10 Ways to Improve Your Team Performance

Dave Cherrie
October 26, 2022

Good leaders are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve team performance. When each individual’s skills pair with others’, high-performing teams pave the way to reaching goals and beyond.

But how do you help a sales team that doesn’t work well together? And what about sales teams that already jive — how do you incentivize them to reach the next level?

It all comes down to a handful of best practices, like avoiding micromanagement, providing a safe space for failure (and learning), and transparent communication. Here’s what every sales leader should know about improving their team’s performance and effectiveness.

What makes good team performance?

It might seem like finding the right people and personalities creates good team performance, but other qualities have far greater influence on whether your team excels or not.

These qualities include:

  • Respect and patience for one another
  • Common team goals that align with overall company goals
  • Transparent communication
  • Willingness to learn and grow
  • Celebrating wins and learning from failures

Why is team performance important?

It’s probably fairly evident why your team’s performance matters. After all, when you lead an effective team, goals are easily achieved, and morale stays high. 

But did you know there are other benefits to good team performance? They include:

  • Improved teamwork
  • Increased team productivity
  • Better profitability
  • Boosted individual and team growth

What influences team performance?

Of all the factors that influence team performance, communication is perhaps the most important.

Without transparent communication, team leaders can’t effectively share a vision. Feedback is stunted, which in turn affects growth. And trust is also negatively impacted.

Clear communication also allows sales managers to delegate effectively and avoid micromanagement. You can trust that your sales reps and appointed team leads will take care of problem-solving when issues arise and communicate with you if they can’t.

Also critical to team performance is the ability of a sales manager to lead by example. In a way, this also falls under clear communication. If you talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, you’re effectively communicating to your team that your words carry no weight.

How to improve your team performance

1. Don’t micromanage

According to Daniel Sanchez Reina, VP analyst at Gartner, micromanagement undermines a team’s confidence, creativity, and growth. 

If you’re concerned you might be leaning toward micromanagement, Reina advises you to reflect on some of the following questions:

  • Do I add value to my team by supervising?
  • Does this product, service, or outcome need to be perfect?
  • Does this task need to be done my way, or can I allow my team to find their own way?

Let your team push themselves toward goals. One way to encourage this is to turn your sales goals into a game. Public leaderboards, like Arcade’s, can incentivize your team to keep tabs on their progress, push hard to catch up to others, and celebrate team wins together.

2. Share and invite feedback

Emotionally intelligent leaders are a huge benefit to their teams because they excel at sharing feedback and accepting it as well.

Sharing feedback is critical because it allows your sales reps to correct negative behaviors, double down on positive traits, and get a clear idea of how their individual performance measures up. By sharing feedback, you create coaching opportunities and potentially incentivize your team members to pursue personal training.

When giving feedback, make sure you personalize your method of delivery and the information you share to the individual. 

Inviting and accepting feedback not only shows that you’re open to two-way communication, but it also gives you an opportunity for personal growth. Accepting critiques and praise broadens your perspective and shows your team that you value their input.

And don’t forget that you should separate yourself from the work you’re receiving feedback on. Taking feedback personally won’t benefit anyone, but a growth mindset that approaches feedback as an opportunity to grow can propel your career and your team’s success.

3. Learn how to delegate

Delegating, or moving tasks from your plate to anothers' is critical to enhance your team’s performance and develop their decision-making skills. 

Sometimes it’s difficult for leaders to let go of work. New managers, in particular, may hesitate to let someone take over a project or task because they’ve been personally responsible for the work handed to them for so long. While you may have been the one taking care of day-to-day work as an individual contributor, you're now responsible for a team rather than tasks. 

If you find it difficult to delegate work to your team, try letting go of small tasks first. This helps you practice the art of delegation and lets your team practice tackling these types of projects. It also gives you a better idea of your team’s capabilities. Once you feel ready, start handing out larger projects.

4. Share a vision

A shared vision positively impacts your team’s culture and can lead to new growth and opportunities, according to Enrico Palmerino, a member of the Forbes Finance Council. 

A clear and compelling vision can also attract motivated team members who resonate with the direction you’ve set. This means these team members are more likely to stick with your company thanks to improved employee engagement. 

To create a motivating vision for your team, consider the following elements: 

  1. Purpose: Why does your team exist? How will you add value and make a difference?
  2. Future: What does the future look like for your team? How will you get there, and what are your target outcomes?
  3. Tools: What tools, behaviors, and actions do you need to achieve your target outcome? 

5. Be transparent

Transparent team communication builds trust and a culture of authenticity. If your team faces challenges, don’t beat around the bush or deny them. Instead, provide a clear message about the current situation and what the team can do to resolve any issues. 

And although it’s easier to share good news, don’t overblow it. Remain transparent about the impact of your team’s success and ensure everyone has a clear idea of the hurdles to come.

6. Set goals together

Invite your team to chime in when it comes time to set goals. And once you’ve got your goals down on paper, make sure you share them with the team, clarify any questions, and show how they align with larger company goals

Before nailing down your goals, remember that each one should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. SMART goals provide clear guidelines that light the path to success.

And remember, it’s just as important to celebrate achieving goals as it is to set and track them. Reward programs are an excellent way to reward individuals or the whole sales team when you hit goals — these types of programs can also help incentivize your team to work hard and stay focused.

7. Provide development opportunities

Most employees crave opportunities to upskill in their careers. A LinkedIn Learning survey found that the top three reasons an employee pursues personal development are: 

  1. “If it helps me stay up to date in my field
  2. If it is personalized specifically for my interests
  3. If it helps me get another job internally, be promoted, or get closer to reaching my career goals”

Providing each team member opportunities for growth — either building on their current strengths or cultivating new strengths that can benefit the team — also benefits employee satisfaction and retention.

8. Lead by example

Just as you expect your team members to maintain a certain level of excellence, your employees also expect a certain level of excellence from you. 

If a leader doesn’t live up to the expectations they set for others and lead by example, they risk losing all the trust and respect they’ve worked to cultivate. The leader who doesn’t walk the walk can also be the catalyst for a toxic work culture — one of the main reasons why employees quit.

9. Create a safe space

Psychological safety plays a big role in team performance — if a team member doesn’t feel that their input or opinion is respected or appreciated, they’ll feel less inclined to contribute to team outcomes. Make sure your sales team members feel welcomed when they share and invite each person equally to contribute to team conversations.

Similarly, creating a safe space for team members to fail can contribute to a culture of success. Failure to hit certain sales metrics may seem like a setback, but it also provides a chance to learn and apply new information to future projects. 

And failure doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge your team’s hard work, either on an individual level or a team level. Speaking of…

10. Celebrate wins

Your team works hard, so be sure to celebrate each win. Rewards can incentivize your employees to work hard and remain motivated. Recognition is another way to acknowledge your team’s contributions and successes, and it shows you value their efforts.

Celebrations also give your sales team a chance to pause and catch their breath, which can help keep burnout at bay. 

With the right guidance and leadership, you can help your team improve performance. In turn, they’ll become more effective, productive, creative, and motivated.

Focusing on improving team performance shows you’re invested in each individual’s success as well. After all, the team that grows together succeeds together.

Learn how Arcade can help you create employee recognition programs that appeal to your team, book a demo today.

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