Team management can take many different forms. You can be the owner of a company, management at any level, a supervisor, or just taking the lead on a project. Any level will have its own set of challenges, and all will take leadership skills.
Not everyone is a born leader. Getting past the insecurity and trepidations will allow you to reach the goals that the company and you set.
Team management is a process where you guide, and sometimes work with, a group of people to achieve a common goal, product or target. There are some fundamentals that will apply at any level, whether you are an in-office group like those you would find at the Calgary Business Centre, or our virtual offices in Calgary.
For you and the project or company to succeed, everyone needs to know their particular role, to whom they report, expectations, how they interact, and when to make adjustments. If you cannot explain these things, you will probably fail. You also need to recognize when whatever you have said or written is not understood and have the ability to rephrase it in terms that gives everyone clarity.
This is greater than gathering in a meeting. You need to be able to listen actively and absorb constructive feedback and allow information to flow among all the participants. There are some apps and programs that can help, like Slack for real-time communication and Google Hangouts for video meetings.
Trust is a critical element. Not only does the entire team need to trust your judgement, but you need to trust the team to do their jobs well and trust each other to cooperate successfully. To do this, encourage respect for each other. If an individual does not feel that their contributions are respected, effectiveness and efficiency suffer.
It is possible that there will be aspects of the project that you will be unable to share. You need to cultivate mutual trust so that the rest of the team continues to cooperate as necessary.
If you build the team correctly, you will have a group that can perform their specific tasks as suited to their abilities and education while supporting each other and sometimes crossing functions. This allows maximum efficiency to hit the target within the time and budget as well as building back up and support along the way.
In order for this to work, you need as much information about the employees as possible. In this way, you can identify their specific skills, how they can most be effective, how they will emotionally or mentally handle the challenges, and how they will work in the group. Especially in small groups, personalities play a large part.
As you speak with your team individually and as a whole, explain what each party brings to the table and expectations long and short term. If you find yourself missing some role, avoid adding another employee at random. If there is no appropriate candidate, consider allowing the rest of the team to find ways to resolve the hole.
There are other ways that you demonstrate your leadership skills. This includes doing grunt work as well as the upper-level responsibilities. It also means you are ultimately responsible. Even if one of the team members messed up, you are the leader, and that means you find a way to fix the problem and move forward. Concentrate on solutions, not blame.
Allow time for rejuvenation. Make sure there is enough time to blow off steam and avoid burnout.
As mentioned previously, active listening is a skill that cannot be overlooked. You need to understand what the team is saying and follow up with clear instructions or guidance.
Listening is harder than it seems. There is a tendency to start forming a response while others are still speaking. Try to hear the entire story and pause to put your mind in order and compute what was said. Give them a chance to finish the entire thought.
At the conclusion of your meeting, restate the issue or problem, the resolution, or action steps. This allows both or all parties to be sure that the message is understood and who will do what.
There are a number of very good management tools that can help everyone stay on track and be aware of progress or lack thereof. The right software will aid communication and allow everyone along the line to have access to the information necessary to complete the task. Just be sure that it doesn’t take all your time to update the charts and steal those valuable hours from completing the task at hand.
Look for a package that allows the goals and progress, including milestones. Cloud storage is essential. Because we are mobile and remote working options, the ability to access the information anywhere using a laptop, phone, or PC is primary. There are many programs available, and here are a few.
• Monday.com – This is easy to use and understand. It offers customization for dashboards, breakdown of tasks, and timeline. There is also a free trial period.
• Podio – This has a lot of setup but the tradeoff is customization. It will take some tech abilities to navigate but has lots of features and tools. It is free for up to five users. You can upgrade at very little expense.
• Scoro – This is attractive because of its features like a shared calendar, time tracking, file sharing, a section for comments on tasks, and others.
• Google Drive – With real-time updates, this means the team always has the latest information. Comment sections allow for feedback and suggestions.
As you are pulling together your team, investigate the software options that will best fit your organization and the project. If you have the right software loaded at the outset, you will be giving your project a leg up. If possible, get trial versions of your top choices.
Put all of this together, and you will find team management easier than you thought.