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Team efficiency: The leader's assignment

Team efficiency: The leader's assignment

Creating a strong sense of vision, purpose and direction for an entire team to follow through

Image above: Motivators from Motivators International Development Organization after an inspiring event

In 2016, when he became a Queen’s Young Leader, Chijindu Umunnakwe dedicated the award to the commitment of his team to their organisation's vision. In this article, he defines "team efficiency" and talks us through its key components.

Team efficiency

For the benefit of definition, team efficiency is the ability of a team – made up of two or more persons in an organisation – to accomplish goals and objectives set within that organisation. 

From youth-led organisations with small membership to large organisations with complex systems, the need to ensure efficiency cannot be over-emphasised.

Freedom to innovate

Senator Samuel Anyanwu is a serving Nigerian Senator representing Imo East Senatorial Zone who shared his opinion with me on team efficiency.

He said, “A team is only as strong as its weakest link,” adding, “each team member’s strength must be assessed and supported.”

Many organisations fall short because they do not maximise the unique expertise of team members. This often makes team members afraid of embracing creativity and innovation for fear of consequences.

To ensure profitability, team members after being assigned roles should be given the mental freedom to understand their place as kings and queens of their little domains – where their action or inaction makes for the success or failure of the entire team.

The onus then lies on the leader to find that connecting point between individual ability and corporate productivity.

Delegation and responsibility

People looking at a magazine

Motivators International Development Organization unveiling the second edition of The Motivator Magazine. Image credit: Motivators International

At Motivators International Development Organization, delegation has helped our team members become more responsible. One team runs Motivators Roundtable, another oversees Motivators Enterprise Club while the Editorial Team takes care of our magazine publication.

I have found out that there is a leader in every team member no matter how they might seem on the surface and everyone has a capacity to grow. Perhaps one of the most important leadership clichés is that responsibility makes people responsible.

The connection factor

Motivators International team

Motivators International team members from different States in Nigeria pose together after Motivators International Youth Conference. Image credit: Motivators International

These days, with advancement in technology, large and diverse teams can be better managed to ensure efficiency.

To keep team members abreast of expectations – and to monitor and ensure efficiency – many teams all over the world stay connected through constant emailing, phone calls as well as platforms like Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp, Trello and more.

Distance is gradually becoming a less limiting factor in team efficiency through a simple internet connection. To achieve optimum productivity, fast-paced teams build purpose through connection.

This is more so as technology shrinks the world in our palms and expands our capacity to stir it from one spot, with a click of a button.

The power of communication

Sickle Cell Aid Foundation team

The SCAF team pose excitedly after one of SCAF’s events. Image credit: SCAF

In 2015, Nkechi Azinge won the Queen’s Young Leader’s Award for the work she is doing with her team members at Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF).

Hers is a story of how team efficiency can help an organisation grow.

SCAF co-ordinates a team of volunteers committed to the vision of helping people suffering from Sickle Cell Anemia. Nkechi, whose team is made up of 60 volunteers, believes that open communication among team members has enabled them to reach four states in Nigeria.

Between expectations and deliverables

Motivators International team with Simon Shercliff

Motivators International team with Simon Shercliff. Image credit: British High Commission, Abuja

Setting expectations and outlining the deliverables is like drawing up a checklist. It puts everything in perspective and helps the team brainstorm on the best way to arrive at the required destination.

The British Ambassador to Yemen, Simon Shercliff graciously shared his views with me on team efficiency.

He said, “As a leader you have to find as many ways as possible to communicate the goal including finding ways for your team to communicate it back to you and to each other, so you have confidence that they know and believe it too.”

On managing team diversity, Simon Shercliff added, “You need to be clear that you expect the diversity to bring different ideas of how to do things, which might cause tension. Communication is key. Allow everyone their say, and be fair in picking ideas on merit.”

From caterpillar to butterfly

caterpillar turning into a butterfly

One of the lessons I learnt from the Leading Change course – that we took as Queen's Young Leaders in 2016 – was the need to communicate the "how" and "why" to my team members.

When members of our organisation understood this, it became easier for us to fly in our skyline and to work towards the achievement of our organisational goals.

To help a team achieve their butterfly capacity, it is important to adequately train members, reward exceptional performances, and create a sense of direction towards achieving the corporate vision.