If I had a rupee for the number of times I have heard startup founders moan about the ineffectiveness of their team leads, I would have enough money to start my own venture fund (sheepish smile), myself included! So, how do we increase productivity in our teams? Well, here are three simple hacks that I have discovered to increase productivity & effectiveness for your team leads, that work, mostly!
Be clear about goals
I have led teams and I can vouch for the fact that the most confused people in any team meeting are often the founders / CEOs themselves. They want to do everything and they want it all done yesterday. That doesn’t work.
Understand that your Team Lead can only drive one clear agenda item at any one given time. Decide for yourself what that is, communicate it to the Team Lead in the presence of the team, set a measurable target and timeline for its achievement and then…most importantly…get the hell out of the way!
Don’t change the brief
Founders & CEOs are tempted by opportunities. That is the nature of the beast. Our real challenge is to ensure that these opportunities do not change the brief for the Team Lead. Once a team is focused and working on a target, it is like an arrow out of the bow. If you mess with it’s trajectory even one teeny-tiny bit, I can guarantee that it will miss the target. And how!!!
So resist the urge to tweak, improve, refine…(whatever the hell you want to call it) the brief. It will only do the opposite of what you want – which is to increase productivity. Cease. Desist. Keep them fingers to yourself.
Praise in public. Criticise in private.
Team leads need direction. Team leads also need to increase their productivity and effectiveness. But they also need frequent and effusive praise in public and gentle yet firm censure in private.
This is the toughest thing by far for CEOs/Founders to pull off. The temptation is to censure in public and praise in private because at some level deep down, we feel that it makes us look weak to appreciate people publicly & doing do will make us look like weak leaders that are easily satisfied. Not true. People work harder when they are praised, for if nothing, it gives them direction. And if your team leads slack off after being praised, well then, you know who to give their marching orders tomorrow.
These are things I am trying to practise on a daily basis. Not easy. But worth it. Hope this helps you too! Do drop in a quick comment and let me know how you liked it and your hacks!