7 Top Tips for Leading Teams to Success
Few things in business feel as rewarding as leading a team to complete a project successfully. A smooth project boosts team morale, everyone’s skills, and most importantly, it delights the client.
But, we’ve all had some of ‘those projects’. The projects where each day brings another challenge to the table. The twists and turns projects take are inevitable but I’ve found if you start a project, applying the following tips, your team will be equipped to deliver a project successfully despite any hiccups that occur.
1. Pick the right team members
It’s an obvious move to pick the team with the most impressive skill sets, but there’s more to assess in your team than just technical expertise.
- How have they performed on past projects?
- How well do they work in teams?
- How will they cope if the project takes a turn for the worse – will they stay committed or will their heads drop when they’re faced with a challenge?
The perfect team consists of a mix of different personalities: you need problem solvers, creative thinkers, and leaders all united on the same page to keep each other accountable to balance the workload.
2. Clearly define each team member’s role
Taking the time to establish and assign each team members’ role will help your team hit the ‘Performing’ stage of the Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing model. Defining roles stamps out the growing pains that projects can face in their early stages – and throughout if your team plays the blame game.
The RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) model is a robust way to instil accountability and set team expectations.
3. Focus on what’s important
In planning what you’re going to do, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details and lose sight of what’s important. So ask yourself, what does success look like for this project? Specifically, what’s the ideal outcome we’d like to achieve?
Clearly defining your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from the start will validate the success (or failure) of your project. Plus, doing this helps you reach your goals faster while ensuring your efforts are working towards the outcome the client desires the most. Keeping a close eye on KPIs throughout, you’re far more likely to reach a successful and satisfying conclusion for both the client and yourself.
4. Set SMART goals
Your team may feel like they know what they’ve got to do, but it’s essential to iron out any misunderstandings that could derail your project later down the line. To stop this from happening, set SMART goals.
What does SMART stand for?
Taking the time to set SMART goals removes the confusion, uniting your team in knowing what they’re working towards, and how to track progress to ensure goals are achieved within the timeframe.
5. Plan meetings in advance and keep them brief
Whether you choose to have daily meetings or not, they need to be organised in advance to avoid interrupting your team’s flow and the project’s time. Considerate planning also gives team members time to think about any ideas and concerns they need to express.
Meetings don’t have to be long. In fact, many companies follow shorter, science-based meeting methods to conduct a productive meeting.
6. Embrace the unexpected
Situations occur, some expected, some not. No project goes exactly as planned. The unexpected situations that pop up will test your leadership skills and the strength of your team.
Make time for unexpected situations and relish them.
Break any news to your team in a calm way, explain the changes that need to be made, and they shouldn’t derail your progress or team spirit too much.
Document these changes and reassess your SMART goals. ‘Quick fixes’ and undocumented changes will only make the situation worse – putting undue pressure on the delivery team and potentially jeopardising your quality delivery. It’s worth considering how you’ll manage project changes with the team in advance.
7. Look back, listen and learn
It’s easy to move on to the next project without paying a second thought to what you’ve just achieved, as well as how you’ve achieved it.
Post-project reviews provide some of the best learning experiences for you and your team, as everyone will invariably have an opinion on what could/should have been done better – and not just on their own performance, but others’!
While the experience is still fresh in the mind, get into a room and openly share the experiences both good or bad. It’s easy to look back at the mistakes in a project, which can negatively overshadow all the positive aspects of a project that went well – so don’t forget to focus on that balance, and always give credit where it’s due.
Rob Verheul will speak more on this topic at the Talent2018: Skills Summit talk “Grow yourself to grow your business”, alongside Chris Ricketts, Director of Turn10 Consulting.Register now
About the author.
Rob Verheul, Managing Director of Graphite Digital
Rob is Managing Director at Graphite Digital, a Digital Product Agency in Brighton and London. He has led Graphite since 2009 and worked with Pfizer, BP, Costa and Uniqlo to help them to create brilliant digital experiences providing value for their businesses and customers. Rob is a 2017 BIMA 100 winner, and on the BIMA Young Talent Council focused on creating a pipeline of future innovators in all areas of digital to allow for growth in the digital sector in the years to come.