Management Matters

8 Ways to Refocus a Team

Date Posted: 03/10/2017

8 Ways to Refocus a Team

Once a team has formed and worked on a project for some time their focus may begin to falter. The reason for this may be family emergencies, recent vacations, disinterest, etc. In order to re-establish productivity and refocus a team, we must look at a few variables.

These variables are Current Reality, Team Dynamics, Project Goals and Work Distribution.

Current Reality

It is important that a team understand reality as it is. What has been done so far? This is done by stepping back and evaluating how much work has been completed. Evaluation informs the team of what they have accomplished as well as what still needs to be done. From this point improvements can be made.

Team Dynamics

Team dynamics are the relationships within the team. By giving teams a chance to bond and socialize, team cohesion and performance will increase. Team cohesion can be improved by having a team take breaks together, socialize together, and by allowing them to bond. Team building exercises can also be used in order to build team dynamics. Once a team is bonded they will trust and rely on each other when working.

Goal Setting

Next the team needs to set timely goals. This can be done by informing them of their deadline for completing the project and discussing with them appropriate milestones to meet. These milestones could be daily, weekly, or monthly goals depending on project length. By communicating with the team and setting up targets and deadlines, it will be clear what is expected in order to finish the project. When a team knows exactly what is expected of them they will perform much better. It is important that supervisors monitor progress and help the team to re-evaluate their current reality to ensure team understanding and focus.

Work Distribution

By having team members working on tasks that are suited to their skills, as well as assigning members to tasks they prefer, targets will be met faster and more accurately. Allowing members to work together on projects and help each other on tasks that may be difficult for any one individual will also be beneficial. The team can focus on work as a single unit instead of as individuals which will cut down on workload. By pairing up and working together team cohesion is further improved as well as confidence in their ability.


Leadership has a big role to play in team success as well. A good leader will be directive, guiding and informative, not fault finding. A good leader should empower and incentivize their team, while encouraging expectations about the team.


Directive leaders will inform their team of what to do and how, while empowering and encouraging team members. Empowering a team consists of believing in the team, supporting and directing them when necessary, and allowing the team to work fluidly on their own to complete a task. By allowing them to work on their own, a team will feel more in control and know that they are trusted. This empowerment will lead to them taking responsibility and being proud of their work.


By incentivizing a team one can increase their productivity. To best motivate a team, monetary rewards should be avoided and instead motivate using incentives that are intrinsically interesting to a team or individual members. Team members may want more vacation days, a promotion, a different position, etc. By finding what team members are inherently interested in and discussing a way for them to attain that goal, they will desire it and complete the project better than expected.

Remove Personal Expectations

As a leader it is critical to not make assumptions or have expectations about a team. When an authority figure, such as a supervisor, has negative expectations about individuals, they treat the individuals differently. This differential treatment leads to negative effects such that performance and productivity decrease significantly, even on simple tasks. Removal of expectations also alleviates favoritism which results in further team cohesion by making it clear that all members are valued.

Work forces vary widely in the modern world from small teams to entire work forces with sub teams and committees. It is important to encourage and support your team as they need it. By helping them reflect on their achievements leaders can establish reality. Giving your team time to bond and trust each other will improve their productivity and cohesion. Discussing work timelines and milestone will set your team up for success. Finally, motivating them with meaningful rewards that are personally satisfying to them will give them passion. With these tools any leader can have a winning team.

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