Many think of team assessments as a way to address problems.
But they can also offer valuable insights when used intentionally before a problem develops.
New teams need to build trust and understanding, so choosing an assessment that addresses those needs is essential. Leadership and behavior style assessments are beneficial for this purpose.
A team-based assessment is one way to get a clear picture of your team’s strengths. Team members often don’t know their strengths or how to use them in the workplace, so a team-based assessment can help identify these strengths and help them apply them to their jobs.
Some assessment divides team members into groups based on their strengths and then asks each group to brainstorm ways to convert their weaknesses into strengths. In addition, the group is asked to create a plan of action that outlines how to apply the strategies they have developed in their current roles.
This team assessment can effectively improve team performance and foster positive team cultures. Research has found that teams that know their strengths and work to use them are much more engaged than teams that don’t take advantage of them.
Using a team based assessment can also help to improve communication and collaboration between teammates, especially in remote situations where these teams may be spread out across the country or even the world. A team-based assessment can foster strong connections between remote team members, leading to more productive working relationships and more substantial project outcomes.
Identifying Areas for Improvement
Depending on your assessment, a wide range of tools are available. Some cost less per team member; others are part of more extensive engagements involving a consultant overseeing the assessment, explaining the results, and drafting action plans.
The most common type of team assessment evaluates individuals’ strengths and weaknesses as members of teams.
Typically, these assessments provide individual feedback on various factors, such as communication skills, conflict resolution, and leadership. These are valuable for identifying areas where teams need to improve, but they may not help teams determine how to address their specific challenges.
Another type of team assessment focuses on the overall dynamics of the team. These often provide a better understanding of how the team works together, which can improve collaboration and communication.
These can be particularly useful for new units since they help team members understand how they work best with each other.
A third type of team assessment identifies the root causes of problems. This is often used with teams struggling to help act together, such as a marketing team needing help to convert leads into sales.
Developing a Plan of Action
After identifying areas for improvement, it’s essential to set up an action plan for team members.
Often, this will take the form of a flow chart with a list of tasks and the people responsible for them. Each lesson should also include a deadline and any resources that might be needed.
Breaking down large projects into smaller goals makes them more manageable and helps the team feel they are progressing toward their desired outcomes.
For example, a goal of increasing sales might be broken down into several milestones, such as achieving specific training or certifications, setting up meetings with customers, or creating and implementing an internal sales enablement platform.
Tracking performance metrics over time is essential so the team knows their current benchmarks and can identify any peaks or dips in results. If you decide to conduct a team assessment on your own, consider the goals of the exercise and choose an evaluation tool that matches that purpose.
For example, to improve team communication, look for an assessment that focuses on interpersonal dynamics and recommends activities to build understanding. Bringing in a professional who can help guide the process and ensure accurate results is also a good idea.
When team-based assessments are used well, they can help people see their weaknesses more clearly.
They can also help them move issues from a personal level to a larger organizational one.
For example, when an assessment reveals that a team member is struggling to communicate effectively, it can help the person understand what they need to do differently and encourage others to offer support.
When choosing a team assessment, consider why you are using it. For example, you may aim to help new team members understand each other better, or you might want to measure the quality of a specific process, such as communication.
If the purpose is to assess your team’s overall performance, it’s worth considering a more comprehensive approach. Some assessments are based on particular theories about what drives effective teamwork. For example, some use the work of management theorists like Meredith Belbin to suggest that teams need individuals who fit different behavioral roles.
Choose an assessment that aligns with your goals. For example, an online review that measures interpersonal styles might be helpful if you’re trying to improve communication among your team members.
If you’re assessing a team leader’s leadership abilities, looking for an evaluation tool that explicitly measures leadership qualities might be more helpful. When delivering feedback, make sure you’re not biased in any way. For example, if you are the team leader providing the assessment to an individual colleague, prepare your comments beforehand and try not to be overly critical.