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5 Questions To Improve Team Performance

Written by: Asha Ghosh, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Asha Ghosh

Has your team’s communication and cooperation been lack lustre? Does your team struggle to put in the extra effort to reach their goals? Are deadlines missed, quality not prioritised and actions not progressed in the way you hoped? As a leadership coach, I hear how clients list all these challenges and more when talking about their team. I witness the resignation when these leaders start to wonder if there is anything they can really do to make this team more communicative and collaborative. This article is for any leaders who has a desire for their team to reach their potential, but find themselves not knowing what to do next. I’ve compiled 5 key questions I use with leaders and their teams to stimulate the process of transformation.


people holding miniature figure together

1. How could you help your team gain greater clarity?

The effects of a lack of clarity can be quite profound on teams, I’ve experienced this as a leader and now working as a team coach, I've found that many teams can find themselves struggling with concentration on their core tasks, and can make snap and ineffective decisions that do not align with the goals or add little value to the overall project, when, they lack clarity. What I mean by clarity is each team member has a full understanding of; direction, strategy, plans, roles, responsibilities, accountability… Without this information what emerges from team members is a sense of uncertainty, and potential confusion resulting in ineffective conversations, focus and actions. Recently I worked with a business owner who uncovered, from exploring this question, the impact a lack of clarity was having on the team’s ability to perform. I shared these challenges in a recent blog post where the team was unintentionally unproductive. The leadergenuinely believed they’d established a sense of meaning around their goals, the reality however was the team was unsure resulting in tentative progress.


2. How do we as a team reflect the organisational values?

As leaders, we aspire for our team to be active in supporting and developing a working culture we all want to be a part of where values are aligned. By asking this question of the team we are asking the team to evaluate themselves and the team and in my experience, the answer can be quite challenging. Surprised. Unexpected. Shocked. These are words I’ve heard as feedback to this question from the leaders I work with, why? Leaders uncover misunderstanding, disconnect and sometimes a complete disregard for values. What I’ve witnessed working with teams is that people do not always connect their personal behaviours and attitudes as part of a team to the values of the organisation. Instead, there is a separation, a disconnect, or a complete misunderstanding. Yet values are set as a way to empower employees and to build cultures we want to be part of.

Although a tough question to ask the hard truths are an important reality check for leaders.


3. What gets in the way of connecting and collaborating together?

Collaboration and communication are key to our team’s success, yet it's often easier said than done. But by asking the team directly what is getting in the way – you are creating an opportunity for the team themselves to identify the barriers that are standing in the way of effective teamwork. I also remind leaders you are the role model in collaboration, how you respond and how you gather and instigate collaborative discussions is a powerful intervention for a lack of collaboration in teams, be honest with yourself too as to how you as a leader get in the way. I have developed a free workbook for leaders; ‘Unleash Your Team’s Potential’ that offers tools and techniques to help leaders see differences in teams, that they may not see in themselves so collaboration and connection can evolve.


4. How effectively do our team’s roles align?

It's easy for confusion and misunderstandings to arise, especially when you have a diverse group of personalities with varying communication styles, work ethics, hybrid working, etc. Open communication is key in ensuring everyone on the team understands and appreciates each other's roles and the unique strengths they bring to the table. Don’t be afraid of going backwards to go forwards, meaning I have witnessed how powerful it can be to ask team members to talk about how their roles align with others in the team; we’ve even mapped out connections, layered on information flow, process, frictions, working styles and even values. In such discoveries, aha moments, and oh sorry have emerged, because of unrecognised disconnect. It’s easier to put it down to personality clashes or just not communicating rather than something as fundamental as not understanding roles and responsibilities and the operational activities associated, this question can dispels the assumptions.


5. What are we as a team committed to?

Without buy-in and dedication to the end goal, even the most talented individuals can fall short. Taking the time to evaluate the commitment levels of your team, and make adjustments to your approach as a leader can be quite a hard truth to face, but very powerful. This question does create a lot of debate, because of the difference in people’s perspectives – so don’t be shy about asking this of people and listening again to some potential hard truths. For the team to engage with this question fully, you may need to ask the team how comfortable they are in sharing, how confident they are they can be honest and how they hope to share opinions in a way that benefits the team rather than detracts. This style of communication encourages each team member to consider their communication style and approach to honest feedback.


Underestimation of asking for clarity


Teams regularly find themselves with polarities in priorities, shifts in directions, and changes to the brief due to unexpected circumstances. As leaders we have to keep adapting to the changes at a business level, but so do our teams. What I came to realise as a leader and now as a coach is to take the time to ask questions of your team, as humans we tend to overestimate and assume without clarifying the impact of change enough for our teams. What I have observed, and it's been well documented in research, is clarity is like a north star keeping everyone on the path even if the path is a zigzag.


Don’t forget to download my free team workbook for leaders: Unleash Your Team Potential


Asha Ghosh Brainz Magazine
 

Asha Ghosh, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

My coaching programmes have already enabled senior professional women globally to unlock new levels of potential in themselves and their teams. Resulting in these professionals being able to lead, inspire and make bold decisions that not only support business objectives, but also allow leaders to find satisfaction within their home life, all underpinned by promoting a proactive approach to personal well-being.


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