Ensure Your Team Works Well Together

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article |Working as a Team|Ensure Your Team Works Well TogetherIf you are leading any kind of business, you need to be fully aware of the ways in which teams work, and make sure that those you are looking after are working together as best as they can. There are a lot of issues that might get in the way of a team working harmoniously, and it’s something that you are going to need to be aware of if you want your business to succeed in general. As long as the team is working as a unit, the work will be done much more effectively, and your business will benefit greatly from that. Let’s take a look at some of the things you might want to do to ensure that your teams are all working as well as they could be.

Lead Them Strongly

A good team requires a strong leader, so this is the first thing to make sure of if you are looking for your teams to work as well as possible together. If you feel that you have what it takes to be a strong leader, then you just need to work on the specific skills that will make you one. That will mean that you need to develop a general sense of confidence and magnetism, so that people will tend to follow you and appreciate what you say. You also have to have the required knowledge for the kind of work that you are expecting your team to carry out, so you can actually help them to do so with a great deal of understanding. A good leader is not afraid to get down and dirty in the work, but also knows how and when to delegate. It’s also vital that you can approach a basic reward and punishment scheme so that your employees know what you expect of them. As long as you can lead your teams strongly, you will know that you are probably getting the most out of them.

Share The Work

Nobody should feel as though they are carrying the weight of the team on their own shoulders. If anyone does feel this way, it certainly means that something has gone wrong somewhere, and as such you will need to find a way to make it fairer again. You need to make sure that you are sharing the work out amongst the people in the team as fairly as possible, paying special attention to anyone who might have particular skills and so on along the way. By sharing the work in this way, everyone will feel that they are treated equally, and you will be able to ensure that your team is working as well as it should. But how can you make sure that you are actually getting this right?

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article |Working as a Team|Ensure Your Team Works Well TogetherTo begin with, you should look into finding a way to plan shifts out easily and fairly. If you are struggling to plan out shifts, then it can easily mean that you are going to struggle to keep it fair, as it is hard to keep track of what is going on. That’s why something like Deputy’s shift planning app can be a great boost to a team, because it means that you can easily allocate shifts in a way which is fair and open to all, and that you can even allow team members to simply switch shifts amongst themselves if they need to. Not only does that make life easier for them in general, but it ensures that the work is being shared.

It’s not just about shifts, of course. You also need to make sure that the actual workload is being shared equally. The only way to really make sure of that is to find some way to quantify the work, and then you can just look at the basic arithmetic of it. Then if anyone has a complaint, you can go through it together mathematically and see what is going on with the workload. This is important for people to feel that they are being treated fairly.

Be Personable

Teams always work together much better if they are actually friends with each other, or at least can be civil in a basic way that you would expect in an adult workplace. For this reason, it’s good for you to set the example by always be sociable and personable with the people in your teams. That will set the trend, and hopefully people will get to know each other and then be able to work together much better for it. You might even help this process along by trying to organize a few social events with your work colleagues. That can make a huge difference to how well the teams work together.

Five Tips for Small Team Management

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Small Teams|Five Tips for Small Team ManagementIt is tempting to think that more manpower equates to more productivity at work. After all, jobs tend to get done right away when many working pieces are involved, right? That is not always the case.

In fact, studies now show that a smaller number of members in a team is linked to more engagement and accountability. At work, small teams tend to be more productive because leads can focus their time and attention to fewer members.

However, spearheading a small team is still no easy feat. Just like any organization, small teams also have their fair share of challenges. And it is in everyone’s best interest to keep even a small boat floating.

Here are five strategies on how you can bring in the best out of a small yet effective team:

Use time tracking tools

You can use a free time clock software to set deadlines and objectives to manage project time more effectively. Time management tools can assist you to keep track of your team’s work and any project advancement.

It provides you monitoring tools that can be used to record the time that is spent on assignments and projects, such as timesheets and project trackers. You no longer have to wonder where time is wasted and which projects are receiving a disproportionate amount of attention. This time, you now have objective evidence.

Communicate with the team effectively

Having effective communication skills is one of the key ingredients of a team with good governance. When you communicate well with your teammates, you minimize misunderstandings and encourage the exchange of ideas that can propel your team to success.

For first-time managers, this might be easier said than done. To start with, you must create a welcoming atmosphere where your team knows that their feedback and opinions are all valued. Encourage them to open up. In that way, no one can feel as though they do not have a chance to express.

Staff meetings are a good way to build an open communication line in your team. During assemblies, convey the messages that you want to impart with confidence. Your audience will not only hear what you are saying, they will also see and feel your enthusiasm.

Having a proactive behavior in every discussion will help your teammates retain the discussion better. And with better retention, you possibly get more valuable inputs from them.

After you have established good communication in your team, the process of setting expectations and goals in your tasks will most likely go by smoothly.

Encourage teamwork and collaboration

Teamwork or collaboration has a dramatic effect on organizational performance.

Just like establishing good communication, teamwork is not something that just appears out of thin air. It is hard work and dedication that create a culture of teamwork in the workplace. When there is collaboration, the tasks at hand become more fun and uncomplicated.

Effective collaboration does not mean delegating an equal amount of work among the team. It is about knowing and sorting out tasks properly according to the skills, interest, and availability of the members.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about teamwork:

  • Be informed about the team’s common goal and objective.
  • Learn when to ask for help, especially when you are in need of an inspiration or support.
  • Let your team know about the progress you are making.
  • Encourage the team to question things from all angles.
  • Appreciate the efforts of the team and celebrate achievements together.

Set realistic deadlines

It is easy to postpone work when you think you have all the time in the world to finish it. Without a sense of urgency, you can always switch to things that are more enjoyable than the work you are avoiding to get done.
To stop the team from postponing and avoiding work, set a realistic deadline that is near to the present. If you firmly believe that a task can be done in a week, direct the team to get it done in a week’s time. This will keep the team stay driven throughout the process.

Before you set deadlines, it is necessary that the team knows what is expected from them. Explain the objectives and goals in mind clearly so that you are on the same page with everyone in the team. Make sure that the team agrees to the deadlines that you set so that they would have a sense of accountability in everything they do.

Evaluate your team regularly

Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to identify whether or not a team is successful. But how do you repeat those successes?

Giving room for feedback can help you measure the effectiveness of your style of leadership. It will also give you the privilege of knowing if this specific leadership is well accepted by everyone in your team.

For personal and career development, it is important to regularly know each of your member’s strengths and weaknesses. An age-old aphorism goes, “a team is only as strong as its weakest link.” The team can either be brought down by the actions of an individual or be brought up by a particularly strong contributor.

Take the time to determine if a person is raising up or bringing down a team. Once you have identified the individuals, see if you can coach the other members of the team to take some of the same attitudes and practices.
Lastly, establish a baseline and clarify your definition of success so you can better judge and provide feedback on how successful your team is. Conducting regular evaluations significantly determines how great a team will be moving forward.

Final thoughts

The fundamentals of succeeding in managing small teams lie in the knowledge that managing these teams is just as hard as managing mid-sized or even bigger teams. People often believe that managing a small team is easier, but that is hardly ever the case.

At the end of the day, the success of a team is only just a reflection of the combined efforts of each individual in a team.

Things EVERY Employee Should Learn from You

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | Productivity | Things EVERY Employee Should Learn from YouIf you want to be an effective business owner and manager, then you really do need to take your employees under your wing. There are numerous things that your staff need to know above and beyond their job role and any associated skills they need to do that job well.

If you want to get the most out of your employees, which will boost your business to untold levels, here are some things every employee should learn from you as soon as possible after they are hired:

Exactly Why They Were Hired

Okay, so your average employee is going to have a rough idea of why they were hired; usually it’s because they meet the criteria and have the skills that you need for the role, but is that the only reason you hired them? Chances are you chose your employee very carefully and not just because they have experience in email marketing or customer service.

If you also hired your employee because they were extremely confident, you found their academic background to be very impressive or you were blown away by the creativity they showed in their application, tell them! Why? Quite simply because it will do wonders for their self-esteem and show them that you truly value them.

When employees feel that they are appreciated, they tend to be more loyal to the company, happier in their work, and best of all for you, more productive too. You don’t have to go all out to flatter them, but if they impressed you in some way, do let them know!

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | Productivity | Things EVERY Employee Should Learn from YouHow to Be Safe in the Workplace

In this day and age, you simply cannot hire someone new without teaching them how to be safe working in your business. Of course, although you should give them the basics, it may be a tad unrealistic for you to train them in all of the ways of health and safety. So, it makes sense for you to get an expert in to teach behavior-based safety, one to show how to use equipment safely and maybe even an occupational therapist to teach the health side of things, but YOU need to ensure that all of this information is in place to be learned as soon as possible. Fail to do this and you could have a serious problem on your hands.

How Clients Should be Treated

You wouldn’t have a business without your customers and clients who pay good money for the products/services you provide, so it really cannot be overstated just how important it is for you to teach your employees exactly how you expect them to treat your clients. You really need to lay out how they should be spoken to, looked after and related to if you want your business to succeed. If you can model the behavior you want to see when dealing with clients and employees, it is more likely to stick, so be a good boss, rather than one who is to be feared.

