11 key indicators of good team performance
How well do your teams perform? Take some advice from Liz Bennett from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
There are 11 key indicators to consider when completing a comprehensive evaluation of your teams performance, enabling you to build the firm foundations required for creating an efficient and effective team:
Understanding of roles
Teams perform best when there is division of labour and each person specialises in the tasks they are most efficient at. While ideally people will sit in a job role where each individual holds comparative advantage in performing the tasks they are given, sometimes work will need to be redistributed across the team too. Through better understanding of both your own and others’ job roles, this can help with knowing where tasks can be allocated and who is best to ask for assistance with collaborative tasks.
Purpose and objectives
If a team is to work together in a cohesive manner, it is fundamental that the overall purpose of the team is communicated well by the team leader and is understood by each team member. Each team member should understand their specific role in contributing to overarching goals and there should be a sense that everyone is pulling in the same direction. To ensure that the objectives of the team are being met, an appropriate balance must be struck between time spent planning and time spent doing.
Every individual in a workforce should feel comfortable discussing work-related issues with other team members to assist in resolving these issues. It is essential that team members’ concerns aren’t avoided due to a lack of trust between team members and that problems aren’t confronted due to communication issues. If some employees feel a degree of distrust within the team, there are likely to be mistakes and issues covered up to avoid conflict.
Communication and relationships
Every member of a workforce should feel confident when co-operating and communicating with other people in their team. This is particularly important when the pressure is on. Strong team performance in this area requires effective information sharing in every aspect of the work process. It is also important that information is shared between team members in a helpful and timely manner, not just according to deadlines and requests. Another important aspect of communication is that team members make time to listen to one another and are able to offer guidance and assistance when it is necessary. Furthermore, a team performing well in communication and relationships will share feedback with one another when necessary and this feedback will be received in a constructive way.
Is the team open to change? Are opportunities for new ideas and approaches missed, or identified too late? Team members should feel comfortable when challenging the status quo in the workplace in order to drive beneficial changes and contribute to a culture of continuous improvement. A business should be able to determine when it is necessary to take risks and when it is more appropriate to stick to a stable and proven approach to tasks. Training is also essential to equip team members with the tools to adapt to challenges that they may face. In addition, team performance can also be measured in how the team are able to adapt as a whole to take on new challenges that they face.
A well-performing team includes effective communication channels within the group, as well as with other teams within the business. It is important to review how well each team understands their – and other teams’ - roles in the organisation as a whole. Furthermore, teams should be willing to assist in other departments where necessary. The team’s image should also be reviewed. This includes their image within the organisation and that which is given to customers and external parties. A team should also use customer feedback effectively to strengthen the team’s image and relationships.
Good leadership can motivate and empower a team, where poor leadership can be a massive hindrance. A leader should offer the appropriate mix of support and direction, while providing the necessary degree of flexibility in leadership style. Communication from leader to team is also a good gauge of team performance. It is important to ask certain questions regarding the style of leadership within a team. The main thing to ask is: does the team leader offer frequent, open and relevant communication with all team members?
Processes must progress and evolve over time, as well as acting as a reliable and consistent driver of high performance. All team members should be able to contribute to decision-making, while the point of work processes should be clear to all team members, without seeming bureaucratic or unhelpful.
You can start by asking two key questions: are we delivering the necessary quality of work and are we delivering the necessary quantity? It is also important to keep results against set targets at the front of mind, as well as customer feedback. The final important aspect is individual productivity and to determine whether each member is taking accountability and responsibility for their contribution to the team.
High morale encompasses a sense of community and togetherness, as well as a spirit of positivity and happiness within the workplace. Strong morale can pull a business through challenging times with minimal stress, as well as bridging the gap between manager and employee, and ensuring that work can be a fun and enjoyable experience.
Equipping team members with the tools and resources they need to carry out their roles ensures that they are empowered to the highest possible level. Team members should be able to make and implement decisions within the remit of their role and should be constantly progressing, as well as contributing to decisions effecting the entire team. All workers should be allowed the correct balance of supervision and freedom to act, in order to ensure that they are empowered, without working outside of their own capabilities.
Liz Bennett is a trainer and coach at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847 and has some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books. It is one of the fastest growing professional engineering institutions. Headquartered in London, they have operations around the world and over 111,000 members in more than 140 countries working at the heart of the most important and dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries