Six ideas to improve team performance

Why does changing a manager in football so often improve the results of the team?

Chris Powell has recently taken over at Southend United following a run of 13 games and only 2 wins under the previous manager. On Saturday he managed his third game in charge and now has a record of played 3, won 3.

I interviewed Chris in 2012 and at that time he wasn’t enjoying such a successful period and I asked him how he would get the team to improve. His answer was to focus on the positives (you can see a short clip from the interview here) but what can businesses do if a team isn’t performing?

Taking the football approach of sacking the manager on a regular basis isn’t the way to go so here are six specific actions you can take to turn the team around.

1) Find reasons to praise. Too many managers keep correcting team members and pointing out what’s wrong, it is very rare for a team to get more wrong than right so ensure you keep highlighting the positives.

2) Use “we”………. a lot! You’re all part of the same team, you don’t succeed unless they do so accentuate that you’re in this together.

3) Ask their opinion. It isn’t a sign of weakness for a manager to seek the views of others, people like being asked what they think and will contribute more if they feel their input is being listened to.

4) Develop their skills. Sports teams spend more time practising than doing, the opposite is true in business so work out ways to improve people’s abilities while they are going about their daily tasks.

5) Make sure people actually know what the objective is. You’d be amazed at how many times the manager and the team have a different view of what success is.

6) Don’t take over. Completing the work for team members undermines their confidence, increases your workload and builds resentment.

Great managers work with their teams, they don’t view their team as a group of people who work for them. When it’s game time, sports team managers have to rely on their team to perform, their job depends on it, so trust is key to the relationship. If you show your team with your words and actions that you trust them you will have a far greater chance of success than those managers who cannot let go and micro manage.

This is just one example of how business can learn from sport when it comes to getting the best out of people. If you’d like to hear more then please get in touch on 07850 347491 or you can email me on