Raising the performance of your team: where to focus

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7 areas that you can focus on to help team members accomplish their professional goals and improve their work performance.

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Photo credit: Christina Morillo

Being a team leader is never an easy task. You have to identify the potential in every team member, know the talent to assign which role or task, and support people of different backgrounds and personalities to collaborate. The productivity of the team, or lack of it, is entirely dependent on how good a leader you are. The good thing is that you can get the best of each talent in your team by helping team members accomplish great professional goals, and then convincing them to collaborate to achieve different sets of common goals. Here are 7 areas that you can focus on to help team members accomplish their professional goals and improve their work performance.

Professional development

Professional development encompasses everything a great professional needs to build an excellent career. Be very keen to identify employees who work very hard, who strive to be perfect in every role you assign them, and then earmark them for professional development and improvement. Sponsor them for further education, send them to represent you in high-level meetings so that they can gain more professional exposure, train them in new skills, mentor them through job shadowing, and allow them to attend relevant conferences and workshops to help them build professional networks of their own. These employees are more likely than not to repay you through hard work and unrelenting commitment to team goals.

Communication and collaboration

This is for both the high and poor performers. Train your employees to communicate effectively amongst themselves, with clients, and with other stakeholders. Emphasize on how they can and should be sensitive and respectful to sexual, racial, geographical, lingual, gender, age, and seniority diversity within the team. That sensitivity is critical to building positive relationships within the team. It is also important to encourage telecommunication in order to facilitate timely conversations and smooth flow of information.

Time management

Train employees to schedule tasks and set achievable timelines. That is because a worker who can estimate task lengths accurately and accomplish set timelines in good time will always have an easy time achieving his performance goals. You can even encourage team members with scheduling challenges to download scheduling apps and other time management tools. If they need to share large files, train employees to compress and archive files inside a single RAR file that is easy to send via mail. That means they don’t have to waste time sending multiple single files.

Conflict resolution

Sometimes frustrations will run high and team members will rise against one another. Sometimes a task will be too stressful and overwhelming to the point of causing tensions among team members. You cannot prevent that from happening because it is part of the human animal. The best you can do is train all team members to resolve their own disagreements in a respectful and mature way. You cannot count on you being there to put out the fires of conflict every time they erupt.

Listening objectively

Service providers receive negative feedback all the time, both formal and informal, especially from clients. Sometimes the criticism will come from you or from within the team. It doesn’t matter how hard you and your team works; there is always room for improvement, and people will gladly exploit that loophole to criticize. Sometimes the criticism is malicious, but most of the time there are lessons to be learnt from negative feedback. It is, therefore, good to shield your team from harsh criticism, but it is best to train them to accept both positive and negative feedback constructively. Train them to listen carefully and objectively so that they can become more skilled and effective at their job.

Customer service

Customer service is the ultimate test for your employees’ performance. It doesn’t matter how flawless a production process is; if your employees cannot interact respectfully and productively with clients, your company will always struggle to generate new business leads. Your revenue generation will always be below par. That is why you should hire a customer service coach to train employees on the best ways to handle difficult customer interactions. Note that this skill should be mandatory for everyone, not just customer care and sales reps.


Train employees to adjust quickly to changes in their work schedules because inconveniences are bound to happen in any workplace. Flexibility also means understanding that there are multiple, better ways of handling a task. Train employees not to be rigid when addressing a challenge, and instead be open to embracing divergent approaches.


Even the best employees have areas that they can improve on. Apart from the seven areas we have discussed above, it is important that you identify what you can enhance in individual team members to help them become better employees, and the weaknesses to avoid when assembling your team.

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