4 Ways to Improve Team Performance When Your People Aren’t the Problem


PUBLISHED: November 3, 2023
Employees sitting at a conference table listening to their boss speak, showing ways managers can create an environment where their team can thrive

There is often an over-emphasis on “finding the right people” for your team. While doing so is important, it’s actually just the beginning when building a high-performing group of individuals.

Once you’ve built an ideal team, you need to create an environment where it can thrive. Here are four tips to help you do that effectively:

1. Orchestrate digital transformation

Despite recognizing the value of digital transformation, most bosses only let it happen organically. They update equipment and build tech stacks in response to current needs or something gone wrong.

Leaders who want to improve the performance of their teams need to have a proactive and structured approach to digital transformation. McChrystal Group points out that though it may seem counterintuitive, it is essential for leaders to slow down and take the time to be deliberate with their tech.

The management consulting and leadership development firm states that the first step of digital transformation is determining the requirements your digital solutions need to meet. What are you trying to accomplish? Which tools can help you achieve this effectively?

Answering these initial questions can help you achieve digital transformation in a manner that’s deliberate, orchestrated and truly transformative.

2. Empower employees

You’ve found the perfect team, but are you utilizing everyone’s strengths to an optimal level? To bring out the most from even the best employees, you need to be willing to empower them to show up and show out.

This empowerment starts with a willingness to delegate. Too often, leaders struggle with letting go of tasks. To avoid micromanaging, Harvard Business Review suggests four different strategies for delegating:

  • Provide reasons to increase people’s understanding of a task and its importance.
  • Inspire commitment by explaining the vision, goals and potential results of a job well done.
  • Delegate to an appropriate degree by transferring responsibility and authority while remaining supportive and accountable.
  • Be selective about each task, only delegating when it makes sense.

Along with delegation, make sure you’ve clarified everyone’s roles across your team. By laying out who does what, you create a structure that everyone can follow as they interact and work together toward common goals.

3. Encourage authentic, inclusive leadership

Leaders must lead by example. They must be able to communicate and show how they want others to act. This is ground zero for helping your team perform well.

This kind of impactful leadership starts with authenticity and transparency. An effective leader knows how to maintain honest communication without excessive information.

For example, be honest about challenges your company might be facing. Don’t keep employees in the dark when you have important information that could affect their well-being.

At the same time, avoid crossing the line into gossiping and rumormongering. Only share pertinent and constructive details. Don’t sow the seeds of dissension.

Also, create space for a healthy feedback loop. Encourage your employees to share their thoughts—both positive and negative—about how your team is operating and how you are leading them.

4. Follow the data

While many people love to set goals, few want to check how they’re doing as they go along. The issue with creating objectives and then failing to keep them in mind is that you don’t know you’re off course until it’s too late.

If you set a six-month goal to boost revenue by 7%, you don’t want to find out that you’ve ticked up by only 3%—or worse, shrunk by 5%—when you hit the deadline. You need to track your team’s progress and check in on a regular basis.

The trick here is finding the tools and metrics that make tracking each objective possible. On the one hand, if you have a sales team attending a trade show next month, you might want to assess preparation for that event on a daily basis. On the other hand, if you have a marketing team investing in long-term SEO, Semrush recommends checking and adjusting various on-page factors monthly or even weekly.

Regardless of the circumstances, make sure you’re setting team performance metrics, reviewing regularly and making changes when needed.

Improving a strong team’s performance

Just because you have the right people doesn’t mean they’re going to perform. The best teams can end up rudderless without insightful leadership.

If your team is struggling to perform—and you know you have the best personnel on board—use the tips above to jumpstart your collective efforts. Orchestrate your digital transformation. Empower your employees by delegating tasks. Be an authentic leader. Follow the data.

If you can do that, you can enhance any team’s activities, even when you have the best people already in place.

All views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and are not endorsed by or reflective of SUCCESS. As a reader-supported publication, we may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.