Teach them well and they will do amazing things for you!

What Your Team Needs Besides Money

The monetary compensation plays a big role in retaining your best employees and giving them good reason to give their job their all. But if you believe that’s all they need, you’re going to find more people leaving the team than you would like. There are deeper needs that you and even they might not recognize at first. Neglect them for too long, however, and those will serve as the reasons you can’t retain your staff.

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Employees have responsibilities for day-to-day work in their role, and they should know that. When it seems like the day-to-day involves nothing other than just running through a workload to no aim, however, that’s when people can get frustrated. Goal setting for employees, whether it’s collaboration toward a certain goal or simply improving productivity and efficiency can give them something important. It can give them something to aim at, so they don’t just feel like they’re standing still in their job. It’s also a good way to align their goals at work with the goals of the organization.


Beyond their work goals, you should consider your employee’s personal goals a little more. If they’re looking to progress in the company, see if you can bring out that leadership material. If their job requires expertise, help them build on it with training. If they have personal projects they want to tackle, then offer them time in the office environment to work on it. Make your leadership instrumental in their personal progress.


Let’s not pretend this relationship is all about what you can do for your team. Your team does plenty for you and showing that you acknowledge and value that is important. From simple thanks and an employee-of-the-month scheme to an awards dinner complete with award plaques. Showing real, verbal appreciation and offering a physical token of that appreciation shows that you truly value the team. It also gives you the opportunity to incentivize the behaviors that you consider most important in the workplace.


The work environment is most likely one of multiple people. Getting them cohesive and collaborative is important. Even for those like remote workers who aren’t in the physical environment. Improving the ways they communicate and organize, such as using project management tools, removes the barriers from that cohesion. You should also consider those corporate get-togethers as the opportunity to have people build rapport and relationships without the pressures of work exerting on them.


Speaking of those pressures, every workplace has them. But allowing a little more flexibility to your team can help them deal with said pressures a lot better. Everyone has ways that they work better. Flexibility helps them discover those ways. Whether it’s flexibility in time, location, dress code, method or otherwise. You have to think of what you can reasonably allow. Whatever you can allow, you should.

A better understanding of the human needs in your team is going to make you a better employer in every way. You’re going to retain them, keep them motivated, engaged, and even happy to work for you.

StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 15 – An Interview with Susan Bloch and Philip Whiteley, authors of How to Manage in a Flat World

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Special Edition 15 – An Interview with Susan Bloch and Philip Whiteley, authors of How to Manage in a Flat World explores the challenges and solutions to effectively managing multinational teams. During our discussion, Susan Bloch and Philip Whiteley, authors of How to Manage in a Flat World: 10 Strategies to Get Connected to Your Team Wherever They Are share their insights with us regarding:

  • overcoming communications challenges associated with geographic separation, time-zone differences, and cultural dissimilarities
  • leveraging cultural diversity to benefit the team and improve its outcomes
  • efficiently transitioning the team through its forming, storming, norming, and performing phases of development
  • providing feedback and performance reviews

Additional Information

Susan and Philip’s book, How to Manage in a Flat World, can be purchased by clicking here.

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About the Authors

Susan Bloch, co-author of How to Manage in a Flat World, has coached top teams in many of the FTSE100 and Fortune 500 companies across the globe over the past 20 years. A truly global citizen, she has lived and worked in five countries; South Africa, North America, Israel, the United Kingdom and India. She is currently Chief Learning Officer at the Aditya Birla Group. Prior to that she worked at Reliance Industries in the Retail Division, as Chief Culture Officer. Before coming to India she was Partner and Head of Thought Leadership at Whitehead Mann in London where she was operating as an executive coach, working with executive teams and conducting board effectiveness reviews. Previously she was global head of executive coaching for the Hay Group. A Chartered Psychologist, Susan has co-authored, How to Manage in a Flat World, Employability, and Complete Leadership (translated into Mandarin, Vietnamese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Greek) and has produced a number of research publications.

Philip Whiteley, co-author of How to Manage in a Flat World, is an author and journalist, specializing in management, particularly the areas of leadership, motivation, and strategic people management. He has written numerous articles for The Times, Personnel Today and Coaching at Work among other titles, and has appeared on BBC Newsnight discussing the portrayal of the workplace in the media. He is author of People Express, Motivation, Unshrink the People and Complete Leadership and his books have been translated into six languages. Now based in the UK, Philip has previously worked in Latin America.