Building the Foundation of a High-Performing Team: Structure and Clarity

Noelle Ihli

Create the Ideal Environment for Your Team to Excel Through Clear Expectations and Organization

Too often, managers attribute poor performance to laziness or lack of effort—when the real culprit is unclear expectations and structure. If you want team members to reach goals and meet performance standards, they need a complete and thorough understanding of a project's who, what, where, when, and why

Keep reading to learn how to give your team more clarity and structure to help them succeed.

Who: Establish Roles and Responsibilities

Take the time to clearly define each team member's role, then make sure everyone understands how their work contributes to the team’s success. Not only does this “who’s who” clarify the scope of responsibilities, but it can also preempt misunderstandings and duplicate work. 

You may want to create a “team roster” that everyone can see and access for easy reference. 

What: Set Clear Expectations

At each project kickoff, one-on-one, or Key Performance Indicator (KPI) review, communicate expectations for performance and progress. Clarify what team members need to do and how you’d like them to do it. 

Regularly take time to review and reclarify expectations. This approach gives team members a chance to ask questions, evaluate whether or not they are on track to succeed, and nip miscommunications in the bud.

Where: Point Employees to Processes and Procedures

Do your employees know where to go for support to help them reach their goals and complete their work? Does everyone understand where and how to access resources, find answers to questions, or report progress? 

Create process and procedures documents that team members can use proactively. These resources empower them to push forward instead of waiting around for answers or getting stuck and discouraged. 

When: Set and Communicate Deadlines 

Communicate regularly about deadlines, and request progress reports. Nobody should be surprised if a project is late or off-track when the due date arrives! 

Get employees in the habit of offering regular progress updates (e.g., in Slack or at your weekly team stand-up). And don’t be afraid to break big deadlines into smaller milestones, so it’s easier for team members to see progress toward the final goal.

Why: Hold Employees Accountable and Offer Feedback

Help your team members understand why the project matters, and why their specific roles and efforts are vital to the team’s success. Follow up on expectations with check-ins and conversations to offer support, feedback, and guidance. If someone falls short, hold them accountable. Be clear, direct, and kind in addressing the misstep. 

Take the Next Steps

Where does your team have room to grow when it comes to clarity and organization? BookClub can help. We take the best ideas from powerful books, and simplify them into bite-sized, micro insights:

Foundations of Leadership

About the author

Noelle is a content creator, author, and editor. She lives in Idaho with her husband, two sons, and two cats. When she's not writing, she's either reading a good book or scaring herself with true-crime documentaries.

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