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10 Things Productive Teams Don’t Do

10 Things Productive Teams Don’t Do

Productive teams are the proverbial golden goose for a work environment. Everyone wants to produce a team that is effective, healthy, and always working at a productive maximum. However, finding this place of productive ‘flow’ can be exceptionally hard to pin down, particularly when you’re dealing with a big team, with conflicting personalities, goals, and roles within the team. It’s no easy task finding that balance between happiness and efficiency.

So, if you want to know what those lucky productive teams do in order to be at their productive, happy best, then check out our guide to what productive teams avoid doing, and see if you can be the change you want to be in your own workplace.

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1. They Don’t Rush Blindly In

One of the best and most important assets of a productive and useful team is that each and every member takes time to think clearly about what they’re doing before rushing blindly into a new situation or task. A solid, productive team has a cool head and a calm manner in approaching new situations. They react, think, and then take proactive actions, all while planning ahead and considering what the best course of action might be. If you’re looking to make your team more productive, then encourage them to stop, think, and then act, rather than rushing in blind.

2. They Don’t Argue Over Responsibilities

One of the biggest productivity drains involved in teamwork is the delegation of responsibilities and the division of labour among an entire team. Yes, everyone has their duties, but a productive team has every single member picking up any slack and handling their own portion of duties without complaining, whining, or negotiating. A productive team works only when every member of that team knows their responsibilities and duties and does them. It’s as simple as that.

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3. They Don’t Inhibit Each Other’s Growth

Is there anything less productive and more destructive than colleagues who hold one another back? Not much. A team needs to be a cohesive unit, but more than that, it needs to be a supportive home for members, in order to help facilitate their own personal growth and development. Being a constrictive force within your own team is not only a patently cruel and selfish thing to do, it’s also a big hurdle to cross over for your whole team. Sitting down with every team member and ensuring that their own personal and professional goals and development are being met, is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page and creating a supportive, buoying environment for everyone on the team.

4. They Don’t Gossip

Let’s face it, gossiping is one of the biggest problems happening daily in the global workplace, It’s destructive, it’s petty, and it’s very unproductive, leading to an unfocused and divided team. A focused, productive team has their bonds and their discussion points, but they never let it derail a day or a meeting, and keep things focused. In fact, they try and save a lot of their socialising for after work, when they get a chance to unwind and relax, away from the stresses of work.

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5. They Don’t Become Obsessed With Email

Email is one of those double-edged swords of the modern workplace. Yes, it’s useful and a wonderful tool and device, but it can also be extremely addictive and time-consuming, checking your email every five minutes rather than knuckling down and getting into that special sweet spot of ‘flow’ that often describes working to your productive peak. Productive teams try and make email something that they check on a semi-regular, and regimented, basis. No aimless flickering around deleting spam here. They clear and sort their emails quickly for later reading, and deal with urgent messages quickly when it’s needed. Cut down on unnecessary email time and your team will soon be humming with productivity.

6. They Don’t Have Too Many Meetings

Meetings can really slow down a team’s productivity, and while it can be nice to catch up and work every single minutiae of every aspect of your work together,having way too many meetings can really slow down on actually getting work done. It’s not that meetings themselves are full of useless chatter or such, it’s more that blocking out a good hour or so per meeting, can really make your day a stop-start affair. You get into the flow of some work, only to find yourself having to go to a string of meetings about unrelated projects or queries that make it that much harder to get back into the swing of things. Productive teams have their meetings, but only when necessary and no more than one or two a day.

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7. They Don’t Neglect Their Needs

The concept of working these days hasn’t moved on much since the 80s- we’re all in a struggle to work harder, faster, and more productively than ever before. However, for a team, working hard all the time can actually stop them from being at their productive peak. Truly productive teams are more aware of their flaws and foibles and take time out of their day in order to take a break and properly rejuvenate. A productive team uses all of their lunch break, takes walks around parks, and does stuff completely unrelated to work in their lunch hour. Taking a break isn’t a weakness for a productive team – it’s a strength.

8. They Don’t Hide Their Concerns

A productive team don’t hide things from one another, particularly when it comes to the important stuff such as when to address an issue, or raising concerns about a potential problem or concern at work. Hiding things helps no one, and if you work in an office that is all about working through specific chains of operations and processes, hiding problems or queries is incredibly detrimental towards the effective and productive working of the team. Keep things open and honest with your work colleagues and teams and you’ll be able to resolve issues quicker and be more productive and happier as a result.

9. They Don’t Take Work Home With Them

One of the most productive things that a team can do is to leave their work behind them in the office and keep the realms of work and home as separate as possible. A productive team socializes after work but they make sure to focus on their other – and many would say vastly more important – aspects of their lives, such as home and love and family and leisure. If you’re fixated on work all the time, it means you are unable to gain perspective and enjoy a full and well-rounded life, which in turns negatively impacts upon your workplace and productivity. Don’t think you’re earning brownie points by working overtime instead of going home and sleeping – chances are you’ll be performing worse over time as a result.

10 They Don’t Fail To Work Hard and Be Kind

The most important thing a team can do in order to be truly successful and productive is to work hard and be kind. It sounds sort of simplistic, but it really does work wonders on even the most unproductive teams. Working hard is key to being part of a successful and productive team, but being kind is equally vital. Being kind helps a team function, allowing team members to rely on one another for reciprocity and for altogether strong team functioning. The old maxim of ‘work hard and be kind’ is more apt than you know, and if you want to transform your team into a productive powerhouse, this lesson is the most important ideal to implement.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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