10 Tips to Improve Your Team Management Skills
As the name suggests, team management is the process of managing a team.
To expand, team management is a series of steps and processes that an individual can take to manage a group of co-workers or employees. This is done to achieve designated goals and ensure employee satisfaction levels remain high.
Team management can be:
- A short-term process – Someone heads a team of people in a single project
- A long-term process – An individual is the head of a team or department in a more permanent sense
There are many reasons why it is useful to be able to manage a team well.
Not only is it important for ensuring that tasks are completed and deadlines are hit, there are also many benefits to employee satisfaction levels and the company as a whole.
Making sure that team managers have the skills to ensure that they are successful in their role can improve the overall success of a business.
When employees know what is expected of them and feel appreciated, they are generally more satisfied in their work. This boosts morale and increases feelings of positivity within both individuals and the team as a whole.
Managers who have good team management skills are generally good communicators. This creates a better environment for communication within the workplace.
Employees know what is expected of them and understand the processes in place. They are also aware of the communication channels open to them if they have an issue which needs to be resolved.
When employees are happy with the team management system in place, they are likely to be happy in their work.
Happy employees are less likely to look for work elsewhere, so staff retention statistics will improve and staff turnover will drop.
A well-managed team is a positive place to be. Staff members feel listened to and encouraged, they know what they need to do and what their responsibilities are.
All of this helps to create a more enjoyable working environment and a positive working culture.
There are many skills and habits that come under the umbrella of team management. Not all of them will be useful in every situation, and each manager will find their own management style over time.
There are, however, a few things that every team manager can do to improve their management style and help them to find their individuality.
The success of a team will largely depend on whether or not you have the right people doing the right things. It is vital to hire the right people before a project begins.
Make sure you know the type of person you are looking for to fill each role and spend some time researching interview questions that relate to the personality type and specialist skills that you want.
All of this information will help you to know whether someone is likely to be a good fit for your team. It will also allow you to identify which team members are best for each role within a project.
One of the most important things that a manager can do is delegate tasks. This isn’t as simple as it sounds and definitely isn’t just the process of giving projects to individuals within a team.
To be a good delegator, you need to understand the strengths of the individuals who make up your team. This will enable you to delegate tasks to the people who can complete them to the highest standard.
Poor delegation can lead to hold ups, confusion and incomplete tasks.
As a general rule, people work better when they know what they need to achieve and how to achieve it. This is why many companies have noticed an increase in motivation, performance and morale when they keep goals smaller and easily measurable.
By doing this, staff members are able to easily see how well they are performing in relation to their targets. They are then able to motivate themselves to carry on. By keeping the goals relatively small, tasks feel less overwhelming and more achievable.
It is vital for staff members to feel as though they can approach their team manager with any issues.
Having consistent, open lines of communication will give people the confidence to voice when they have a problem or when something is worrying them. This could be a situation related to a specific project or a conflict with another team member.
The most important thing is for staff members to know how to communicate with their manager and for them to trust that their concerns will be followed up and dealt with appropriately.
Everybody likes to know when they have done well. Generally, people will also be keen to celebrate the achievements of their colleagues.
Make sure that you take the time to celebrate the little wins as well as the big ones. Even something as simple as an email to a team member who has performed well has the potential to boost their morale and encourage them to carry on putting effort into a project. When people feel as though their hard work isn’t being recognized, they will be less motivated to work hard.
Regular feedback is one of the easiest ways of keeping a team motivated. People like to hear that they are doing well as it makes them feel their efforts are recognized and valued.
Providing feedback doesn’t have to be done in a structured way. Although it is a good idea to implement regular performance reviews, feedback can be given at any time. If someone does well, tell them. They will appreciate it.
It can be tempting to put in a lot of additional hours or not take regular breaks when you become a team manager.
You may feel that you need to be available to your team members constantly and perhaps even feel guilty for taking breaks or not immediately answering calls. However, habits like this can end up doing more harm than good.
If you don’t create a healthy, consistent work schedule, you are at risk of burning out. You will feel less motivated and other areas of your life will begin to suffer, such as personal relationships.
The best team managers are those who have a good, consistent work-life balance. They understand the importance of being available to their team members while they are at work, but they will equally understand how vital it is to take time to switch off and recharge.
After all, as the saying goes, ‘You can’t fill from an empty cup.’
Just as it is important to set clear work-life boundaries to ensure you are feeling consistently motivated and enthusiastic about work, it is also important to carefully manage the time that you spend working.
By becoming an effective time manager, you will find that you can get more done in less time. You will be able to streamline processes and increase productivity.
Increased productivity allows you to stick to your working schedule more often and are less likely to eat into that precious ‘home’ time by needing to complete tasks that should have been done during the working day.
All of this means you will be better able to help team members with their issues, as you can schedule time to offer feedback and resolve issues as they arise.
It doesn’t matter how carefully you build a team or how much thought you put into the different personalities involved, conflicts will happen. Different people will react differently in situations, and this can lead to misunderstandings, feelings of resentment, arguments and dissatisfaction.
Resolving conflicts as quickly as possible can reduce the negative feelings of team members. This enables everyone to work better together and avoids reductions in morale or productivity.
Team building exercises are a useful tool for any team manager. This doesn’t have to involve big events outside of the workplace. There are a number of short exercises that can be done as part of the working day.
Taking the time for team building exercises can improve communication between team members, employee relationships, staff morale and overall team satisfaction.
Although each manager will be slightly different, playing to their own strengths and abilities, there are several practices that can be considered useful rules to follow:
If you have been given the role of team manager for the first time, the first thing you should do is research everything that you can about the project you are involved in.
If you already have a team of people working with you, this research should involve finding out everything that you can about your team.
If you are going to need to hire people, researching the project will tell you the types of individuals you will be looking for during the hiring process.
The exact skills that a team manager needs will vary depending on the needs of their team and their company. The most important skill of any team manager is communication.
The ability to communicate effectively will pave the way for improvements in other areas and ensure that team members are aware of what is required of them at all times.
Other useful skills for team managers include:
As a team manager, you will be responsible not only for organizing your own workload, but also that of the people who work for you.
Staying organized gives each team member the information they need to undertake their role efficiently. You will also be able to easily identify how well a project is progressing and report this back to your superiors.
As previously discussed, delegation is an important skill for a team manager to possess. It is impossible for one person to do everything all of the time, and there will be situations that require input from other team members or specialists.
A good team manager will need to be able to identify when a task can be delegated to another team member and have a deep understanding of the individual skills and strengths of all members.
It’s a fact of life that not everything will run smoothly all of the time. This is no different for those working in team management roles. Issues will occur and these will need to be resolved.
Team managers need to be skilled at finding solutions to unexpected problems. They must have an understanding of the relevant outside agencies that can become involved in a project if it can’t be handled by the original team.
They also need to think outside of the box and consider more unusual options of solving a problem if traditional methods don’t work.
You probably already have the abilities you need to be a good team manager – you just don’t realize it yet. Most of the skills of an effective manager can be practiced.
There are plenty of courses and team management books that can give you theoretical knowledge of what being a team manager will involve, but in most cases the best way to learn is through practice.
Volunteer for roles that require you to lead a project and offer to do things that put you in a position of authority.
Spending time doing these things will boost your confidence and reinforce the skills you will need when you are in a team manager role.
The skills for effective team management might vary slightly depending on the needs of the company and the industry involved, but the importance of these skills should never be underestimated.
Having team managers who can implement the appropriate management actions within their teams and projects can significantly improve a company’s performance and boost staff morale in the long term.