Managers Must Review Goals to Improve Team Performance

BY Kathy Crosett
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If you’re promoting an employee into a management position, they’ll need all the help they can get. This is especially true if they are new to the department and the team members they’ll be supervising. They’ll need to know how their style works, or doesn’t work, when communicating with their employees. They’ll also need to review goals, both group and individual, to optimized team performance.

Work Styles and Reviewing Goals

To get a sense of how their style fits with employees in the group, managers can use a simulator to determine where disconnects may occur. Your simulator outcomes will be based on the results of personality assessments taken by you and your team members using a platform such as TeamTrait. If you notice that one of your employees values professional coaching, keep that detail in mind. You may not be naturally enthusiastic about developing your employees, but as a manager, it’s a key responsibility and something you should be providing.

In addition to monitoring your own progress toward goals, your team will perform better if you set goals for them. One error some managers make is giving the same goal to two employees. Unless you’ve specifically asked them to work together on the project, tensions will arise. To reduce friction, appoint one of the team members as being ultimately responsible for reviewing the goal and ultimately meeting the goal.

Your department may also be working on a group goal such as converting from type of reporting system to another.  Steve King, an adjunct professor of executive education at the Kellogg School and former executive vice president of human resources at Hewitt Associates, suggests being “clear, concise and specific with your comments” as you make assignments. When you first develop the department goal, each person should understand their part in making change happen. On a regular basis, you should track progress, revise the goal as necessary, and bring people together to discuss how it’s going. With enough positive reinforcement and coaching from you, team members can strengthen bonds with each other and the organization as they achieve a group goal.

How Groupthink Slows Goal Achievement

As much as teamwork is a key element for a well-​functioning company, there are times when individual thinking and contribution are required. Your predecessor may have done little to reduce groupthink on the team. If you’ve noticed some “dysfunctional dynamics,” it will be a challenge to induce change.

How does this dysfunction show up in a company? If team members don’t have a clear idea of what you want, they’ll be tempted to tell you what they think you want to know. This reaction will be especially true if they worry that they can’t trust you. They might have you pegged for a short-​timer and resist revealing that the latest product release would work better if they made the changes that you previously discouraged in your haste to achieve the group goal. The results of this dysfunction, says Leigh Thompson, at the Kellogg School, and Tanya Menon, Ohio State  University, is that organizations suffer from “squandered work time.”

When to Encourage Individual Contribution

Breaking up dysfunctional dynamics calls for unique and creative thinking. But that thinking might go against what’s traditionally been done at the company. If you suspect your team members are capable of making good suggestions but are holding back, you must do more than review goals.

To encourage change and flexible thinking, some organizations set meetings in a fresh or unusual location. In these locations, whether it’s a rarely used conference room or a coffee shop, let employees know that their ideas will not be held against them. The unfamiliar environment may tempt them to open up. It may take time to build this level of trust and for team members to feel safe around you and each other but you should keep working at it. You can improve outcomes by ensuring that nobody feels penalized for any suggestions they make. Praising the person who comes forward with an unusual idea is a good way to prove your point.

Throughout this process, remember to review goals to improve individual and team performance.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova at Pexels