Team Up to Improve Team Productivity

by Holly McCarthy

I love to play racquetball, and if I’m allowed to blow my own trumpet a little, I’m pretty good at it. But I don’t know how I would perform in a team sport, because it’s a different ball game altogether – if even one member does not pull their weight, it’s a losing proposition. It’s easy to improve productivity in an individual, but when it comes to a team, it demands a more cohesive effort. It’s not enough if just a few people are efficient; what matters is the output of the entire team. Here’s how you can improve your team’s productivity when you find it flagging:

> Root out the weeds: When I say weeds, I’m referring to those people who are a part of your garden, but who don’t contribute in any way to its usefulness. In fact, they’re more of a hindrance by just their presence. Most teams have at least one member like this; they’re usually ignored and the rest of the team makes up for their unproductiveness by doing a little extra. But when the cumulative burden gets too much to bear, the stress starts to show, and there’s friction within the team. This leads to a decrease in productivity. It may be hard to remove members who don’t perform, but when it’s in the larger interest of the team, that’s exactly what needs to be done.

> Less talk, more action: I know meetings are a part of every organization’s daily schedules, but don’t call meetings just for the sake of them. There’s more to be gained in actually getting down doing the project rather than just talking about it. Lay more emphasis on the act rather than how you’re going to do it.

> Outline responsibilities: Make sure that each member of the team knows what’s expected of them and that they’re aware of their responsibilities. They may be part of a team, but they have their own tasks to do. This makes it difficult to pass the buck when something does go wrong.

> Don’t micromanage: The best way to kill productivity is to peer over someone’s shoulders when they’re working. So don’t supervise and inspect every tiny detail of your team’s work and make the feel jittery and uncomfortable when you’re around. Let them work the way they’re used to, and as long as you get the desired results in the desired time, that’s all you need to concern yourself with.

> Encourage creativity: You may have tried and tested methods to complete certain tasks, but if a team member comes up with an innovative idea that takes care of the same in less time and more easily, don’t dismiss it without a second thought. Innovation is the lifeblood of an organization, and the more you stimulate an employee’s creativity, the more you gain for your company. Your employees are motivated to think differently and provide new ideas to enhance productivity.

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject at She invites your feedback at

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