The third foundation for an effective team is support. This includes maintaining a reward system that reinforces good performance, providing the team with the resources and information that they need to do the job, as well as providing training and coaching to help team members build their knowledge and skills and overcome issues and challenges faced on-the-job.
Rewards and incentives
Rewards and incentives refer to the monetary and non-monetary rewards that you provide to your team to recognise and reward their achievements. Research has shown that when teams are incentivised to achieve, performance increases as much as 48%.
Types of incentives
There are three types of incentives, all of which have been shown to increase performance to varying degrees:
- Monetary - e.g. cash, share options.
- Non-monetary (tangible) - e.g. meals, holidays, movie tickets.
- Non-monetary (intangible) - e.g. recognition and praise, work opportunities.
Team vs. individual incentives
There has been a lot of debate over whether it is better to reward individual team members based on their individual performance or to reward the team as a whole. Research has shown that team incentives result in a significantly higher performance improvement over individual incentives - almost 30%.
However, team incentives can also lead to 'social loafing', where some team members put in less effort than they would if they were being individually assessed and rewarded.
The good news is that the potential for social loafing can largely be eliminated by ensuring that the contributions of each individual is still assessed, even though the team is rewarded as a whole. So opt for team incentives, but make sure you hold each individual team member accountable for their contributions.
Resources and information
A lack of resources can be a major constraint that holds teams back from optimal performance. If a team does not have the basic materials and equipment to do their jobs effectively, it is very difficult for them to succeed without compromising the quality, quantity and/or timeliness of their work.
On the other hand, over-resourcing a team is an inefficient allocation of resources - those excess resources could be put to good use somewhere else.
The challenge is finding the balance. You don't want your team to be under-resourced to the point that they cannot do their jobs properly, but you also don't want them to be over-resourced so that they can afford to be lazy and complacent - they should have to prioritise, compromise, and find ways to do more with less.
Another major constraint is a lack of information. In order to be optimally effective, teams need to have access to job-relevant information (e.g. plans, documents, reports) and they need to be kept informed of any changes in the environment so they are not caught off-guard.
Coaching and training
One of the aspects of an effective team is that team members grow and develop over time as a result of being part of the team.
In order to facilitate that development, it is important that team members have access to the support that they need to build their knowledge and skills and overcome issues and challenges on-the-job, whether it be through formal training sessions, or on-the-job development.
Training is about building fundamental knowledge and skills and it is a very important first step in the development process. Training can take many forms, but there are two main types:
- Formal training - this is generally facilitator-led training including development programs, induction programs, one-day workshops etc.
- Informal (on-the-job) training - this is where the team leader (or other team members) pass on knowledge and skills in an informal, unstructured manner.
Coaching is about helping team members to reach their full potential through guidance and reflection. It is not about telling them what to do or how to do it, but asking targeted questions to encourage them to reflect on issues and help them with their own self-discovery.
A good model to use when coaching is the GROW model. It is a tool that you can use to structure a coaching session and in turn assist the person being coached to see a logical process for overcoming current issues.
- Goal - establish what outcome or goal your team member wants to achieve. For example, developing a new skill or moving into an expanded role.
- Reality - explore the current reality and the desired reality of the outcome/goal they wish to achieve.
- Options/obstacles - determine the options for reaching the goal or outcome, and any obstacles that might stand in the way. It is important that you allow your team member to come up with the options and only offer your suggestions after they have exhausted theirs.
- Way forward - put together some action steps to move forward and achieve the goal, as well as clarifying expectations. Make sure you clarify how often you plan to meet to review progress and what you expect to see by the next meeting.