One of the biggest challenges for any company is to ensure that everyone works well together in a team.
So how can a company maintain and enhance its team productivity?
The key to creating a productive team lies in team culture and, most importantly, understanding what motivates each person in the team to work well.
What motivates one person in the team may not be of much help for the entire team, since people have different motivations.
Individualism, culture, beliefs, and values, among other motivators, are inherent in each of us and different people have varying needs when it comes to interacting with other people.
Understanding each person’s motivations will help in determining a relationship that may need to be created, strengthened, or even broken.
Research suggests that several factors determine team productivity
A team’s culture, as well as the dynamics of the team members’ relationships with each other, can have a direct bearing on its success or failure.
The following are some of the factors that can impact a team’s productivity:
Internal and external motivation
Internal motivation comes from within the individual and works well with the alignment of expectations and desired behaviors from an individual.
For example, managers can set high expectations for an employee and keep tabs on the employee’s performance.
This ensures that the employee stays motivated by showing that his/her performance is being monitored and that he/she is meeting his/her targets.
This type of motivation works well with an individual’s preferences and motivates him/her to work harder to reach his/her goals.
On the other hand, external motivation comes from outside of an individual
It works for individuals who have a demanding lifestyle and are always on the move, have no control over the people around them, or people who are used to getting what they want and expect the same from other people.
External motivation works well with an individual whose needs and motivators are varied and dynamic.
Another interesting aspect of team culture is its direct impact on an individual’s external motivation.
An individual may not care about the company culture that surrounds him/her, but when he/she sees that others in his team have different values, values are likely to change in this individual’s mind.
His external motivators may also alter as he/she learns from his/her colleagues in how the other team members work, communicate, and interact.
A ‘team culture’ that is used and followed, is likely to have the same effects on the environment that surrounds the team as it does on the team itself.
This can have a positive impact on team culture.
Each team should have a clearly articulated team culture, which everyone within the team is aware of
This culture should establish and reinforce several specific behaviors and expectations of the team, as well as the values and behavior expected of each team member.
It should also provide clear guidelines for interactions and relationship-building within the team.
Communication is often a vital part of a team’s culture and must be the constant activity to have a positive impact on a team’s productivity.
The interaction between people can have an impact on the way they think.
Peer influence is a group factor that, if utilized appropriately, can have a positive impact on a team’s productivity.
Peer influence should be used to enhance learning and further enhance relationships within a team.
In the context of team productivity, peer influence is applied to strengthen teamwork among members and boost the performance of the team.
It is best utilized through a framework of a feedback mechanism that works as a guideline that each team member applies to their individual and group efforts.
This feedback mechanism must include a mix of constructive criticism and encouragement.
No team can stay in the same position for long if it is to become more productive. A team that is undergoing dynamic change is growing and developing.
This type of culture thrives on flexibility and collaboration. Since teams experience change on an almost daily basis, leaders have to create a dynamic environment that facilitates such change and growth.
Dynamic teams can also change their attitude and values frequently, and this requires a healthy respect for the changing attitudes and needs of the team.
Leaders need to recognize and keep track of such changes. This is particularly true for teams dealing with new technologies, products, or other rapidly evolving business needs.
This process of growth requires leaders to encourage and enable dynamic teams to come together and understand their own limitations.
A team’s culture can influence the way that its members interact with one another. This, in turn, can affect the way that the team functions.
A ‘successful’ team culture that takes into account the needs of each individual can create a dynamic team that is more productive, effective, and even a happier place to work.