Teams play a crucial role in most businesses. Whether it’s a team assembled to make existing processes more efficient, to eliminate manufacturing defects, or to improve sales, cross-functional teams are a fixture in the workplace. Teams can be very effective, as they offer the opportunity to combine individual expertise to create a well-rounded skill set.

But there are drawbacks to using teams in your workplace. One of them is that, in many cases, individuals in a team feel no personal responsibility for the project. As a result, there is little urgency and little in the way of productivity. There will be plenty of talk, plenty of meetings, and plenty of progress reports… but little actual progress!

So, if you use teams in your business, ask yourself this: Are your teams producing reports… or results? When you assign a problem to a team, do they solve the problem?  Or do they spend weeks going back and forth before creating a vague report on this matter that lacks any concrete solutions?

Below are a few ways to make your teams more productive and results oriented:

Set clear expectations. First things first.  Let each team know that you’re looking for results, not excuses and certainly not an endless parade of progress reports. Define the problem, make sure they clearly understand it, and tell them to solve it.

Define roles. Each team should have a defined leader. When you appoint a leader, he will feel personally responsible for the success of your team. In turn, the team leader will apply pressure on the members of the team. This allows you to avoid the inefficiency that occurs when nobody on the team feels any sense of responsibility. But it’s not just about the leader – each member of the team should have specific duties that they are responsible for as well.

Provide support.  Make sure that the team has the resources they need to succeed in solving the problem. That includes time, physical space to work, a reasonable budget and any other specific needs. Remember, you’re not looking for recommendations and reports, you are looking for a solution. And your team isn’t going to solve the problem if they don’t have the resources they need to succeed.

As the boss, you set the tone. What is the culture of your workplace?  Do employees have a sense of urgency? If not, you need to create that urgency.  Without it, your teams will spend hours producing lists of recommendations and solving nothing.  Make sure each employee knows that you’re not interested in reports… you’re interested in results.

Have you encountered this problem while managing teams in your workplace? How were you able to overcome it? Share your thoughts below!