It’s difficult (if not impossible) to quantify what it takes to develop a productive and successful product team. Every product is unique, and every company does things differently. From a distance it may seem that there’s no process or methodology to create a high-performing product team.
Developing great products entails teams of people working together. With the proliferation of product roles in recent years it has become more important for product teams to function well together and collaborate effectively with other teams and individuals in the organization. Increased focus on building great teams is desperately needed in today’s fast-evolving technology world, yet for too many companies it’s not a high priority.
What does it take to develop a group of disparate individuals into a high-performing product team?
A survey revealed that out of 180 business leaders, four out of 10 do not get enough sleep at least four nights a week. If you catch yourself yawning at your desk or nodding off during meetings, you know how hard it can be to get work done when you can barely keep your eyes open. Not only does a lack of sleep cause us to feel sluggish, but it can also affect our work performance, even undermining important forms of leadership.
The debate is still out about whether leaders are born or made, but if you are looking to up your leadership game this year, you’ll want to do what all great leaders do: practice self-coaching. While you might think that leaders spend most of their time helping others to be their best selves, they also spend a lot of time taking care of their own mental health, physical strength, and personal well-being.
A common response—when you ask somebody for their help or their input—is “I don’t have enough time.” This is an interesting response given that we all have the same amount of time – 24 hours in a day.
When someone doesn’t have enough time it usually means they are focused on something at that moment and don’t want (or feel it’s worth their time) to stop what they’re doing and help you. They don’t have any ‘white space’ at the moment.
Think back to when you were a kid in about third grade. You’ve been in the classroom the better part of the day and a draining feeling would start to occur. Before long, that tell-tale sign of lethargy begins to set in. You feel drained. You stare at the round, black and white clock on the wall waiting for it to strike 1:00 pm because you knew that meant it was time for recess. That’s when your heart burst free, and for 30 minutes you were able to get outside and do something you enjoyed—whether kickball, foursquare, monkey bars or just sitting and talking with friends.
Many companies still hold tight to the old way of doing things.
They put you in high-pressure situations and hope that you get all your work done out of fear. Fear that you will miss out on that promotion, fear that you will be subject to disciplinary action and even fear that you will lose your job.
Leaders often wrestle with how to best motivate their employees to rise above their current performance and execute at a higher level. One of the keys to helping employees in this regard is to have frequent and meaningful one-on-one meetings.
In a recent research study, Brian Westfall surveyed more than 300 employees to gain insight on what helps them engage more fully in their work. I recently sat down with Brian for a Q&A discussion about his findings.
Learning how to communicate with your employees is vital to being a great manager. A leader that knows how to communicate and understands an employee’s situation is one that employee’s want to work for. Communication can improve teamwork, unity, productivity, and efficiency.
Boosting employee morale doesn’t need to be complicated and as a leader, ownership of this responsibility belongs to you.
Given the extensive variety in personal and professional experiences, teamwork doesn’t necessarily occur naturally. A talented manager demonstrates strong leadership capability by identifying how to best incentivize individuals within their team. Providing an accurate combination of direction and motivation can mean the difference between leading a mediocre team or a high performing one.
How do you effectively motivate others to do their best work?
One of the keys to becoming an influential leader is learning the skills—you can practice every day—that will establish your leadership. Finding ways to get yourself, your colleagues and your teams aligned and focused will pay dividends as you move forward. The world needs more leaders.