How to Create a More Productive and Effective Team

With 2017 just around the corner, you’re no doubt already planning your company goals for the New Year. If you’re hoping to bring your department to the next level, then you most likely understand you’ll need to first bring your team to the next level. Every leader who recognizes this regularly stays informed as to how to create more productive and more effective teams.

Performance indicators show that effective teams will almost always outperform people working individually, particularly in high-pressure situations or when multiple skillsets are needed. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as most organisations are recognizing the importance of team building and are trying to foster it in the workplace. However, building effective teams requires more than an abstract commitment to teamwork; it requires input from leaders and managers to foster it.

Here are 6 ways to build a productive and effective team in 2017:

Set values and goals for the team.

Create team values and goals, as well as a process for evaluating team performance alongside individual performance. Be sure to include your team in this process, so they know what’s required and agree with it.

Establish relationships with each of your employees.

Try to learn more about each member of your team, their skill sets, how they are motivated and their likes and dislikes. This knowledge is invaluable to leaders, as it allows them to match each employee’s expertise and competencies to specific problems, which will help increase their productivity and job satisfaction.

Build relationships between your employees.

As your team starts to cooperate more, examine the way they work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation and trust amongst the team. If there are any conflicts, try to resolve them amicably. Listen to both sides of the argument and act as a mediator. One way to do this is to brainstorm solutions together, which helps to empower your employees and may lead to new solutions to the problem.

Make room for autonomy.

Instead of delegating tasks, give your team’s open-ended projects and allow them to determine the best solution. This will encourage them to cooperate and develop problem solving skills. People love the feeling of autonomy in the workplace, and this kind of freedom will allow them to take ownership of projects and willingly go the extra mile.

Be generous with free time.

A few years ago, it came out that Google allowed its employees to spend 20% of their time on their own projects—ones that could potentially benefit the company. "This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner," wrote Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's founders. Of course, even so much as allowing your team longer breaks can do wonders for productivity, as it proves rejuvenating for the mind. When employees are treated with care and respect, they work more effectively and with more passion.

Implement training sessions.

Finally, don’t neglect opportunities to up-level your team through workplace seminars, lectures, and/or practical activities. Whether the focus is on mastering a skill or building communication, training sessions allow for engagement and collaboration, which ensures your team members come together in a productive manner.

Team building is one of the most important responsibilities a leader has. It isn’t something that can be achieved in a short time and then be forgotten, though. It is an ongoing organic process that you will have to facilitate and guide again and again.

As this process unfolds, however, your team members will begin to trust and support one another and share their skill sets and effort in order to more effectively and productively complete your organisation’s goals in the New Year.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.