Your productivity is about more than just you. The people you rely on—and how you interact with them—heavily impact your effectiveness at the end of the day.
Law firms frequently put substantial effort into building a team with solid credentials and a stellar work ethic, but then they fail to maximize the abilities of team members both individually and collectively. You can leverage the work power at your law firm to build greater efficiency through synergized teamwork.
Your staff members want to be engaged. They want to be productive. They want to be challenged but not overwhelmed. In short, they want to be managed well.
You can cultivate a team culture that builds results. It starts on a wide base of trust. That base should be strong enough to support a layer of productive conflict. Remember that the ideas contributed by team members may be more effective than your ideas. Allow your staff to challenge your plans and demonstrate why they can offer a better option.
To cultivate team effectiveness, commit to your team, and expect members to do likewise. You stand or fall together. When each member of the team feels accountable for the success or failure of your project, then you have a true team effort where every team member contributes their best efforts. This produces top results.
Give Your Team FAST Feedback
Right or wrong, let them know. When you let your team members know what is working and what is not, you steer everyone on a path to greater productivity. You want to provide feedback that is FAST:
Try to meet regularly one-on-one with team members. You want to be able to address tasks while they are fresh in everyone’s minds. Even more important, when you provide specific feedback in a timely manner, you allow team members to make adjustments to improve efficiency. If you have only positive feedback, it’s still important to share it regularly. Positive reinforcement reduces stress and increases the desire to exceed expectations.
Be the Leader Your Team Deserves
Members of the team look to the leaders for clarity and direction for team effectiveness. When that is lacking, motivation takes an immediate dive, and productivity soon follows.
Train your team so that you can delegate responsibilities. Over time, the team will begin to self-manage and no longer seek guidance to solve routine problems.
You could start by asking your key staff members for suggestions about how to improve your delegation skills. The answers might surprise you.
Analyze and Explain
Identify the two ways your team functions most effectively, and acknowledge those successes. Provide feedback both individually and to the group as a whole.
Then identify the two ways your team functions least effectively. Don’t be afraid to ask team members how they think functioning can be improved. They might not all see the big picture, but their insights into how to improve individual components of a task can add up to a more productive outcome for everyone.
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