7 Ways to Improve Team Performance

As a manager, it's your worst nightmare. Your team is unmotivated. They're not communicating. They're divided and not getting along. You've tried having meetings upon meetings to encourage productivity and collaboration, but your team isn't having it.

It's time to make some changes. Improving team performance requires commitment, conviction, and leadership from you and the rest of your team. The first step to change is researching qualities of high performing teams. What are they doing differently? How will this help your team grow?

Next, you'll want to lay down some new processes. Once you've done that, go over them with your team and outline the specific changes you're going to put into place. Get their input and feedback and make sure they're committed to the new processes. 

Need some ideas on what needs to change? Start with these action steps towards more effective team performance:

1.Establish a system of measurement

Measuring team performance is essential to learning how to improve and enhance your team's output. Without any tangible data, how do you know what you're doing wrong—or whether you're improving? A good system to put into practice is establishing Objective and Key Results (OKRs) across your team. Popularized by Intel and Google, this methodology allows you to aggressively plan out your quarter or year, and stack up what you actually completed against your forecast. OKRs should be created both at the team and the individual level. Whether you're in IT or marketing, this form of measurement can be used for just about any team.

2. Provide an incentive

After you've established your OKRs for the quarter or year, create some type of incentive for your team to hit them. Knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel might be just the push your team needs to work that much harder. Due to the nature of OKRs, the goal-setting should be aggressive and you really should only hit about 70% of your OKR goals. So keep this in mind when evaluating team performance. For example, the incentive could be: If the whole team hits 70% of their OKRs, you'll plan a trip to wine country. Or if you want them geared more towards individual goals, you can make them more personal: if you complete 3 customer case studies by the end of Q3, you'll receive a 3% bonus. Incentives can do wonders for productivity and provide that motivation your team needs to start excelling. 

3. Create templates

Stop re-inventing the wheel and start building templates. When managing a project that is reoccurring and requires lots of steps, a template can save your team time and lower stress by knowing that nothing is being left out. For example, planning an event involves lots of key details and requires hard deadlines. A template can insure that every detail is assigned to a team member and completed by the deadline. Adopting project management software to house all your templates makes it easy to search and store all important data in one place. Need a place to start? Download our 7 simple and free templates for your next big project.

4. Only schedule must-have meetings

I know it's difficult, but meetings shouldn't be the go-to whenever there's an important item to discuss. Studies show that employees attend an average of 62 meetings a month and believe that half of those meetings are ineffective. Join the effective meeting movement, and only schedule meetings when it's absolutely necessary. To ensure the meeting was effective, always start with a purpose and end with a clear action item. This will help your team stay alert and engaged during meetings. Not sure whether or not you should schedule a meeting? Check out our decision tree infographic to determine whether your next meeting is worth having. 

5. Engage in Team Building Games

Work hard, play harder. One of the characteristics of high performing teams is knowing when (and how) to have fun. Taking a break from work is sometimes the key to productivity. Good team performance management is all about taking the temperature of your team. Sometimes when a team is suffering from burnout, they need a break to recharge and reconnect with each other. Team bonding games are a creative way to boost creativity, practice problem solving, and encourage teamwork. 
Can't think of any interesting team building games, and don't have time to research? We've done the legwork for you. Check out our post on team building games your team will actually enjoy or watch the video on our Wrike Scavenger Hunt!

6. Become Agile

Effective team performance management isn't about always hitting your numbers, meeting your deadlines, and executing every project perfectly. It's about how you cope with missing your numbers, delayed deadlines, and bottlenecks in executing a project. Adopting an Agile methodology allows your team to quickly adapt when project plans change instead of panic. It also forces your team to communicate constantly and focus on quality over quantity. 
It's important to keep this in mind when building your OKRs. Instead of focusing on just executing 15 marketing campaigns this year as an OKR, you might want to look at executing only 10 marketing campaigns that each bring in a higher number of leads. 
How Agile is your team? Find out now by taking this short quiz

7. Celebrate big and small wins

Big wins are important, but small wins are what you get you there. Celebrate the little wins and your team will quickly be inspired to continue their hard work. Planning a small happy hour or gifting a special book you know your team would enjoy are just small ways to show you appreciate their dedication. If your team works remotely, here are 5 ways to show your remote workers some love, without having them come to the office.  

Additional Resources for Improving Team Performance:

What are some of your tips for improving team performance?

Share with us what has worked for you in the comments. 
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