Leaders think this is something that they shouldn’t have to do. People “should be” consistent in their delivery with quality and timeliness.
Welcome to the real world. Underperforming teams often get assigned new leaders to turn them around.
So, what’s a leader to do? Often, their role isn’t just about tracking outputs, but more crucially, it’s about fostering an environment that breeds consistency and reliability. If you’re a leader striving for a more dependable team, here are strategies to ensure that your team consistently steps up to the plate.
Cultivating a Culture of Timeliness
Ensuring your team consistently delivers on time involves creating a culture where punctuality is valued.
- Set Clear Expectations: From the onset, clarify what’s expected in terms of deadlines. An informed team is more likely to produce results on time. If not are not sure how long something will take, negotiate with your team to come up with appropriate deadlines.
- Provide the Right Tools: Equip your team with time-management tools and resources. Whether it’s project management software like Trello or Asana, or training sessions on productivity techniques, the right tools can boost punctuality.
- Reward Timeliness: Recognizing and rewarding those who consistently meet or beat deadlines can set a positive example and motivate others.
Helping the Team Set Boundaries
Supporting your team in setting boundaries is essential to prevent burnout and to maintain the quality of work.
- Open Channels for Feedback: Encourage team members to communicate when they feel overwhelmed or when they believe the scope of a project is becoming unmanageable.
- Delegate Wisely: Understand the strengths and capacities of each team member. This allows for effective delegation, ensuring tasks are assigned to those best equipped to handle them.
- Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage your team to take breaks, avoid overextending themselves, and respect their time off. Research has shown that people that take real vacations have improved performance and a well-rested team is more likely to be consistent in their output.
Upholding the Importance of Keeping Commitments
A team that keeps its word is a team that earns trust across the board.
- Provide Training: Consider workshops or training sessions on subjects like commitment management or effective communication. Equipping your team with these skills can improve their reliability.
- Offer Support: If a team member is struggling to fulfill a commitment, intervene proactively. Whether it’s providing additional resources, adjusting timelines, or realigning tasks, your support can make a difference.
- Over Communicate: Leaders often get in trouble with a “one and done” communication philosophy. That leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation, confusion, and wasted time. Check-in with your team, make sure things are going well, help troubleshoot where needed, and ensure that you take their feedback into consideration.
Lead by Example
Throughout our Pathfinder modules, this is the number one thing that leaders need to do—go first. Lead by example. If you can’t keep your word, miss deadlines with no repercussions, have poor boundaries when taking on new projects, or don’t communicate when things are off track—it’s not fair to expect your team to do better. You need to lead by example.
If you struggle with some of those areas, being transparent about it, taking steps to address areas that need improvement, and asking for support is a great way to set an example.
As a manager, your influence extends beyond mere task allocation. By cultivating a culture of timeliness, helping your team set and respect boundaries, and emphasizing the importance of keeping commitments, you’re laying the groundwork for a consistently high-performing team. In doing so, you not only elevate your team’s professional reputation but also create an environment where trust, collaboration, and excellence thrive.