5 Strategies For Creating New Productivity Habits In Your Project Team

5 Strategies For Creating New Productivity Habits In Your Project Team

As we head into the New Year, many people develop a long list of resolutions to put into place.

Resolutions are always about change; they are about putting things into your life that don’t already exist, and changing habits in such a way that they make your life better, such as losing weight, or making your life more productive, such as organizing your home and clearing out the “junk”. But resolutions don’t have to be on a personal level alone; why not take this time to build new productivity habits in your project team as well?

Studies show that almost half of our daily routines are spent performing habitual actions. If your team has been together for a while, they probably do many things out of routine more than because it’s the most efficient way possible. As a project leader, its your job to step back once in a while, and analyze your overall performance. Are you working the best way possible to allow innovation, and keep things moving at an optimal pace? Or are you getting bogged down in the “as-is” mentality when it comes to doing things just to get them done?

Make this New Year a time when you reevaluate your team’s productivity habits, and change things up a bit to set you on a new course for the coming months. Change is not something human nature enjoys; we all fight it along the way. In fact, research shows it can take up to 60 days on average to make a new habit stick. Here’s how to introduce new habits to your team, and how to make the transition smooth.

Lead By Example

Successful team leaders don’t issue orders and step aside; they lead by example. Have a clear vision of where you want to go and what you wish to achieve by implementing these new productivity habits. Set the tone for the project. Set expectations, and give your team updates to show how well you are working towards the goal as well. And when you have setbacks, don’t hide them from the team. Admit falling back to old, comfortable ways, and show your team how you personally overcame the setback.

Bring In The Support Team

Recognize the fact that in some cases, you may need additional support to make a change stick. You may need new software programs or apps to make your office more productive; that may mean training sessions to understand how the system works. Recognize what you and your team needs in order to make the most of your new direction.

Establish Structure and Strategy

Have you clearly defined what the change means to your team, your project, and your company? What are the implications if you don’t change? How will you hold people accountable? Change is difficult at all levels, but its even more difficult if you can’t understand the purpose of the change. In some cases, it may be easier to bring on a few team members who are natural leaders with a “get it done” attitude, and help them understand the strategy first. When you have more than one person on board, it can provide support for the people that are having a more difficult time. Support is everything when implementing change.

Act With Urgency

Remember, to bring a new habit into existence will take on average 60 days to make it stick. What are you doing each day to make sure you are on board with doing things the new way, and your team is following in your path? While you don’t want to hover and develop an “in your face” attitude, communicate and look for opportunities to share both your successes and setbacks with the process. Engage with the team and set timetables for meeting deadlines and overcoming hurdles. Possibly set up reward systems for when successes are met faster than expected. If you take the attitude that this is the direction, this is the future, with no turning back, your team will follow along.

Cultivate A Sense Of Ownership

It isn’t just you or your company that will win when change is brought on. It should also give your team members more flexibility and more freedom to grow as employees. People like learning new skills; it adds to their skill set and makes them more valuable as an employee. It can give them more opportunity to stretch and approach things in new ways. Throughout the change, listen to each team member’s opinions, questions and concerns. Don’t just map out how this is good for the company or the project, offer advice on how this will help a person expand their career goals. And when people see ways to improve or move forward in ways you may not have thought about, use that to help grow overall. At times of change, even the smallest of breakthroughs can have a big impact; use them to cultivate togetherness throughout the team.

Projects, teams and people succeed when change brings everyone together and on board in a manner they are comfortable with. Bringing on new productivity habits doesn’t have to be difficult; it just has to have purpose. Give that gift to your team this New Year, and watch how much you can accomplish in the coming year.

How To Build An Effective Team As A New Team Leader

How To Build An Effective Team As A New Team Leader

Nothing is more exciting than being promoted and put in charge of a new project. Yet after the excitement of the promotion wears off, overwhelm may quickly set in as you think about the journey ahead.

As a new team leader, your first order of business is to build an effective team. Whether the team came with your promotion, or your first task is selecting the perfect participants, where do you begin?

All roads lead to you.How To Build An Effective Team As A New Team Leader

As a team leader, your purpose is to lead a team as effectively as possible to its end purpose. The primary reason for forming a team is the combined skills and expertise of many can and should trump the contributions of individuals. The tighter the coordination, the more each team member provides his or her best, the more tasks stay on track and add to the end result, the more beneficial the outcome will be to all involved.

If a team works effectively, it’s easy to forget the team leader’s role in making it all happen. It runs that well.

Yet that doesn’t happen by accident. Team leaders have many challenges to overcome before the team can fulfill its purpose. Before a team can reach its goal, a team leader must:

1. Identify goals and objectives and effectively share them with team members.

The clearer you can define all aspects of the project, the more your team members will align with your thinking. Also keep in mind that the more on board your team is with the ultimate goal, the easier your job will be to keep everyone on task. Start with broad goals:

  • What is the purpose of this project?
  • What is the end result?

Then break it down into as much detail as possible.

  • What tasks are needed?
  • Who is the best person for each task?
  • What skills are needed?
  • How should the task be performed?
  • When should the task be completed to keep us on track?

The clearer you see the project, the more your team will as well.

2. Identify all resources needed and make sure they are easily at hand.

Resources come in all kinds of formats. You may need monetary resources, special training and education, specific tools for the job, or applications to help run things more competently.

Teams can’t be productive if they are waiting around for the right resource. The more you can anticipate the needs ahead of time, the more resources you can have in place as they are needed.

In some cases, you as the team leader may know what resources will be needed. In some cases, your team has a stronger idea of needs and requirements. Start an open dialog early to ensure your team has the essentials from day one.

3. Create clear assignments for each team member, providing the appropriate training when necessary.

One of the greatest challenges you can face as a team leader is hearing a member say, “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that”. Not only can it set the project back, it can also cause a rift amongst the team members.

Ensure that you clearly define each team member’s role before the project begins, and clarify tasks along the way. If something changes or moves off task, it’s your job to guide it back into place. If training is necessary, provide it.

You can also assess your own strengths and weaknesses along the way, and watch how they impact the team. If you have a weakness, find a mentor or even another team member that can help you stay on track.

4. Keep the team on track until the team finishes the task at hand.

Staying on task and controlling the outcome are all part of the process. In all cases, establish a metric to be used for measuring performance and outcomes. The clearer you can define each process, the more team members will be able to guide themselves towards the desired result.

As the team reaches milestones, and heads towards the completion of the project, consider rewards as well. Nothing says, “job well done” more than a leader recognizing the work of his team. Remember, you as a team leader only succeed if your team shines. Keep that as your ultimate goal, and you’re well on your way to success.