Building high-performing teams is critical to the success and profitability of a design firm.  As our industry moves into 2024 many firms are adjusting to headwinds of all kinds.  Many projects have been paused or shelved due to the higher interest rates.  Other firms are adjusting to technological changes in the industry, be it moving from AutoCAD to Revit or AI software being introduced.

Even firms doing well benefit from well-run, organized teams.  Teams that work well together improve firm culture, are more efficient, and help a firm to be more profitable.

But how does a firm build high-performing teams?   The first step is for team leaders and managers to focus on strengthening the overall work environment to ensure that all employees are successful. Having a diverse, multigenerational firm is a huge benefit, but it can be challenging to manage employees who have different work styles, values, motivations, etc. But it can be done.  As a leader, you can create a high-performing team with these tips.

  1. Provide constructive feedback. Millennials are going to make up a majority of the world’s working population by the year 2025. Professionals from this generation are very distinct in their need for approval from their managers, so it’s important to celebrate success by recognizing individual contributions and team accomplishments. Providing regular, specific feedback can help all employees accomplish their goals regardless of their age, experience, etc. Plus, leaders need to focus on managing conflict more effectively because it can promote positive organizational change through new thinking and building stronger professional relationships.
  2. Organize regular training sessions. If you want employees to collaborate more effectively, then you need to train them to learn each other’s strengths and working styles. Regular training will also promote clear communication among employees and improve teamwork.
  3. Set clear goals and expectations. Having clear goals will separate average teams from those that are high-performing. Team goals as well as individual roles and responsibilities all need to be clearly defined for a team to excel.
  4. Overcome pre-existing stereotypes. Unconscious bias is something that holds many teams back from reaching their full potential. For instance, you should get to know employees first before you presume they lack people skills, can’t use technology, etc. Cross-generational mentoring can be an effective way to overcome these stereotypes.
  5. Create a flexible working environment. From remote working options to flexible work schedules, team members need work styles that fit their needs to perform at optimal levels.
  6. Be reliable and trustworthy. Focus on building trust so team members know they can depend on you. The team needs to know that you will do what you say and that they can rely on you.