4 Science-backed Ways To Improve Team Performance 

When you become a manager, it is no longer just about you. Your team’s performance is what matters to your boss. And it is up to you to keep the group on track and to inspire them to move projects forward. It is also your job to encourage the team to get back up when they feel down or burned out.

But improving the group’s performance means more than a locker-room pep talk. If you ask, your peers might recommend throwing in some coaching and motivational tactics. Nearly every leader will give advice about perfecting the ways teams work. However, it’s often better to listen to science. Here are four science-backed methods to improve how your team functions.

1. Use Data Analytics

Source: online.hbs.edu

Big data may have become a bit of a buzzword, but there’s truth behind it. When used correctly, data analytics has the power to deliver insights humans have difficulties seeing. With so many sources of information, it’s only natural for people to shut some of them out. Anecdotal and perhaps biased viewpoints creep in, making decisions less likely to succeed.

But the beauty of big data is computerized tools aren’t as limited when analyzing information. Data analytics is built with scientific models in mind. These tools can objectively evaluate team performance by considering information from multiple sources. Analytics describes, diagnoses, and predicts performance-related issues. The models even recommend solutions based on existing data and business goals.

You can learn more about performance analytics through checking out Twostory.com, in your spare time. But for now, you don’t have to solve all the group’s problems alone. There are devices to help leaders determine what happened and why. Analytics tools also uncover what’s likely to happen if nothing changes and what adjustments will produce better results. With analytics, you don’t have to play the guessing game and waste time with solutions that don’t deliver.

2. Conduct Debrief Sessions

Source: afterburner.com

Debrief sessions are about looking back. Some organizations call them “lessons learned” recaps. But they involve gathering the team to discuss what went well with projects and what didn’t. It’s a chance to hear diverse perspectives based on individual roles and observations. Debrief sessions also let team members voice what they think the group should do differently on the next project.

Looking at past team initiatives and processes is more than an opportunity to reflect.

According to advancesinsimulation.biomedcentral.com clinical study revealed debriefings enhance team members’ performance. These sessions provide employees with helpful information, allowing them to adapt processes to improve outcomes. Debrief sessions also increase communication, strengthen teamwork, and provide emotional support.

At the same time, these sessions aren’t opportunities to air random grievances. They’re intentional, analytical discussions about processes. Facilitators typically direct debrief sessions according to a specific framework or script. Some models ask the group to describe successes and opportunities, while others incorporate individual assessment and feedback techniques. But the overall goal of applying experiential lessons to future initiatives is the same.

3. Discover Individual Workstyles

Source: projectmanager.com

A team gets work done as a group. Nonetheless, the group doesn’t exist without individuals. And each contributor has different ways of communicating, working, and collaborating. You might find some people prefer to brainstorm on the fly with teammates. Others like a methodical approach, taking time to come up with ideas by themselves before discussing them.

You won’t make much headway if you try to change someone’s personality and work style. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to develop the same strengths. Attempting this will probably backfire, stir up conflict, and lower performance. Yet, you can play to individual strengths by discovering how each person prefers to approach their work.

Some organizations have employees create “user manuals,” which describe their collaboration preferences and work styles. Many use official personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI. More than 88% of Fortune 500 companies use the MBTI. The test measures preferences like introversion versus extroversion and sensing versus intuition. Knowing how individuals prefer to communicate and break down tasks can help groups avoid impasses.

4. Create a Feedback Culture

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In fear-based cultures, employees keep their heads down and say yes to whatever the boss says. While this may create less friction in the short run, it can hurt performance. When teams aren’t empowered to make decisions about their work, it lowers their confidence. They’re less likely to stay engaged and more likely to hold back.

In other words, the best ideas won’t bubble to the surface. Communication will suffer, with teams hesitant about giving honest feedback. Employees may also attempt to hide mistakes in fear of potential consequences. The group won’t improve because they’re not getting realistic, complete feedback either.

If you want your team to get better, creating a more supportive, non-threatening culture is the way to go. Ideally, group members won’t be afraid to speak up when something needs to be said. That includes feedback about your actions as a leader. Teams can’t change what they don’t acknowledge, so it’s better to encourage open, frequent dialogue. Instead of waiting for someone to tell them what to do, team members can drive the conversation and build confidence.

Follow the Science

A fundamental tenet of leadership is helping others reach their potential. Your team counts on your direction and support to achieve their goals. However, leaders can’t simply use a flip-the-switch approach to boost performance. Information overload, competing demands, and human nature often get in the way of enhancing teamwork. Leaders who follow science-based performance improvement methods can help their teams make greater strides and work in sync.