After years of reporting on leadership and team management, we’ve created this report of our 15 best tips.
Inside this report, you’ll get 15 eye-opening tips on how to improve your leadership team management and motivate your employees. Read case studies of team-building exercises — what’s worked and what hasn’t.
Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #1
‘Hot’ tactics for heating up your team
“Hot teams” improvise, do more work with less supervision and make the extra effort to follow through.
Management consultant Laurence Haughton suggests six strategies for turning ordinary groups into hot teams. Among his advice, Haughton cautions managers not to become too rule-bound. Rules, intended to streamline and safeguard work, can hamstring your operation when common sense calls for exceptions. Before setting rules, ask if they’re really needed.
Get more of Haughton’s leadership team management advice on building “hot teams” in Best-Practices Leadership.
Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #2
Bring the off-site energy of team-building exercises back to the office
Lead an off-site event that leaves your team energized and focused:
1. Know when a team-building exercise is successful. How will you know if you’ve achieved your goal?
When Timberland Co. executives needed to revamp and add new products, they held an off-site event to jump-start things. They invited designers, engineers and marketers from the company to spend one week hashing it out, a process that normally takes years. Result: They met their goals. Says VP Doug Clark, “Having that concrete goal allowed us to walk the line between exploring creative flights of fancy and remaining results driven.”
2. Make sure the team-building exercise relates to solving a real problem.
During Ford’s off-site event, Carolyn Lantz, executive director of brand imaging, gave executives $50 each and put them on a bus to an Old Navy store. “I told them, ‘You have 20 minutes to find and purchase an outfit that you have to wear tomorrow. You are busy people looking for great design at a great price. Those are Ford’s customers.’” The exercise made a point: Ford’s products need to be well designed, but democratically priced.
Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #3
Fight off team complacency: 5 strategies for making team-building exercises part of your daily routine
Soon after a team forms, the excitement often peaks. Teammates dream of big accomplishments, set grandiose goals and promise to collaborate. But when the initial enthusiasm dies down, the spirited atmosphere fades and a more solemn routine emerges. Here’s how to step in and breathe new life into your team if this pattern unfolds at your workplace:
- Inject new blood. Invite a few high-energy types to join the team. Don’t put them in charge or they’ll threaten the team leader and the informal hierarchy that’s already formed. Instead, just ask them to lend their talents and revitalize the group.
- Tape the team. When a lethargic public speaker needs to liven up, a smart speech coach will videotape the individual’s presentation and play it back. By raising the speaker’s self-awareness, the tape serves as a training tool. The same goes when you want to jolt a team to rise to a higher level. Lecturing a team to improve might fall upon deaf ears, but a videotape of their meetings can show them just how listless they’ve become.
- Turn your team into trainers. Form a new team, and ask your current group to serve as an “advisory board” to it.
- Strip away routine. Study how a tired team got that way. Disrupt predictable patterns by having the group meet in new places (a nearby park, a client’s facility, your home) and work together in new ways.
- Host an outing. Invite the team to join you on a weekend hike or family picnic. Schedule fun activities so that participants get to know each other with their guard down.
Discover the five strategies that can help you reinvigorate your team and fight off complacency in Best-Practices Leadership.
Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #4
Is your team stuck? Get them unstuck with these team-building exercises.
Best-Practices Leadership: Team Management Tip #5
Joe Torre’s rules for bringing leadership, team building onto the field
Baseball manager Joe Torre has led far more diverse and ego-driven teams than most of us ever will. Yet, Torre’s teams have won repeatedly, thanks to these four “rules of straight communication” he has developed over the years:
- Remember that every player has a special need for one of these things: motivation, reassurance or technical help. Determine what that need is and meet it.
- Deliver tightly focused, positive messages, such as a quick word of praise for a good play. Simple words of appreciation are more powerful motivators than many leaders expect.
- Work hard to establish rapport with team members from backgrounds that are different from your own. It does take extra work, but the results can be extraordinary.
- Let team members know that you accept the full range of their emotions, including fear and uncertainty. Unless people admit their fear, they will never be able to confront obstacles and grow.