How to Boost Team Performance and Motivation


Originally published at blog.weekdone.com on October 7, 2014.

A happy team is also a productive team. So, when team-members don’t work well together, your alarm should go off. It’s a pretty loud signal that soon the team performance and productivity might suffer as well. And we all know who will be hold responsible for that.

To avoid this scenario, you should take preventive measures. Although it’s important to make sure the office runs smoothly without any distractions and internal communications flows both ways, it’s also essential to reflect and acknowledge the behaviors that might drive your team performance down.

Taking together different researches, we’ve put together an infographic that demonstrates 10 common mistakes team leaders tend to make. These behaviors are also accompanied with easy to implement fixes that help overcome the challenge:

Summing up the infographic, which are the 10 mistakes that can kill team performance and motivation?

1. Not paying your team-members what they’re worth

Clearly its not always about the extrinsic tangible rewards. But according to research 26% of highly engaged employees would leave their current job for just a 5% pay increase. Fair pay practices benefit not only your employees, but also you, by reducing turnover costs and improving team happiness. Employees who are paid competitively are generally happier. Remember what we talked about happy teams in the beginning?

Perhaps it’s time to look through this reward system and make sure it matches employees’ contribution. Having an effective and open reward system in place can help you with many of the HR issues.

2. Not providing an environment that nurtures productivity

The open office setup dates back to 1950's, where it was originally conceived by the Germans to facilitate communication and ideas. Since then, it has quickly become popular across various industries. But like with any great idea it comes with a price. More recent surveys have found that this setup might be damaging employees attention span, productivity, creative thinking and satisfaction. What is more, open offices report 62% more sick-days. Is it time to re-think the open office layout?

3. Not providing the chance to learn

You might not have the resources to allow employees spend 20% of their time on personal projects like Google does, but there are alternatives. Perhaps one of the most important factors in team motivation is offering the opportunity to grow individually and as a team. In this fast paced environment, if your business isn’t learning, you’re going to fall behind. Offering inspirational and educational training isn’t merely a business expense, it’s vital for survival.

4. Not letting team-members have a say in anything

If your employees feel that their input isn’t appreciated it doesn’t exactly motivate to perform better the next time. The same way your employees are waiting for your feedback, you should be asking their feedback. One way to make your people feel heard and valued is by using status reports that efficiently and clearly communicate their input.

5. Not paying attention on your teams happiness

Unfortunately, negativity spreads much faster than positivity. Furthermore, 24% of actively disengaged employees spread negativity to their coworkers. Sooner or later, this will start affect your engaged employees. Especially when they are all working together in an open office.

But you can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s why we have included happiness measures to Weekdone’s status reports. It’s important to know how each team and whole company is feeling. Think of it as your team’s pulse or blood pressure. When filling in your weekly report, at the end of it you’ll see the question: “How happy were you with this week?” We chose the five-point scale for happiness measurement and you answer by choosing 1 to 5 stars.

6. Not cultivating an open culture

Fear is not a motivator. Actually, one thing killing your team performance faster than anything else is the fear of failure. The bigger the fear of failure, the more people stay in their comfort zone, which will sabotage their chances of success in a variety of ways. It’s your job to cultivate a culture that accepts mistakes and encourages open communication. One way to do that is to use a great management technique called the PPP (progress, plans, problems). This technique will teach you to ask three important questions on a regular base.

7. Not setting clearly defined objectives

Chances are that your team is willing to work harder if they can focus on clearly defined goals. If the objective changes often, people loose focus and the motivation suffers. In order to fix that use Objectives and Key Results (OKR), which is a popular technique for setting and communicating goals and results in organizations. It’s main goal is to connect company, team and personal objectives to measurable results, making people move together in right direction.

8. Not providing enough freedom

Everyone dislikes micromanaging bosses. 38% would rather do unpleasant activities, like opt for more work or sit next to someone who eats noisily, than sit next to their boss. The line between involved leadership and micromanaging is vague. But the fact is that employees who feel that they are watched all the time, perform at a lower level. In order to fix this, use methods or tools that help communicate employees progress and plans without you interfering all the time. What a nice coincidence, Weekdone does just that.

9. Not preparing properly for team meetings

Okay, we’ll admit it, team meetings are important, but wasting 3.8 hours a week on unproductive meetings, isn’t. By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. So next time you call together another meeting, remind yourself how an efficient team meeting should look like.

10. Not appreciating teams time

Your team is willing to work longer hours if they feel their time is not wasted. It’s not only you who is busy, but also your hard-working team. Taking all of this together, make sure your e-mails, meetings, objectives have a clear focus. Before setting up an appointment, sending yet another e-mail, communicating new information, makes sure its also valuable for the receiver.

Reflect on these guidelines and get ready to boost your team performance and motivation.

Weekdone gives insights into your team. Give it a go. It’s a weekly employee progress report for managers. An internal communication platform for teams. Always know co-workers’ plans and progress.

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