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How to Guarantee a Bad Team?

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How to Guarantee a Bad Team?

When a team fails – are team members responsible?

Cristiano Ronaldo is known as one of the best soccer players in the world. However, following his team’s (Real Madrid) disappointing performance in the 2015/16 season, he famously said during an interview,[1]

“If everyone else was at my level maybe we would be top of the table.”

    Realizing that this probably sounded a little arrogant, he later explained that he didn’t mean to blame his teammates.

    Even if Ronaldo didn’t intend to blame his teammates, lots of people, including team leaders do say something like that and think that team members are the ones responsible for failures. But is it really so?

    Here’s another example. This time from the world of basketball. The Los Angeles Lakers won three straight NBA championships from 2000–2002, but their fortunes faded shortly after that. The reason? Well, it certainly wasn’t the lack of talented players and coaches. Instead, it was the fact that the team suffered from poor leadership, which led to the players becoming frustrated and conflicted.[2]

    As I’ll soon show, when harmony is missing from a team, failure is usually not far around the corner.

    The True Reason Why a Team Fails

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      There are several common reasons why teams fail.

      Lack of a clear purpose or goal. 

      When a team does not know what to accomplish or what is expected, the team members will be unmotivated to move forward. And worse still, many of the team members will find the uncertainty scary and unsettling. Clearly, this is not the atmosphere needed to take a team to the top.

      For example, imagine if a team leader told his team members not to worry about achieving any goals. While day-to-day work might continue, it’s highly unlikely that the team will achieve anything groundbreaking or worthwhile.

      Lack of clear guidelines or instructions.

      Having a goal to aim for is essential, but equally, it’s vital that team members have definite guidelines or instructions to follow. Without these, the team won’t know how to work together – or what to do to improve.

      Think of a production line in a factory. If the production line workers don’t understand what they need to do, then the line will soon break down.

        Lack of planning.

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        Without specific action plans and deadlines that are possible to achieve, a team may be unable to stretch to their full potential.

        For instance, a successful marketing team will follow a strict marketing plan. This will include specific dates for things such as social media campaigns and press releases. A marketing team that has no plan, will be weak and ineffectual.

        Lack of encouragement.

        Encouragement is the vital energy that keeps teams enthusiastic and continuously moving forward. I’m sure you can think of times when you’ve had a negative, criticizing manager. No doubt, you just wanted to leave your job. And I bet you certainly weren’t motivated.

        Conversely, think about a time when you had a manager who was always encouraging and positive towards you. Even if you didn’t like the role much, you most likely worked well as you wanted to please your manager.

          So, what happens to a team that follows one or more of the four negatives above?

          The first thing that occurs is that a consistently low standard of quality will be output by the team. There will also be an environment that fosters lazy or passive team members. (In other words, team members who don’t make any effort to improve themselves or the team.)

          The team will also be likely to deny their responsibilities. For example, if they demonstrate poor performance – or even make mistakes – they’ll look for excuses.

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            A team that doesn’t work on the same page and isn’t motivated will stay the way the are: at the bottom, and failing to ever improve.

            There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Team

            All the above things that a team lacks – are things that good leadership can help avoid.

              You may have heard the expression that “there are no bad students, only bad teachers.” Well, in my experience, it’s exactly the same with teams. There are no bad teams, only bad leaders.

              Team leaders must accept total responsibility, own problems that inhibit performance, and develop solutions to those problems.

              A team can only deliver exceptional performance if their leader ensures they work harmoniously together towards a focused goal and with increasingly high standards of performance.

              Get Back on the Road to Success

              Okay, you’ve successfully ploughed through the negatives. Well done! Let’s now look at some concrete steps you can take to get your team working to their full potential.

              1. Set clear directions and goals

              Don’t just introduce long-term goals which seem too far away for the team to visualize the end results. Instead, have immediate and short-term goals so there’ll be small milestones to achieve, step-by-step before reaching the primary goals. When these small steps are added up together – the team will find they’re achieving some great stuff!

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              Let me give you an example. Let’s say an upcoming pop band wants to record an album. Unfortunately, they don’t have any budget or any songs of their own. In a situation like this, an album will probably remain a distant dream. However, if the band were to break down their goal into small steps, they would be sure to be encouraged by their initial successes. (These might be writing their first song, or saving enough money to book a recording studio.)

              2. Ensure the team know what is expected of them

              A team leader must ensure that team members do not slip into substandard performance and start to make this their new standard. In order to avoid this, the team leader will need to make it clear that there will be consequences for team members who don’t meet the required standards.

              This is not to say that the team leader should act like a dictator. As I’ve mentioned above, this management style will kill the motivation of team members. Instead, through performance appraisals and specific goals, a team leader can work with his team to make sure they stay on track. Team members who don’t make the grade, will most likely need more training and encouragement. Of course, if this fails, then it may be time for the team leader to suggest to the team member that they might be better off in another role, team – or company!

              3. Team leaders must always strive to improve

              Dynamic and successful teams must continuously review their performance to help identify weaknesses – and to find ways to overcome them. They must also find out their strengths – and enhance and make the best use of them.

              It’s obvious that a team leader must lead the way with the above performance reviews.

