Great leaders understand one key truth: Human resources are just as important as financial and physical resources. Leaders don’t just need to know the ins and outs of their company’s organizational needs; they need to know how to build a high-performing team that can optimize their use of material resources to drive the company forward.
Especially in the traditionally competitive finance industry, optimizing the use of your team’s hard and soft skills can push your organization to new levels of success.
Not convinced? Here’s why team optimization matters as well as five mistakes leaders should avoid to help their team continuously improve.
Why Team Optimization Matters
When you foster a collaborative work culture, rather than just delegating tasks, you increase employee engagement. And as a Gallup poll shows, increased engagement leads to:
- 17% higher productivity
- 41% lower absenteeism
- 24% lower turnover
- 21% higher profitability
Here are three reasons why team optimization is crucial for any organization.
Team Optimization Helps a Firm Stay Competitive and Achieve Long-Term Success
When you optimize your use of your team’s hard and soft skills, you’re essentially aiming to turn your team into a “high-performance” team. When a team takes on the high-performance mindset, they learn to adopt important qualities, such as resilience and adaptability, as well as grit and courage; these qualities are all necessary for long-term success and competition.
Team Optimization Ensures Everyone Is Working Toward the Same Goals
When you’re simply delegating tasks without optimizing your resources, it’s easy to allow your team members to work in silos — independent and cut off from the greater needs and goals of the group.
When you foster an optimized team environment in which everyone works toward the same goals however, there’s a greater understanding of what high-quality work means for your organization, the standards to which you should hold your team members, and the standards to which your team members should hold themselves.
As this optimal culture evolves, you’ll also find it easier to identify areas where your team might need additional support, training, or resources in order to help drive continuous improvement over time.
Team Optimization Improves Team Members’ Focus, Efforts, and Efficiency
When leaders understand and address their team members’ needs, it can lead to higher job satisfaction, better morale, and increased motivation. These changes can lead to greater focus, efficiency, and productivity, and improve the overall company culture.
Another Gallup study found that, when team members feel that their needs are met (including needs related to career goals, community, finances, social engagement, and physical well-being), they’re twice as likely to adapt well to change and feel that their opinions matter at work. Similarly, a Deloitte study saw that 79% of those surveyed agreed that a sense of belonging in the workplace was vital to their organization’s success, while 93% said that sense of belonging drove organizational performance.
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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Team
Clearly, building an outstanding team is crucial for the success of any organization. However, there are five common mistakes leaders make when striving to build efficient, effective teams that produce results.
Making these mistakes can negatively impact your team’s morale, mindset, and productivity. So, here’s what you want to avoid:
1. Failing to Understand Your Organizational and Team Needs
Before you can fulfill your teams’ needs, you must understand your organizational needs and how those needs intersect. Once you understand what each one requires for optimal success, you can balance the two appropriately.
To identify and develop an understanding of these needs, create a culture of open discussion and communication surrounding challenges and areas of improvement. Once you have a better understanding of your team and organizational needs, you can build a high-performing team that drives your company’s success.
2. Neglecting to Balance Strengths and Weaknesses
By neglecting to balance the strengths and weaknesses of your team, you may begin to unevenly distribute the workload and ultimately impede your team’s performance. By honestly identifying where your team is strong and where they need improvement, you can take steps to address any gaps and ensure that everyone is contributing to their fullest potential. This strategy not only improves overall team performance but can also lead team members who may have been struggling in areas where they may not be as strong to experience increased job satisfaction and motivation.
3. Failing to Identify Roles that Fill Existing Needs
It’s important you identify roles that can fill existing needs to ensure your team members have the necessary resources and support to effectively carry out their responsibilities.
By identifying the specific roles and support needed, you can avoid unnecessary bottlenecks, frustration, and wasted resources and improve efficiency.
4. Overlooking Skills
As you identify and allocate the resources necessary to fill team needs, consider both hard (technical) and soft (interpersonal) skills before just moving existing talent into a new, supporting role. Do you need to hire new talent to support your teams’ needs? Or does someone on your staff currently have the skills required to fill a need? By not taking the time to assess and address the skills your team needs to complete the project at hand, you risk allocating resources in the wrong areas, which can lead to lower productivity and efficiency.
As you consider skills, make sure team members are given the opportunity to not just do what they’re best at, but what they love as well, for greater job satisfaction and efficiency.
5. Not Outsourcing When It’s a Better Option
Don’t limit your team’s potential by restricting yourself to in-house resources. In some cases, outsourcing can be a more efficient and cost-effective option for success. If you don’t have on-staff resources to fill your team’s existing needs, but also don’t really think you need full-time, on-staff talent to help with those needs, consider outsourcing. (You can use a decision matrix to help you better understand your outsourcing needs).
The Bottom Line
Building an outstanding team is crucial for the success of any organization — but it’s not always easy. Leaders can make common mistakes that hinder team performance and productivity.
That’s why it’s essential for leaders to prioritize the needs of both their teams and their organizations, and balance hard and soft skills, to achieve optimal team performance and drive success.
Ready to take the next step in your leadership journey? Take our quick leadership assessment to learn more about your individual leadership style and how you can elevate your leadership skills to, in turn, elevate your team.