Can You Improve Performance of Your Team?
How to lead to the success? Are you on the right path to improve performance of your team? Whether you’re lost in the middle or you don’t even know where to start, here’s something for you.
Let’s be clear: managing a team is a challenge. You need to be decisive, always know what you’re doing and what’s the best way out of every situation. And when something goes down – it’s on you. Sure, you’re in the power, but this power comes with a responsibility.
Usually, it’s about improving performance – you’re the one to do it. That can easily turn into the feeling of having the weight of the world on your shoulders. And you’re just a small little person not made to hold it. So what do you do in moments like this? Usually, you wish to hide underneath the blanket on your cozy bed and stay there until it all gets better. After some time you’ll realize that the solution is not going to come to you by itself and then you’ll start thinking. Or the opposite: you’re making a plan right away. Somewhere in the middle of this process you may get lost. Actually, you may come to a dead-end on the very beginning as well – there’re no rules. What then? What do you do, when you have no idea how to improve performance of your team?
Rethink the past
It’s easy to put a blame on your team members. Sure, if instead of being better their performance rate is going down – that means they were not at their best last week/month/time period. Be the teacher and make them realize what’s been done wrong, but first ask yourself: have you been at your best?
The low performance of the team can be your fault. Go ahead with the excuses – you’ve been more tired lately, you’re still learning, etc. The truth is: you could have screwed up. And it’s completely fine, if you did. Now, it’s on you to think about your recent management style. Grade it – if you’re not “a ten” there’s something you could’ve done better. Look at this bullet points below and think, have you been:
Consistency is the most important thing while managing anything and anyone. You set the rules. If you’re the one breaking them, you automatically make everyone else doubt. You’re a sort of giving them an unsaid permission to disobey. Once you’ve decided that something is worth your reprimand don’t blink at it when it’s being done by someone you feel for or like. The rules you create are the foundations for your team development and your whole relation. It’s way too easy to lose the respect by bending the rules too often.
Sure, you’ll say right away that you always act fair. The thing is: it’s impossible to always act fair. We’re all human, not robots. We have opinions. We see more than any software could but we’re more bias than the math could ever be as well. While you’re trying to figure out why some agents have better results than others in your team take it into consideration. It’s not necessarily their lack of skills that makes it hard to improve performance.
- Good at communicating
Look closer at how you communicate with your team. Are they mostly just a public listening to your monologue? Remember when you were in high-school and a teacher used to ask whether anyone understands everything and in most cases you and your classmates were nodding heads in silence? Nobody asked questions, but did it mean that everyone understood? Hell no. You just wanted to be over with the lecture or didn’t care.
Realize or ask
Remember the song “man in the mirror” by Michael Jackson? If you want to start changing something – start with changing yourself. Cheesy, I know. But when you learn how to keep yourself motivated you can easily follow the scheme with your team. No one else than you or your coworkers can tell what is not quite right at the moment. You know your company and your people the most.
Sometimes the best solution is the simplest one: if you can’t tell – ask.
Talk to your agents, perhaps a talk is all it takes to know how to improve performance the right way.
Don’t be afraid of KPIs, they don’t bite (usually). I’ve praised them times before, I’ve even made an ebook about the best ones to use in outbound sales. Data helps you from this formal, strict point of view. For example: average talk time shows you how long your agents’ conversations with the leads were. Don’t forget that data is not only KPIs metrics, but much more, e.i. listening to the calls recordings or to the agents’ talks live.
See how easily you could benefit from connecting these two possibilities: let’s say that you look at the ATT and you know that the agent doesn’t spend too much time on conversations. In fact: the average of his talk time is really small. If the lead base is not a problem, there’s only one way to know what is responsible for that: listening to the conversations. Maybe your agent doesn’t even try to stay on the line? You won’t figure it out in any other way.
It’s easier to start when you know the ground. You probably know how to fix it, if you’ve already considered what might have caused the lower performance.
Improving performance is a large topic. There’s a high possibility that you haven’t found the answer yet or you have all the data and knowledge, but still no idea what to do with it. You can get lost in motivating systems, management theories or anything remotely close to it. The amount of information on the Internet about how to improve performance or manage a team is hard to put in numbers. However, you don’t really need everything, do you?
You can spend hours on reading or ten minutes on practicing and the result will be close to equal. Of course, it’s better to learn through practice, but remember not to treat your team like a collection of guinea pigs. Don’t test new solutions every week. That would only result with you no longer being consistent.
What you need is a plan made basing on all the information mentioned earlier. A long term one would work great as changes won’t happen over the night. What is more, the plan shouldn’t revolve around improving performance. It’s a wide term, consisting of many factors and they all need an improvement, so the name “a plan to improve performance” can already land in the trash. Focus on these three points:
- Improve your relation with agents.
Focus on communication. This is always something that could use an improvement. Be open to changes and suggestions. Don’t forget that changing the communication model requires both sides to be involved.
- Make necessary decisions basing on data.
For example, create a role model of an agent that you wish your team members tried to be more alike. Remember that these expectations of yours need to be achievable (not requiring months of work). Think realistic.
- Think about implementing new solutions.
If you don’t have any particular motivational system – consider implementing one. Financial and non-financial sources of motivation can make a great difference with your agents’ attitudes. Maybe a rewarding system would be a good idea?
The way to improve performance is not the easiest one. It takes time, engagement and when you make it to the top and improve the rates you so deeply care about: it takes another amount of strength to keep it on that level. Use all the advice you can get, constantly look for new solutions, but mostly: stay informed. That’s the best way to succeed. Unfortunately, not the easiest one.