How To Improve Your Team’s Efficiency and Productivity – 2015 –

Business leaders are all in the same boat, wondering how to keep employees motivated, productive, and engaged amid an uncertain economy and the new normal of remote work. Here’s the good news — I’ve got answers.

At Salesforce, I coordinate with over 20 teams in four time zones to work toward a shared common business goal. After years of study and practice, these are just a few of my favorite strategies to establish a steady workflow and sustained team unity.

Drive effectiveness and efficiency

In this video, a productivity expert shares proven methods to drive profitable results and help your team practice fresh thinking.

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Choose, hire, and lead a team that’s ready to collaborate

With the right people and the right environment for their growth and development, you can expect a lot from your team. Use these tips to surround yourself with hard-working, fast-thinking individuals working toward a common business goal:

Diversify your team

First, surround yourself with a diverse team. Diversity and inclusion have tremendous advantages in the workplace. A broader mix of colleagues with different backgrounds brings diversity of thought into the room. Some studies have even shown that companies with more diversity around the conference table are more productive and show a richer bottom line. Learn more about employee listening benefits.

Cultivate equality at work

Use our free learning tool, Trailhead, shows you how to bring more diversity and inclusion to your team.

Be an equality champion

Lead with gratitude, and share yours regularly

An attitude of gratitude goes a long way at the (virtual, or otherwise) office. I am often impressed by the efforts, ideas, and results produced by the people I work with, and I don’t keep that admiration to myself. Recognize your team members’ accomplishments either personally or publicly, and find out how each person likes to be recognized. Do they like gifts? An email to their manager? A more public shout out on a big team call? Customize their recognition to them.

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This practice gets the wheel of appreciation turning on your team and beyond. Set a weekly calendar reminder for yourself to show gratitude to a teammate. It’s human nature to want to be recognized for a job well done. Resentment can easily build up if good work is consistently overlooked.

Be authentic and vulnerable

I always thought that being a leader meant being as perfect as possible. I got a huge wakeup call from my team earlier this year with feedback that my authenticity and vulnerability were really low. I realized  they wanted me to be more human – to share my struggles and my failures. They wanted me to walk them through the hard steps I had to go through for a win, and they wanted to get to know me by sharing more of my personal life.

Perfectionism is scary, and it makes it hard for people to work with you. I opened up and it created a safer environment for the team to feel more comfortable speaking up. And the more they spoke up, the more they shared new ideas, and the more innovative and productive they became. I love this quote from Forbes and I refer to it often:

The perfectionistic, never see ’em sweat, A-gamers cause disconnection in others. Being able to balance your competency with your vulnerability makes you human, and creates a safe place for others. It also encourages strategic risk-taking and innovation, which are critical to excellence.

Prioritize well-being

To encourage your team to bring their whole selves to work, you have to create a space to speak to that whole person. Short reminders to breathe,  be mindful, and focus are a great way to break up the work day and encourage perspective, calm, and creativity. In addition to encouraging wellness days and taking time off as needed, kick off a meeting with a couple of minutes of meditation. Start things off with a quick team “temperature check” – red, yellow, or green – to gauge how they’re thinking, the struggles they may have, and their current stress levels.

Leaders should encourage their team to be their best selves. I’ve tried this exercise and it was very successful: Have each person write down personal wellness goals that are important to them. One of mine was to make a date night every Wednesday night; I also planned to make time for some stress-relieving exercise a few times a week. Encourage team members to write down what’s important to them to maintain their wellness. Make time for regular check-ins to help them keep those goals a priority and keep them on track. This is a great way to build accountability and team support while encouraging some really healthy habits.

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