Managing your own team can be stressful and challenging, but with the right core skills, you’ll be able to push through the hard times with ease. Below are six must-haves to successfully manage your team and make sure everyone’s on the same page as you are.
1) Effective Communication
An old saying applies here: If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. Clear and regular communication with your team is a necessity for all managers. While face-to-face meetings are preferred, email works fine as long as you respond promptly to any questions or comments when they aren’t possible. If you communicate via email, take care not to assume that your staff members will be able to interpret lengthy messages, complicated sentences or acronyms; simplify your message whenever possible and break it down into smaller chunks. That way, you won’t have anyone reaching out for clarification!
Using jargon and abbreviations that only you or your friends understand is a great way to confuse everyone on your team—and destroy any semblance of effective communication. Don’t assume that anyone will be able to decipher your lingo; take care not to use language (no matter how informal) that’s unfamiliar or confusing, even if it’s commonly used in other departments or teams.
2) Time Management
Time is everything; five minutes make the difference between victory and defeat, said Napoleon Bonaparte. If you’re not careful, these five minutes can pile up until they’re eating into valuable time you could use for brainstorming with your team or building new products. To manage your time better, start small. For example, if you know that mornings are busiest for you, start scheduling meetings in the late afternoon instead. Another strategy: Keep lists of tasks and deadlines in one place so you’ll be able to see what’s coming up down the road and better plan ahead. No matter how busy life gets, don’t lose sight of what’s important (or what’s right under your nose). But don’t forget about balance!
3) Goal Setting
To set realistic goals for yourself, as well as for your team. As a manager, you’re going to be leading projects, managing staff and creating visions of success. In order to be successful at all of these things, you need to accomplish goal setting. People who are skilled at goal setting have high levels of self-motivation and are typically more successful than those who aren’t. If your employees fail at goal setting, it could lead to low morale among your team members, which can ruin an entire business or project.
4) Conflict Resolution
One of your biggest responsibilities as a manager is monitoring and following up with projects, tasks, and milestones. Some managers will have no problem remembering everything they need to follow up on, while others may try and fail. Either way, you must master your follow-up skills to ensure accountability throughout your team or organization. To get started, write down three steps you can take today to be better at following up.
Now that you’ve identified your three follow-up steps keep using them for one week. Did you stay on top of everything? If not, what happened? Did you miss a crucial step? If so, why did it happen? Were there distractions preventing you from remembering your tasks or promptly following up with team members?
5) Follow Up Skills
Communication and follow up skills are key for managers. As a leader, you want your employees to stay focused on their tasks without checking in too often. When they do reach out, you need to be clear, concise and direct with your communication. Keeping everyone on track also requires following up frequently so you can set realistic deadlines and expectations while ensuring that tasks are getting done efficiently and effectively.
Be open and approachable, but only when it’s necessary. Letting employees know that you’re available for questions or concerns is good practice, but stopping by their desk on a regular basis or making yourself overly available at all hours of the day can make employees feel like they can’t do their job without your constant supervision. Know when to give advice and when to let them work things out themselves.
6) Remain Focused
When managing your team, it can be hard to stay focused. There’s so much going on! It’s important to keep an eye on your long-term goals when managing your team. Make sure you don’t get overwhelmed with day-to-day details and never lose sight of those goals. From there, it gets easier—you just need a plan. Be sure you define what success looks like, identify your priorities, and develop tactics based on those two things. Once that happens, you can focus on leading by example (and helping others help themselves).
One of the best ways to do that is by communicating effectively with your team. It may sound straightforward, but it’s not easy for all managers. Do you find yourself beating around the bush, saying something without actually getting your point across? There are several reasons why people don’t communicate well, and a simple solution can help. Learning how to Tell Don’t Ask helps you be more clear and concise in communication with your team members, so they feel comfortable asking questions when they need further clarification. That helps everyone communicate more efficiently.
To conclude, you can effectively manage your team by setting clear expectations, being an active listener and making time for one-on-one meetings. When your employees feel that they have a personal connection with their boss, it fosters trust and makes them more likely to be creative problem solvers. Effective leadership is vital when managing any group; make sure you have these tools in your toolbox!
Rohit Chandiramani is the CEO of London Business Training & Consulting, specialized in providing management courses. Having completed his MBA, not only is Rohit a student of Business and Management, but through his firm has also facilitated the delivery of the subject matter to hundreds of learners over the years. A regular trekker, he likes to scale greater heights in the Himalayas, and in the world of business.