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Running An Undermanned Department? Here’s How to Build a High-Performing Team

Running An Undermanned Department? Here’s How to Build a High-Performing Team

In lean organisations, the right talent can drive business success. Here’s how SMEs can build a high-performing team.

Operating a small business has its advantages, especially in Singapore where the SME landscape in Singapore continues to grow rapidly. After all, SMEs are a vital contributor to the country’s economy. According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, they made up 99% of all enterprises in 2021, accounting for 71% of all employment. 

In SMEs, the decision-making process is shorter, leaders are more within reach, and they can adjust and pivot quickly. However, a leaner organisation usually requires more from employees and management – and of superior quality to compete with larger firms.

So, it's essential companies know how to build a high-performing team. It’s not just about hiring the right kind of workers but also coming up with the right mix of talent, understanding their needs, and keeping them motivated. 

Read on as we explore three areas crucial for small-business success.

Work on employee psychology

A 2022 World Economic Forum (WEF) report noted that over half of SMEs’ biggest hurdles were talent acquisition and retention. To build a high-performing team, ensure your employees’ hearts are also in the right place and that they see themselves staying in your company long term. 

Psychological safety is a term that refers to a person’s belief that they are safe to express themselves and that they can make errors without receiving punishment. Psychologically safe employees can freely voice their opinions and make mistakes without feeling limited by judgment or negative consequences. They feel encouraged to innovate and experiment with solutions – which may lead to greater success.

1. React positively to mistakes.

Firstly, as employers, be conscious of how you react and respond whenever a team member commits mistakes. Rather than treating these as disruptive or detrimental, consider these constructively as opportunities to learn and improve. Also, show that you value the new insights gained from mistakes and emphasise their importance for any developing business.

2. Be open to taking risks.

When employees hesitate, leaders cannot capitalise on their team's thoughts, ideas, or questions for the benefit of the business. By allowing and inviting workers to take risks and be bold with their suggestions, they feel a better sense of involvement – and they also feel heard. The same goes for experimentation. Let your colleagues test out their proposed solutions to promote learning.

3. Share information.

Openly share knowledge with your team to demonstrate that the company is a safe space to learn from each other. Let your team be inspired and empowered with this new information so they believe the workspace is a safe space to listen, be heard, and learn.

Cultivate work motivations

An engaged employee contributes more significant value to an SME than an employee with no emotional connection to the company. Try to understand what drives workers to perform and how you can motivate them to deliver. 

1. Instil a sense of purpose.

Research by management consultancy firm Mckinsey showed that 70 percent of employees felt their jobs defined their sense of purpose.When a worker is able to live out his purpose in life at work, the less likely he’ll leave the company or become disengaged. A job may be a job, but when employees attach a sense of fulfilment or responsibility, they will be more likely to commit to the tasks. Aligning a sense of purpose with the company’s mission and vision will motivate employees to do the work. 

This way, they won't do it just for the paycheck or to be a high achiever. Instead, you make them feel they contribute a difference in someone’s life or even the world.

2. Give praise generously.

Positive reinforcement in the form of recognition or rewards can go a long way in instilling employee confidence. When managers praise their team members for a job well done, it tells them that they’ve achieved an outstanding outcome. It also gives them a sense of pride in their work, boosting commitment and passion. A high-performing team also reflects in your successful management style.

3. Trust in their capabilities.

You may have given them an important task or responsibility, but when you constantly nitpick what they do, you send the message that you don’t trust them enough that they can do the job right. Provide them with desired outcomes and let them apply their strategies and capabilities to achieve these. Should they fail or fall short, it’s important that managers provide support to them so they know they can bounce back up.

Remove obstacles that hinder performance

Many things can act as stumbling blocks to unlocking a team’s full potential. Factors such as ambiguity, complexity, and poor talent fit can create issues for the business. It is why identifying hurdles and removing these ensures team members’ capacity is optimised and any inefficiencies are kept to a minimum.

1. Keep things simple. 

With any organisation, the simpler the processes and strategies, the easier for the team to understand and execute accordingly. By reducing complexity, you reduce the ambiguity that may cause employees to question themselves or hesitate when executing a task. 

2. Make sure roles are clearly defined. 

Employees must know exactly what is expected for them to perform well. Explain and define their job roles clearly so they know their place in the organisation as well as the value they bring to the team. When each worker works within the limits of his or her job designation, then the entire company will move like a well-oiled machine. 

3. Foster a positive management style.

Make sure to be mindful of how you delegate tasks and interact with team members. Distribute workload fairly, be receptive to new ideas, and avoid giving too much praise to some over others to prevent yourself from micromanaging and playing favourites. 

One approach is to set weekly status huddles versus start-of-day and end-of-day reporting, which cultivates trust and communication. You can also set recurring 1:1s with each of your team members so you can discuss individual workloads and feedback on their performance. According to a 2019 research by people management platform Reflektive, 72% of surveyed employees prefer more frequent review sessions versus annual performance reviews

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When team members are engaged, they are more likely to work feeling confident, empowered, and recognised. With a thorough understanding of their psychological needs and sources of motivation and eliminating hindrances to performance, you’ll surely build a high-performing team in no time. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you create an effective high-performance team?

Team members must know the company’s vision and mission by heart. This way, they can work together towards a common goal. Managers and leaders must also ensure employees feel a sense of psychological safety, wherein they can freely express their views and opinions without fear of being judged or punished. 

With a thorough understanding of employees’ work motivations and by setting clear objectives, SMEs can reduce employee attrition and boost engagement, which is crucial to a high-performing team.

What are the five important elements for building high-performance teams?

Clear communication, defined roles, good leadership, shared goals, and trust are five key elements that contribute to building high-performing teams. When communication lines are open, team members have a better understanding of one another’s ways of working as well as the best time to have a chat or send a note. Defined roles, on the other hand, allow employees to work confidently as they know what is expected of them. 

Good leadership allows team members to strive towards outcomes and does not micromanage. He or she will foster values of trust, honesty, and diligence within teams. Shared goals, meanwhile, allow teams to work towards a common goal. Trust, meanwhile, when at the foundation of work relationships, lets team members believe in one another’s capabilities, become united, and take on risks with greater ease.

For more insights on employment trends, bookmark JobStreet to help you navigate the ever-changing job market.

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