              Imagine an ambitious CEO of a tech startup. They have great vision and big, impressive goals. However, they lack one key leadership characteristic: they don’t know how to help teams within the company to continuously improve. A leadership failure like this can be fatal to a company’s success. Fortunately, even if the CEO can’t lead the teams in this way, a strong team leader could be brought in to oversee the workings and performance of the company’s teams.

              Leading the Way

              Great teams always have great leaders. And a great leader will understand that acknowledgement of failure and ownership of problems are key to a winning team. They won’t blame team members for failure – but instead, will always believe that the buck stops with themselves.

              Next time you come across a bad team, take a close look at their leader. You’ll most likely find that they’re failing to lead their team properly. Conversely, the next time you come across a successful team, take a close look at their leader. You’ll almost definitely find a purposeful person, who leads their team by example.

              Whether you’re a team leader or a team member, try adopting the tips in this article. I’m sure you’ll find that they’ll lead to increased productivity, achievements and overall team satisfaction.

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              Reference

              More by this author

              Leon Ho

              Founder & CEO of Lifehack

              What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide) Feel That Life Is Meaningless? Here’s How to Find Meaning How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life The Careful Art of Delegation: How to Delegate Effectively How the Flow State Helps You Stay Productive and Concentrate

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              Last Updated on June 1, 2021

              10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

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              10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

              The importance of learning cannot be underestimated. Learning empowers us to fulfill our ideas and realize our full potential. The speed of gaining new knowledge is practically as important as its volume. Who wouldn’t love to remember tons of information as quickly as possible?

              If you want to start learning faster, you need a new approach towards the process which would enable you to comprehend the essence of the matter and relate it with new concepts you encounter.

              The following 10 tips will help you become a fast learner:

              1. Analyze Your Learning Style

              Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are:

              Is your memory associated to sound?

              Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners.

              If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.

              Do you relate information to visual content?

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              If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.

              Are you a physical learner?

              If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy; they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures.

              A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying or listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.

              2. Use the Right EdTech Tools

              Technology has the power of making everything easier. There are plenty of websites, online tools, and smartphone/tablet apps that will boost your skills of planning, writing, time management and brainstorming, etc.

              One way of improving your productivity is using flashcards. You can make your own cards, but you can also download pre-made kits online:

              • StudyBlue is one of the best online destinations when it comes to creating and discovering flashcards from all areas of study.
              • If you are looking for a tool that makes the process of brainstorming more effective, then you should try PapersGear.
              • You also need the SelfControl app, which will eliminate all distractions when you need to stay focused.
              • Quizlet is another website you should bookmark; it offers study tools that will transform the learning process into a fun activity.
              • Notella is an app that will help you take quick notes at any time.
              • Brainscape is an educational platform that makes complex subjects easy by relying on cognitive science.
              • You can also try Dragon Dictation, especially if you are an audio learner.

              3. Train Your Brain to Accept New Information

              Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.

              One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. You’ll also need a specific time of day that you’ll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so you’ll notice you’re starting to learn much faster by the day.

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              4. Get Some Exercise

              You are aware of the fact that physical activity is good for your body, but your brain needs it too!

              Light exercise, such as yoga, can help you learn much faster. If you are inactive throughout the day, your body will want to move, so it will be difficult for you to stay focused.

              If, on the other hand, you canalize your energy through light training sessions, you will be ready to study productively.

              5. Work on the Ambiance

              If you have a noisy neighborhood or a working environment full of distractions, you won’t be able to learn or study no matter how hard you try.

              If you want to learn quickly, you need a quiet, distraction-free environment that won’t disturb the mind in any way. Such a peaceful place will set you in learning mode as soon as you find yourself in it.

              6. Take a Lot of Notes

              Only few people are capable of remembering information as they read it. If you don’t belong to this category of privileged learners, then you absolutely need to start taking notes.

              This simple learning method will force you to think about the essence of the material. It will also give you a nice framework that will help you review the things you’ve learned.

              Write down only the most important information. That will help you remember all the other things you’ve learned.

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              Here’re some tips to take notes effectively: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

              7. Make Mind Maps

              Mind maps are among the best tools to speed up the learning process. Your mind will process information effectively if you create a visual representation of the things you’re about to learn.

              You can create a nice mind map in the old-school way: take a large sheet of paper and organize all facts and explanations. Use pictures, note-cards, and other symbols you can think of. Group similar items together and connect them with colorful pens.

              Some tips mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

              Of course, you can also use an online mind mapping tool if you want to save yourself some time.

              8. Experiment with Memorization Methods

              Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some people memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence.

              However, memorization can be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Don’t avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.

              Try this if you want to memorize more and faster: How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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              9. Find the Right Context

              Memorization works solely in times of urgency. If you want to learn in the most effective manner, then you need to have context for information.

              Find an aspect that’s interesting for you; try to research for related information, and you’ll discover the joy of learning.

              The first step? Jot down as much information and as many ideas as possible: How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter

              With time, this practice will make you a faster learner.

              10. Study Every Day

              It will take some time before you get used to a daily studying routine, but your mind will eventually grasp the habit.

              The more frequently you study, the less time it will take for you to remember the things you read.

              If you start studying as soon as possible after you have learned some new concepts, it won’t take long at all for you to get ready for an exam. Now that sounds really good, doesn’t it?

              More to Help You Learn Quicker

              Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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