5 Strategies To Improve Your Underperforming Team
Let’s face it, being a business leader isn’t always a walk in the park.
Sometimes, it can feel like you’re the coach of a team that’s constantly losing with missed deadlines, angry customers and low productivity.
But what gives when your team is underperforming?
Trust me when I say, it’s likely not because your team members are slackers.
Instead, it could be down to your leadership skills, lack of clarity, inadequate training, poor resources, or simply a lack of motivation.
But don’t lose heart!
With the right strategies in place and some perseverance, your underperforming team can get on track and become a group of all-stars!
But first things first. Let’s address the elephant in the room.
As a leader, it is your job to take full responsibility for your team’s performance. So, if they’re not performing well, it’s likely you haven’t set them up for success.
So, let’s get into it, shall we?
Creating an awesome work environment is crucial in ensuring that your team members are happy and engaged in their work.
No one wants to work in a place that’s toxic, dull or uninspiring.
So as a leader, it’s important to evaluate the work environment you’ve created and ensure that it’s one in which your team members want to be.
Providing regular feedback and support to your team members is key to creating a positive work environment. Whether the feedback be about their strengths, areas for improvement or progress towards their goals, you are showing them you care about them and want to help them improve.
Listening to your team members is also important in creating an engaging and supportive work environment. As they are the ones actually doing the work every day, they may have valuable insights and ideas that can help improve the team’s performance.
Incorporating their feedback and ideas into your strategies not only shows that you value their input but also can lead to better outcomes for the team and the company.
Creating a fun, positive, supportive, and engaging work environment can boost morale and help your team members feel more connected to their work.
When team members feel valued, supported, and engaged, they are more likely to be motivated and productive in their work, which can ultimately lead to better results for the team and the company.
Purpose and Goals
Another super important aspect of leading a high-performing team is setting clear goals, expectations and purpose. It’s a total game-changer when it comes to leading a top-notch team.
I mean, can you imagine if your team members were just wandering around aimlessly, with no idea what they were supposed to be doing or why they were doing it?
Your team needs to know exactly what their roles and responsibilities are, as well as the priorities and timelines for each project to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
When people understand the purpose behind their tasks or goals, they are more likely to be engaged and invested in their work and feel like their contributions are meaningful.
On the other hand, if people don’t understand why they’re doing something, they may feel disconnected or demotivated, which can lead to poor performance, low morale, and high turnover.
So, in short, knowing the “why” behind their work is crucial for people to feel fulfilled and motivated in their jobs.
The next one is a kicker. Properly training your team and equipping them with the necessary skills and documented processes is essential for a few reasons.
Firstly, it ensures that they can perform their job to the best of their ability. By providing clear guidance and training, they are better equipped to do their job effectively and efficiently and are less likely to make mistakes that could impact productivity or quality.
Secondly, it helps to build a sense of confidence and competence, particularly with new hires.
If they feel like they have the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, they are more likely to feel empowered and motivated in their role, which can lead to better performance and job satisfaction.
Thirdly, proper training and procedures can save time and resources in the long run. By investing in training and documenting processes upfront, you can avoid costly mistakes and inefficiencies down the line, which can save time and money in the long term.
Being aware that everyone has their own unique learning style is also important. What works for one team member may not work for another. Some people may be visual learners, whilst others may be auditory or kinesthetic learners. It’s also important to note that many people learn through a combination of different learning styles.
If you’re interested in learning more about the different learning styles, I’ve shared a link by the Indeed Editorial Team: https://au.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/learning-styles-for-career-development
Up to date resources are critical to your team’s success.
Without the right resources, people may struggle to complete tasks efficiently, accurately or effectively, which can impact the quality of their work and the productivity of the team as a whole, leading to frustration and poor performance.
Imagine you’re expected to work on a project with a computer that is slow, crashes frequently, or lacks the necessary software to complete your tasks? It can make a job much more difficult and time-consuming.
Urgh…I get chills thinking about a team I led that supported a high-volume business, but we had limited resources.
Our mission was to remove the administrative burden from the business and ensure that they were running efficiently. However, the system we used for the business to log requests was extremely time-consuming to complete, and it was adding to the businesses’ workload.
The feedback we received was that it was quicker for the business to do the actual work than to fill out the form on the system.
