How to get quality output from your team members

They say that some things come naturally to some people but for the rest of us, we need education. Now if this is true and you want your team members to produce their best, then maybe you need to select wisely in the first place and, if necessary, educate your members to behave and perform in a certain way.

So in choosing your team you need to decide if you want members who have ideas or members who enact ideas. You could have both but there is a distinction here and choosing someone to carry out a task who is better suited to designing solutions could see your overall output suffer. Choose wisely and well.

Then having chosen your team, they need to read, understand and agree to the team rules. Sometimes this is called a charter but it is a guide of what you want to achieve and how you plan to do just that. Starting without this document is inviting trouble. What is the goal of the project? What are the rules of engagement? How will the team operate? What are your expectations around behaviors?

The business plan or project governance documents are of course essential and this should detail the processes within the project, state just who is responsible for these and who and how the processes will be monitored. Only when team members are rock solid in their knowledge of who is doing what and how their work will be assessed can the best outcomes be achieved. Any confusion about tasks and/or responsibility will reduce the overall quality of the outcome. So to date, the best and some would say the only way to get the best quality work from your members is to prepare extraordinarily well. The hardest work in any project can be the preparation.

Just setting up quality processes and governance in the beginning is not enough, encourage living these guidelines. Also things change as time goes on and so too should your guidelines.

Encourage ownership and spread responsibility for quality. If everyone is clear on what quality means then ensure everyone takes responsibility for quality outputs and behavior. This can be as simple as spreading the task of auditing quality around and regularly asking the team how we can make improvements.

And don’t forget that inspiring team members includes all staff including management if involved and especially the project manager. It’s a team effort and getting everyone to perform to their true potential is essential.

Three key ingredients to get the best from your team members are trust, respect and support. As mentioned at the beginning, some people are naturals when it comes to these aspects but the rest of us need education. You can teach people the meaning and certainly the value of trusting fellow workers. The same goes for support. Staff members need to see the value of support and have explained how they can support their colleagues. If all perform as instructed, this support has a snowball effect. It builds slowly so it becomes the natural thing to do. Members see the immediate benefit of such support and become more enthusiastic and more productive. It’s a win win situation for the company and the project.

Finally the best work comes from staff when they are clear about quality. Never settling for anything but the highest quality, knowing what it is and how to achieve it will see your team members operating in such a way to produce the best possible outcome.

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  2 comments for “How to get quality output from your team members

  1. John.Ruff@.autotrader..com
    February 22, 2012 at 2:38 am

    I use the project kickoff meeting to acomplish much of this. I est my expectations, have each team member describe their role on the project, review the project charter so everyone can describe their contribution. This helps to do a level set for the entire team and highlights any obvious gaps that need to be filled.

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