, with good time management, everything is possible.
If you are constantly late or overworked, it only shows that you cannot strategically allocate your time and efforts. Choose carefully what meetings you attend, what daily tasks you choose and how you handle them.
You can also set an example when it comes to bettering yourself. If you are reading a particularly good book on Agile, let them know about it and share a few things you have learned.
Your behavior will be a model and you will show them that if you can make time for what’s important - they can do it as well.
4. Give them autonomy
You give them all the info, you hand out everything, you do the research for them and you wonder why they don't do anything by themselves. The solution to this problem is quite simple - stop spoon-feeding your team.
As the leader of your team, you want to encourage them to find the solution to the problems they are facing. Allow them to discover opportunities and new ways of doing things that you might not be aware of. They will become accountable for their decisions which will directly influence the productivity and performance.
5. Improve meetings
Even though meetings are getting a bad press as productivity killers for years now - don’t give up on them yet. Focus on improving the way you run them.
Make sure that there is a clear goal of each meeting and that only relevant team members are included. In addition to this, try to send any meeting material beforehand, so that everyone can read it and focus only on the collaboration part of the meeting.
There isn’t one universal solution to increase a team’s productivity. Every team and every team member is different. However, once you realize that increasing productivity is a process that you have to work on - it gets a lot easier.
Have you tried any of these tips? Would you like to add any tip that we haven’t mentioned? Share your views in our Facebook group - Scrum Ninjas with other members.
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