[This article was written by Dawn Castell.]
Managing a team at your office is a hard job. You have to make sure that all the employees complete their work, all customer complaints are handled properly and all team goals are met. Additionally, you need to keep your team motivated about your tasks, no matter how boring they may seem. This last responsibility is the most crucial one, because when people care about their work, they will do a better job. Follow these tips to improve your team’s productivity and concentration.
Limit Internet Use
Depending on your company’s purpose, your team might need to use computers. Even if they do not, almost all of your employees will have Internet access thanks to their phones. While people should be free to browse the Internet during their breaks if they choose, discourage the use of social media and games during work hours. Installing a secure web gateway can keep your company’s online information safer and help you to control the way people use the Internet on company time. People will probably complain if you set restrictions on when and how they can use their phones. However, this policy will reduce time lost to distractions and improve morale, since people will talk to their fellow team members more.
People enjoy competitions, particularly when things are boring. While some claim that competitions make people too excited to work well, if used properly, offering incentives can motivate people to work harder and more efficiently. For example, you might offer a small gift card to the person with the highest sales at the end of each month. You could also have your team compete with a comparable one within your company to build team unity. Before you offer an incentive, speak to your supervisor to find out if your company has any regulations governing competitions and whether you can offer things like vacation time and bonuses.
Show team members that you care about them outside of work by celebrating major life events and holidays. For example, you could have a winter holidays party at the end of work on a Friday where you provide food and drinks. These events help to build relationships between team members, who will then work more efficiently since they will have a better idea of how to communicate with each other. Make a point of knowing about milestone birthdays as well as personal events such as the births of children and grandchildren. Send employees a personal card or invite them to make an announcement to the rest of the team, if appropriate. Sharing personal events promotes a team spirit, which will help people focus on the team’s goals.
Don’t pretend that your team’s work is something that it is not. You can admit to your team that parts of the work are boring or that you’re not sure how you will figure out a problem. If people know that they can trust you to give them the true story, they will be more likely to alert you to developing issues. They also will respect you and the team as a whole more.
Know How to Communicate
While your team should care about your success, understand that they will not be interested in hearing every detail. Share a broad overview of the company’s or your team’s progress every other week or monthly, either in an email or in a short meeting. If you do have an in-person meeting, make sure it is purposeful. People will be more likely to attend and pay attention to meetings if they feel that they matter. If you think that your methods of communication are not working, circulate an anonymous survey to find out how your employees would prefer you speak with them.
Your team members’ focus and motivation directly affect your company’s profit and success. Don’t be afraid to try new ways to engage the team, and don’t let one failed idea prevent you from continuing.