The next-level team management skills you need for success
Growing companies and organizations require sophisticated management. However, managing people is a difficult endeavor. Especially if we make the assumption that people generally don’t like to be managed and bossed around.
The modern workplace has evolved. And we need to refine our idea of managing the modern knowledge workers if we want to be successful. So what skills and qualities do you need to add to your managerial “toolbox” in order to do that?
Here we will revisit the essential managerial skills you need in order to lead a successful team. Then we will take a look at some new out-of-the-box ideas that will give you the edge in managing the new generations.
Table of Contents
The basic team management skills (revisited)
Let’s take a look at some classic examples of team management skills and figure out if we need to add something in the context of the modern work environment. These are the basics that you need to master and elevate in order to lead a modern team.
Clear, effective communication is essential. But lately, you are probably communicating online a lot more than you used to. This means that you really have to step up your written communication.
You have to make a conscious effort to write short straightforward sentences and structure your ideas and views in a way that is easy to understand. This will save your team time and effort. Consider taking a copywriting course to improve your written communication.
It is easy to place for the things you expect. But what about the things that you don’t? For instance, what will your company do if suddenly a new and promising competitor emerged? In today’s volatile economic landscape, planning has to go beyond what we think is likely to happen. A good manager always thinks in perspective.
There is a saying that management is all about delegation. While this may be true, how you delegate tasks is also of crucial importance. The next time you give somebody a job to do, make sure to share your vision and expectations.
Explain your reasoning behind it and ask the person about their views. This way you will engage them in the process and they will be a lot more eager and excited to complete the work.
There is good feedback, there is negative feedback. And then there is effective feedback. Remember that all feedback you give should be conducive to progress achieving excellent work.
The art of giving feedback as a manager is to make it look like it’s not feedback at all but rather an open discussion in which ideas come out and you work together to achieve an even better outcome.
This is a complex and hard-to-acquire skill because it relies on many factors such as industry knowledge and experience. It all comes down to your ability to think in a creative and inventive way.
That is why you need to keep your mind sharp by nourishing it with useful information, research, actively seeking new ideas.
As a manager, making decisions is part of your job. But we are lucky to have access to tons of free information and scientific research. The decisions that you make, no matter if big or small, can be backed up by science and examples from around the world.
If you have to make a decision, there is a good chance that somebody has already done something similar. And you can learn from their experience.
The 4 traits of a great modern leader
In essence, being a good manager is being a good leader. And you have to embrace this role and see yourself as a person who people are willing to follow. Sure, at first this idea might seem a little intimidating but leadership is what sets apart a good manager and a great manager. This said, let’s take a look at the qualities that you need to acquire in order to become a great modern leader.
1. Taking ownership
Taking ownership is a concept that goes beyond responsibility. You have to purposefully and personally take ownership of how your team is performing. The quality of the work they do should correspond to the standards that you have set up.
And if somebody is not performing as they should, then you have to do everything in your capabilities to help them achieve the desired standard of work.
We admire people who are strong, smart, brave, and take action. But we also want to follow people who are good at heart and care about others.
So a little kindness can go a long way. If you are nice to the people you manage, you will boost their morale. They would not want to disappoint you so they will do their best effort to do great work.
3. Constant learning
No matter what stage of life you are at, never stop learning new things. Take the time to read and explore. Let your natural curiosity about the world lead you. Read new books, acquire new skills, research the topics you find interesting.
Continue to develop your persona. Expand your knowledge and wisdom in order to guide the people you are supposed to lead.
4. Empowering people
One way you can look at a management role is being a boss. You are not imagining it, being a boss indeed has a negative connotation. So let us reframe the idea entirely. Your job might be to boss people around but your purpose is to help people do their best work.
This means that you have to offer them all the support and knowledge that you are capable of. Being a great leader means that you have to become the most resourceful member of the team in order to empower the people you work with.
How to improve team management skills in 3 simple steps
There is a good chance that you are already great at some of the things mentioned above. But in case there are some areas that you can improve, then here are a few simple steps that you can follow to quickly make positive changes:
1. Identify your flaws - Just make a check-list of your team management skills and highlight the areas that you need to improve in order to be a better manager.
2. Look for resources and support - There are books, courses, and professional training available that can help you improve in those areas.
3. Form new habits - Practice makes perfect. Take the knowledge you have acquired and put it into action.
(For example, if you can’t even remember when was the last time you gave some constructive feedback to your team members, then you can work around that. Simply review the recent work of your team members and schedule individual meetings in order to discuss their performance and exchange ideas. You can turn this into a regular work habit. Keep it professional but show your team members that you personally care about their success.)
The new team management skills “toolbox”
So what else is there other than the essential team handling skills? After all, this is just the baseline of being good at managing people. But is there anything else that you can add to your personal managerial “toolbox” that will help you and your team to achieve great work?
1. Detect issues
Work-related issues emerge in any work environment. But how you deal with them speaks volumes about what kind of person you are. However, with experience and a little bit of foresight, you might be able to start detecting issues before they even bubble up to the surface. Resolving them as soon as possible is crucial to preserving a healthy workplace and co-worker dynamics.
2. Discover potential
If detecting issues is fishing for the “negative”, then we could argue that discovering potential is an active search for positive and constructive ideas. You can think in a way that allows you to see a better way of how things could be. For example, you can see the potential in the people you work with to do even greater work if they acquire new skills.
3. Shield your team
Another ability that you can acquire is to act as the shield of your time. You navigate your team but you also protect them from the harsh aspects of the industry you operate in. For instance, if you receive some worrisome information, share it with your team when you also have ideas for possible resolutions of the problems.
4. Alignment and balance of goals
The goals of your company might differ compared to the individual goals of your teammates. That is why you need to understand the personal motivations of the people you work with and do your best to find a middle ground between what they want to achieve professionally and the targets that have been set.
If you manage to find the balance, then you will have a base of content knowledge workers who will likely stick with your company.
- The essential team management skills include communication, planning, delegation, giving feedback, decision-making, and problem-solving.
- Be objective toward yourself and work to improve your managerial skills in case you have some weak points.
- To improve your skills, identify your flaws, look for resources and support, and form new habits that will help you reinforce your new knowledge.
- As a manager of people, aim to be a good person and a reliable person that others want to follow.