So you’ve got yourself a team to manage. You have a vision of how your team produces results, you’ve read Google’s guide on understanding team effectiveness and you’ve got the departmental plan as a framework. It all looks good in theory… however, in reality, the path to ensuring your team’s success isn’t an open, straight road.
The (traditional) success drivers for individuals; ‘reward, recognition, and pay’ is unlikely to be successful in a team setting. If you were to implement it, you’d have individuals working in a team but with personal goals, looking for personal gain. This leaves your team success efforts out in the cold.
This is more than an existential thought topic, though. Is knowing that there’s no “I” in team enough of a head start to ensure your team’s success?
Here are some effective team management tips to help figure out where you stand:
Teamwork or a team that works?
Decide which of the two team building objectives (mentioned above) you want to accomplish. What type of team do you want to build? What drives your decision? What is your team’s purpose?
Once you have the answers, it will be easier for you to outline how you want to improve efforts, implement practices and work towards improving results for your customers (shared end goal).
How do you work?
The way you work can set the tone for your team’s success. It’s always a good idea to self-evaluate. Your role as a manager doesn’t have to have a negative implication, you just need to be ready to pivot.
Are you proactive with feedback? Do you acknowledge and reward individuals for a job well done? Do you promote sharing? Being honest here will only enable you to be a more effective manager. After all, leading a team is part managing different egos. And this includes your own.
Get to know your team
Take the time to know the people who make up your team. This allows you to maximise each individual’s strengths and embrace differences.
When you have a clear grasp on how each team member works, you can confidently define responsibilities and adjust individual roles as you go along. You may even be helping someone figure out their significance.
Context and expectations
Does the company have a constant purpose for your team? Do each of your team members understand why the team was set up? What part does your team play in the company’s vision, values, and business goals?
Once the expectations are clear and acknowledged by executive management – your team needs context. Make sure everyone is clear about the culture, why they’re part of your team and why they are important.
Brainstorm team strategies
Do you have a clear vision for your team’s success? Has upper management made their expectations clear? This will be the cornerstone that helps you define your strategy.
Get your team members involved in the process from the start. Set up a brainstorming session to set your team’s mission. With the mission, go about setting ground rules and conflict resolution strategies.
Discuss how opposing opinions will be dealt with, how processes will be improved and how goals will be measured. The key is to make sure everyone is comfortable and willing to cooperate with the processes you implement.
Translate department plans
Dive right into the process, new manager. What you need to dissect is how your department’s plan is relevant to each individual team member. With that knowledge, you can create a template that identifies each person’s goals and objectives.
Create a document for each team member and revisit it during every performance review. This ‘Goals and Objectives’ sheet is sort of like a personal development checklist that shows your team member he/she is valued and that their progress has a purpose in a departmental and ‘big picture’ sense.
Team outside of work
Building your team and fostering relationships doesn’t just take place between the four walls of your office space. It’s also good to nurture team relationships in a more casual setting. Instead of taking up their personal time, set up team lunches or use the lunch hour for a more casual catch-up with individual team members.
Keep in mind that positivity breeds positivity which brings out positive behaviour. Use this opportunity to set the tone for your team the right way. You can also set up an honesty hour (or half an hour to start) session. During this time, everyone can speak freely, raise concerns or questions and voice out feedback in a “safe zone.”
Embracing and empowering the people you lead will go a long way towards building and ensuring your team’s success. But first, the duty lies with you to pay attention to the factors we’ve outlined here. To get their commitment, you’ve got to put in commitment. One last tip, remember work and value are mission critical.