Any managerial role is both demanding and rewarding. Even so, regardless of industry, it's not enough to simply be competent within your field - a manager needs to tick all the boxes. Not only are you responsible for your own work, but also for the work of others and how it all fits into the bigger picture of company goals.
To do this effectively, you need to be able to look beyond the task at hand and see the people behind it. Seems easy enough, right?
The bitter truth is that we don't always get along. Personalities clash, stress can take its toll, and sometimes people just have a different way of dealing with things, which isn't easy to accept. Yet as a manager, you need to be able to not only lead and oversee, but also handle and solve conflict, while retaining authority and respect. Here's a few tips on how to go about effective team management.
1. Build and maintain working relationships
Working as a team isn't only about being a part of the same corporate structure and engaging in some light-hearted banter on your lunch break. A healthy relationship in a professional environment is equally important as on a personal level. Building and maintaining healthy working relationships is one of the best investments you can make in your career. It's about more than just getting along. Getting to know people in your team will increase trust, communication, and consequently team dynamics.
2. Ensure healthy and open communication
Ineffective communication can be one of the most damaging things for any workplace. And it's not just about politeness or friendly banter during lunch hour with your colleagues. Healthy and effective communication means that everyone in the team can feel like they are in the loop. Keeping people up-to-date with developments, involving them in decision making or simply taking their feedback into consideration adds so much value. Dissatisfaction and any potential issues need to be communicated clearly and as soon as possible to avoid problems further down the road. As a manager, you are responsible for initiating and maintaining good communication.
3. Be decisive and strong-willed
Managing isn't just about telling people what to do and overseeing things. One of the most important traits that any manager needs to have is being decisive. Leadership requires the ability to know when to step in and make important decisions. Decisiveness isn't always easy and more often than not it takes guts. Most importantly, you need to have confidence in your decisions as your team will sense any uncertainty thus creating space for concern.
4. Anticipate and manage conflict
To effectively manage a team, you need to have a knack for sensing tension before it surfaces. It's much easier to manage issues before they have escalated. Even if you find yourself in the middle of a conflict situation, it's the role of a manager to keep a cool head. Avoid taking sides, instead solve problems individually with team members and assure everyone of a solution.
5. Be relatable
It's impossible to earn the trust and respect of your team if you find yourself sitting on an ivory tower. While there is a reason why you are the manager, don't get carried away with privileges and remember that you are still a part of a greater thing. Your teammates will expect leadership and decisiveness, and someone to turn to in case of uncertainty, but nobody expects you to know everything, only make the right decisions, and never fail. Remember to be relatable and admit when you don't know something.
6. Assign tasks based on competence
Favouritism doesn't play well in any circumstance and it definitely shouldn't be a part of your toolset, when managing a team. As a manager it's your job to determine who will perform a task most effectively based on their skillset. Building relationships with your team members and getting to know them as people will help immensely. But above everything else, be observant and take what you have observed into account when assigning tasks.
7. Acknowledge and appreciate
Many employees who are good at their job and overall are satisfied with the company they work in can be easily discouraged by lack of appreciation and acknowledgement that their management show towards their work. Whatever the role, every person deserves recognition for the work they do. Feedback is key, and highlighting positives encourage, inspire, and motivate.
8. Be the change you want to see
Or in other words - set example! Actions do speak louder than words and unless you possess the qualities that you require from others, don't expect people to follow. Being an embodiment of the company ethics will inspire your team members to follow suit.