This became a real problem for us, but we didn’t give up.
Instead, we made it our mission to continuously look for ways to improve the inefficiencies.
We started by removing certain questionnaires in the system, but we didn’t stop there.
We brainstormed and came up with innovative ways to make our processes more efficient, accurate, and helpful to the business.
We encouraged all team members to share their ideas, no matter how unusual they seemed.
Eventually, improving our processes became embedded in our culture.
We became a team that was always looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. And it paid off! The business saw the value in our efforts, and we were able to help them run more efficiently, all while making our jobs easier and more enjoyable.
You could also automate repetitive and mundane tasks that eat up time and energy, saving the team precious hours.
Tasks like data entry, sending out reminders, or processing paperwork can be essential, but they can also be a major time sink. This is where automation comes in.
Automating routine tasks can save you time and energy, allowing you to focus on more engaging and creative tasks that require your attention.
Plus, with the right tools in place, you can ensure that these tasks are completed accurately and consistently every time, without the risk of human error.
Another key benefit of automation is scalability. As your business grows and evolves, so do your operational needs. Automated tasks can be easily scaled up or down to accommodate changes in demand, without the need to hire additional staff or retrain existing ones.
By automating routine tasks, you can also improve your organisation’s efficiency and reduce costs. Let’s face it…manual labour can be expensive, and the time and resources required to complete these tasks can quickly add up. Automating these tasks can help you save money and allocate your resources more efficiently.
One team I led was responsible for handling new enquiries. The process was completely manual, and it would take one team member at least 30 minutes every morning to sort through and log these enquiries into the system. As the day progressed, more enquiries would come in, and the team member would spend more time dealing with them. The team was stretched thin, and there was no time for them to respond to all clients, which resulted in low client satisfaction.
Realising the inefficiency of the process, we decided to automate it. We created an automated system that would log all new enquiries, removing inaccuracies and duplicates. Not only did this significantly reduce the amount of time spent on the task, it also allowed team members to focus on speaking to clients and providing them with better service. The team was happier and more productive, and our clients were more satisfied than ever before.
Of course, there are always going to be tasks that require the ‘human touch’ and can’t be automated.
But by identifying which tasks can be automated and implementing the right tools and processes, you can create a more productive and engaging work environment for your team.
Last but not least, motivation is a game-changer.
Motivating your team is crucial as it can have a direct impact on their performance and job satisfaction.
When team members are motivated, they are more likely to be engaged in their work, take initiative, and be productive, which can ultimately lead to better results for the team and the business.
Motivated employees are more likely to feel satisfied with their job, less likely to resign and more likely to recommend the company as a great place to work to others.
An example could be creating opportunities for individual’s growth and development by providing programs, mentorship opportunities, or opportunities to work on challenging projects that allow team members to learn and grow in their roles.
By investing in the development of your team members, you are not only showing that you value their contributions but also providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed and grow within your company.
Another example is to celebrate the achievements and successes of your team members, whether big or small. It helps foster a positive and supportive work environment and motivates your team to continue to work hard and achieve their goals.
It could be as simple as publicly acknowledging a job well done or offering incentives such as bonuses or promotions for exceptional performance.
Back when I started working with a new team, we were struggling to get people to adopt our services. We needed to find a way to boost the adoption and get our team motivated. That’s when we came up with the idea of the ‘hat trick’.
Every Friday afternoon, we’d all gather in a meeting room and discuss the enquiries that came in that week. Our goal was to upsell our services and get people to sign up for all three services we offered – a ‘hat trick’. We worked hard all week to achieve this goal, and the anticipation built as Friday approached.
As soon as we had a ‘hat trick’, the entire team would erupt in cheers and high-fives. It was such a fun and exciting way to celebrate our successes and motivate each other to keep striving for more. Our weekly ‘hat trick’ tradition quickly became something we all looked forward to, and it definitely helped increase adoption of the team’s services and boost team morale.
So, there you have it!
Managing underperforming teams 101.
By taking a proactive and positive approach and addressing the underlying causes of underperformance, you can help your team overcome roadblocks and achieve their full potential.
And if you’re still having trouble, don’t worry, you can always reach out to us for some superhero-like help.