How to manage a team
The team management skills list is long, and it takes years to develop these abilities. And there are many team management techniques that you can try, but there are some universal basics that you should follow no matter what.
Here we will take a look at the factors that build an effective team as well as some time-tested and most effective team management strategies that you can implement in your work right away.
Table of Contents
The components of a successful team
According to Office Topics, there are 4 basics conditions that every team needs in order to be effective and successful. Providing and improving these conditions will help you form a team that is able to reach its targets.
#1. Cohesion in leadership - effective communication between team leaders/managers and directing the team in the right direction.
#2. Clear communication - A well-defined chain of command and channels of communication
#3. Common goals - The coming together of different ideas and skills to achieve the desired results.
#4. Defined roles and responsibilities - All members of the team are aware of their specific role and what responsibilities they have.
Common problems in team management
In order to manage a team successfully, you need to be aware of the things that could go wrong.
These factors can be detrimental to the team’s overall performance and sabotage your goals. Here are some of the most common troubles that team managers encounter.
1. Lack of trust
Team members don’t trust each other and their leaders, they are not willing to admit their mistakes, and withdraw important information.
2. Avoidance of work-related conflict
Conflicting opinions on work-related matters are actually a positive thing and shouldn’t be avoided.
When team members are in conflict regarding their project, they can discuss the matters and reach a better solution. While fearing the conflict may result in withdrawn information and poorer outcome.
3. Passive team members
Team members who are not engaged in the work process, do not share their ideas and opinions.
4. Lack of responsibility
Team members who find excuses for poor performance and halt the progress of the team.
5. Result carelessness
Members of the team who are not interested in the goals and results of the team.
Effective team management strategies
1. Lead by example
You can’t expect your team members to follow a certain behavior if you don’t practice it yourself. And this is essential for managing a small team effectively.
If you are the kind of person who gets angered easily, then do your best not to show your emotions in front of your team. This is usually extremely demoralizing.
From things like coming late to work to being loud and unfocused in meetings, these are the types of behaviors that should not come from you.
The simplest thing that you can do is to make a list of the qualities and behaviors of the perfect team member and practice them yourself. Surely the people you lead will meet you halfway.
2. Consistency in leadership
It goes without saying that you should treat your team members equally. Nobody should receive certain privileges just because you like them better.
This said, what you need to keep track of is behavior. Praise the positive behavior every time you have the opportunity and criticize the negatives aspects in order to discourage similar occurrences.
3. Improve communication
If you wonder how to improve your team management skills, then effective communication is among the most important factors that lead to success.
That is why you need to figure out how to communicate with your team members the right way.
Find out what are the communication blockers within your team and eliminate them one by one. Set clear practices and communication hierarchy in order to optimize the process.
And always strive to be clear and accurate when you relay information.
4. Set the goals for your team
In order for a group of people to work as a team, they need to have a common goal.
Even if you are the biggest control freak in the world, you are only human at the end of the day and your team management skills have a limit.
That is why you need to set certain goals for your team that need to be reached on a weekly or monthly basis.
These common goals will dictate the tempo of your work and orient your team members in moments of doubt.
5. Focus on the individual
Yes, you manage a group of people but it consists of individuals who are very different from one another.
Each person has a unique set of skills, interests, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses.
In other words, there will be times when you will have to micro-manage your team based on the individuals you are dealing with.
That is why it is a good idea to get to know your team members a little bit better. The better you know them, the better you will motivate and encourage them to do their best work.
6. Be an approachable leader
Effective communication is a two-way street. That is why your team members should be able to contact you when they need to.
And beyond that, they should be able to talk to you. Not just about work but their problems and concerns as well.
So, make sure to communicate this with your team. Tell them they can always set up a meeting with you and that you are there for them.
7. Welcome all ideas and feedback
The main idea here is to have more people involved in making the organization better. And sometimes good ideas come from surprising places.
That is why you should encourage your team members to always share their honest opinion and never be afraid to voice their ideas.
Simply ask them what do they think, how they would things if given the chance and so on. And of course, be ready to receive some negative or poorly thought out opinions. It is just part of the process.
8. Delegate tasks to the right team members
This is a widely misunderstood skill among those who seek how to manage a team successfully. Don’t be that manager who looks at their to-do list and gives the most unimportant mindless tasks to somebody else.
Instead, ask yourself what tasks are challenging, yet they could be safely delegated to somebody else in order to turn this into a learning experience for them.
This way you invest in your team members and allow them to reach mastery in their trade. This will build trust and mutual respect between you and your team.
9. Resolve conflicts as quickly as possible
Conflicts in the workplace can be extremely volatile and impair your productivity. And they are very hard to manage due to the specific circumstances that surround them.
The best approach here is to identify whether the conflict is personal or due to something work-related like creative differences.
From then on, you can do your best to investigate and help your team members to resolve their differences.
10. Make the workdays more enjoyable
One of the best ways to manage your staff comes from a surprising place. Because a little fun can go a long way.
And sure, team buildings and company parties are awesome. But can they amend the work-related stress that has been accumulating for months? No, they can’t.
That is why it is important to figure out ways to make your day-to-day time in the office more enjoyable.
Have short conversations with your team members, go to lunch with them, ask them about their interests and what music they like.
And of course, any budget that can be utilized in this direction is more than welcome.
Key takeaways for successful team management:
- Lead by example. Practice the behavior you expect from your team members.
- Be consistent in your style of management. Always encourage or criticize the same kinds of behavior.
- Learn to communicate effectively with your team. Eliminate communication blockers.
- Set clear weekly, monthly, or yearly goals for your team.
- Get to know the members of your team to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
- Be approachable and easy to find so your team members can talk to you.
- Encourage your team to share their views and ideas with you.
- Revamp how you delegate tasks in order to cultivate learning experiences.
- When conflicts in the office arise, investigate ASAP and resolve the situation.
- Find ways to make your workdays more enjoyable for your team to keep them happy.