When it comes to managing professional teams, maintaining a sense of cohesion and consistent productivity can be difficult. Especially if you’re dealing with remote or hybridised teams. Now that teams are becoming increasingly more dispersed physically and technologically, the need for fresh, creative team collaboration techniques grows higher.
In this post, we’ll go through some team management strategies so that you can help your team escape the unproductivity rut and emerge more unified, confident, and energised than before.
The challenge of modern team management
The global workforce has had to deal with more than its fair share of turbulence over the past few years. A rise in remote working culture has meant that employees are not spending as much time together, which can negatively impact team solidity. This makes team managers’ jobs much more complicated.
A recent business journal study found that while productivity levels have either increased or remained stable since the pandemic, things like innovation, creative thinking, and team collaboration have suffered.
The challenge facing most team managers today is that of bringing employees together and encouraging them to creatively problem solve and engage as one cohesive entity. To achieve this, some effective yet out-of-the-box collaboration and productivity strategies are needed.
10 Creative Team-Building Strategies To Try
If you’re a team leader seeking fresh, new ways to connect with employees and kick-start some creative solutions, you’ve come to the right place. Below are 10 actionable collaboration exercises designed to promote cooperation, innovation, and unique problem-solving in professional teams.
When it comes to team building, everyone should have a voice. You can get a lot more out of your team by encouraging employees of all ages, professions, and backgrounds to voice their opinions equally.
When it comes to thinking outside of the box, being inclusive is one of the best things you can do. Inclusivity breeds a healthier working environment, which leads to better collaboration, creative thinking, and team satisfaction.
Work backwards from your goal
This approach to problem solving encourages people to focus more on the outcome than the actual process. If your team is stuck in a rut, working backwards might help them see things from a new perspective. You can do this by writing down milestone tasks that start with the end goal and finish with the first action. Just keep breaking them down until there is a clear pathway in place.
Invest in collaboration tools
If your team is predominantly remote and therefore connected only via technology, high-functioning collaboration tools are essential for boosting productivity and communication. Some of the highest ranking collaboration tools in 2022 include:
- Microsoft 365
These tools are designed specifically to streamline communications between isolated employees and make the process of problem-solving much more effective.
You’ve probably heard of brain dumping, but have you heard of brain writing? This familiar method involves everyone writing down three ideas relating to a particular problem or project. Then, everyone goes around one by one and shares their ideas.
The aim here is not to come up with the best ideas ever (necessarily, at least), but rather to engage in a team activity that gets everyone’s ideas flowing. No matter how arbitrary or unusual they might seem.
Put a time limit on it
Sometimes, the best teamwork develops under pressure. If you’re managing a group of employees that are struggling to synchronise their thoughts and ideas, putting a project into a friendly but firm time limit can help kick-start some collaboration alchemy.
Clearly communicate goals and expectations
Clear communication should be the basis of any team manager’s approach to leadership in the workplace. Employees cannot really be expected to understand what’s required unlesss a deliberate and consistent effort is made to clarify it.
Communicating goals and expectations allows employees to not only perform at a higher level but also to work together more cohesively as a team. When your team inevitably experiences productivity or collaboration difficulties, reassess your communication strategies.
Figure storming is a relatively new brainstorming concept that’s catching on in the workplace. In the practice of figure storming, a team selects a well-known leader or admired public figure to embody in the process of creative problem solving or conceptualising fresh ideas.
For example, you could ask, “how would Steve Jobs approach this problem?” You and your team may be surprised how much easier it is to voice ideas when you think outside of your own mind.
Figure storming is an unusual yet fun and productive way to cycle through fresh ideas and approach problems with a new yet somewhat familiar perspective.
When any team leader wants to inspire motivation, using incentives is always an effective approach. Want employees to embrace a more active role in meetings? To see them learn how to track business expenses and solve budget problems? Or to upskill themselves in a way that benefits the team? Encourage and reward those who do.
These incentives can be anything from a bonus to extra time off, or special privileges such as more flexible working hours.
Encourage socialisation and extracurricular activities
For employees to do their best at work, they need to lead fulfilling and well-balanced lives. However, that’s not going to happen if they spend their lives chained to the desk.
Much of the time, employees struggle to balance fun and relaxation with work and productivity. But with encouragement from their leader, it may become easier for them to embrace healthy activities outside of work that boosts their confidence, give them energy, and promote a positive attitude.
Lead by example
When it comes down to it, employees will emulate and respond to the behavior of their leader. As a team manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your actions and words match up to your expectations of them. Remember to reflect on this as you strategise future projects and goals.
Managing a team of professional employees is no easy feat. But with the right tools, strategies, and techniques, collaboration and effective problem-solving can naturally develop.
Use these actionable tips to guide your leadership responsibilities and find fresh, out-of-the-box ideas to build a team that thrives in every way.