Ten Ways Leadership Can Motivate Team Building and Performance

Managers, supervisors, and team leaders need to understand how communication and recognition can help motivate members to have better attitudes and become more productive. Many ways exist to motivate team members to build a better team and increase the group and individual performance.

Presented for consideration are ten possible ways for managers, supervisors, and leaders to motivate their team with little budget and resources that may not require higher-level management approval. Most ideas can be implemented merely by a change in accountability or the way the manager or leader communicates with the team and encourages the group to grow itself.

  1. Be positive and set a good example for the team.
  2. Share information on projects and business openly with the team.
  3. When possible, let them work through their conflicts, but be ready to resolve negative conflict and bad situations before team morale is damaged.
  4. Give feedback for improvement when necessary in a positive and thoughtful way.
  5. Show appreciation for the work they do using different methods for rewarding the group and members.
  6. If a team request or member idea is not understood, ask for clarification or examples.
  7. Actively listen to team complaints, ideas, and improvements.
  8. Allow the team to evaluate its leader and suggest improvement ideas to help them build respect, trust, and confidence in their leader.
  9. Show confidence in the team by supporting their work and needs.
  10. Do periodic team assessments with the members on how the group is doing as a way to increase awareness of what is right and identify opportunities for improvement.

Selecting from these ten ways to motivate teams, the team leader, supervisor, or manager can implement a strategy for building the team and improving individual performance as well. All it may take is changing the way the manager, supervisor, or leader communicates with and encourages the team’s potential growth, as well as the members accepting responsibility for their progress. The result should be improved team member attitudes, better group behaviors, and increasing work productivity.

NOTE: See also list of articles for “Ten Ideas to Reward Teams and Members,” “Evaluate Team Performance and Determine Training Needs,” “Eleven Responsibilities of Great Team Leaders and Sponsoring Managers,” and “Give Your Teams the Gift of Productivity.”

Ten Ways Teams Can Motivate Team Building and Performance

Team members should understand how they are responsible for much of their own motivation and performance. Each member can help motivate other members to have better attitudes and become more productive in team work. In many ways, motivating team members to build a better team not only increases the team performance but also develops better individual behaviors and personal job performance.

Presented for consideration are ten possible ways for team members and leaders to motivate within their team. Most of these ideas will require very little budget or approval from management. Most can be implemented merely by a change in team accountability or the way the team interacts with each other and encourages each member to grow personally.

  1. Rotate team roles, such as meeting leader, data gathering, recorder/historian, celebration planner, etc.
  2. Ask for their ideas when problem solving and involve them in the deployment process.
  3. Promote a sense of ownership in the project, job, improvement, or customer satisfaction.
  4. Make sure members understand team or project goals, milestones, and deadlines.
  5. Do not blame individual members instead find ways to help and encourage.
  6. Show respect towards the team members and expect trust in return.
  7. Encourage creativity and risk taking.
  8. Give appropriate assignments based on skill or opportunity to learn.
  9. Be flexible in allowing needed time off and sharing of work responsibilities.
  10. Keep team working environment informal while providing structure in meetings.

Selecting from these ten ways to motivate team membership, team building, and increased performance will allow the team to implement a strategy for building themselves and improving individual performance as well. All it may take is changing the way the team members interact and increases encouragement of individual member’s personal growth. These ideas can help the team members to accept responsibility for their team and individual progress. The overall result should be improved team member attitudes, better team behaviors, and an increase in on-the-job productivity.

Evaluate Team Performance and Determine Training Needs

Many organizations struggle with how to tell if their teams are effective. Others who are just starting teams or have had working teams for some time wonder what type of new or follow-up training they should provide to the teams in order ensure effectiveness. Both needs can be met by developing a method of evaluating the teams.

Each team should participate separately in the evaluation process and it would be best if the individual member’s participation is anonymous so members do not feel pressured to rank everything as going well. Anonymity will aid honesty in the process. A process without honesty will not yield valuable information nor help lead to the desired results.

The easiest and quickest method for individual evaluations is a form-based survey. A standard form will provide a way to continually monitor the team needs on a quarterly basis. A good standard evaluation will also make it easier to compare teams since all teams will be measured in the same way for training purposes. A good team evaluation form will ask questions about team roles, meetings, and group performance with numbered rankings to determine training needs. An example ranking could be 1 for team always does this, 2 for often does, 3 for sometimes, 4 for occasionally does, and 5 for never does this. For individual team growth, the evaluation form may also include space for questions specific to the type of team, such as project completion issues or work team attitudes and behavior.

Asking questions about the team and assigning ranks will help to determine if additional training is needed. If the example ranks above are used, then where the team ranks a question at a very high number, this would indicate a need for immediate training in this area. If the rankings are very low numbers, then additional training may not be needed or can wait until the team decides it is needed. For a middle ranking, the team does need some training, but the need is not as immediate unless the ranking changes.

What type of training is necessary based on evaluation rankings? If the ranks were associated with roles, training to offer can include soft skills like leadership, methods for encouraging participation, conflict resolution, time management, team stages and roles, communication, giving and receiving performance feedback., interpersonal skills, personality differences, diversity, or education on empowerment with authority and accountability. Technical skills that may be required for specific members doing certain roles include taking minutes or writing progress reports, computer applications, organization, quality and statistics. For meetings, the higher rank should indicate the team needs training in holding effective meetings, decision-making, or techniques for idea generation and problem solving.

Questions related to group performance could indicate a need for a facilitated process to aid in developing group purpose or mission statement and goal-setting. Or training in time management, project planning/management and possibly detailed instruction on procedures, process flow analysis, or policy may be required. If specific team category questions were added, the resulting numbers for those questions will determine the specialized training necessary. For example an Information Technology project team may need project management training or some members may need training on a specific computer language or application. Whereas a team of change agents or a problem solving team may need change management, customer service, domain analysis, or problem solving techniques.

After the training has been taken by the team members and after a few months have passed. Re-evaluate the team to determine if the training is being effectively used or if a refresher is needed. Keeping team performance evaluated and the members trained are keys to successfulness and effectiveness of teams in an organization.