Managing a Team and Being an Effective Team Leader

Managing a Team and Being an Effective Team Leader
February 16, 2016 Joe Vernon

“Leaders are people who do the right things; managers are people who do the things right.”

Warren G. Bennis

An effective team manager does not only focus on managing the team, but also focuses on inspiring and leading the team. This requires building a relationship with and being respected by each team member, rather than them fearing you and the possible consequences.  

An effective team manager is a leader who brings out the skills and talents of their team. Enables their team to believe their true potential, strive for success, and ultimately achieve it. But how does a team manager become an effective one? Here are six skills that every manager should learn to be an effective team manager.

Delegation

As a team manager you’ll get asked to do a lot. From small run-of-the-mill tasks to larger more time consuming tasks. However, every moment it takes to complete a task adds up and before you know it, you’ve fallen behind and your team is struggling. This is why delegation is such an important skill.

A team manager knows their limits. Do you know yours? Even before you’ve reached your limits, you should be finding out how to task others with items to complete. This gives your team members a purpose and gets them off to a great start.

Identify who to assign what by matching people on your team with tasks based off of their skill set. We do this with Unifusion by entering our producers and labeling them by their specialities.

If you are having a difficult time matching people and tasks, use the BALM method.

  • B – Breakdown: First understand the goal and tactics needed
  • A – Analyze and list the competencies required to perform each task
  • L – List the competencies of each team member
  • M – Match Individuals to task competencies

Motivation

It seems that people think they are more of a motivation than they really are. Maybe this is because they are full of themselves, maybe it is because they mean to motivate but are overwhelmed with their day-to-day. Whatever the reason may be, it is tough to tell. But whatever the roadblock to being a motivator is, there are a few small things that can be done to motivate a team.

Start off by complimenting others and rewarding them for a job well done. If you need to, write a reminder on a post-it note and put it where you’ll see it every day or set a reminder on your phone to get up and compliment someone. By complimenting your team, you are showing them that you value them and making them feel more important with each compliment. However, it is important to be genuine with your compliments.

Additionally, don’t make them feel guilty or ashamed when a mistake is made. Remind them that mistakes are made daily and it is all part of the learning process. Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”.

If all else fails, say “thank you” more often.

Communication

Communication from managers to team members can often be a tough one, especially if your team members don’t respect you. However, no matter who the personality type is, an effective team manager is able to communicate with everyone.

To be an effective communicator within a team you will need to take a diplomatic approach, and learn to be politically and authentically correct. You will need to provide clear expectations with your team, and a direct and consistent way to communicate with the team (I say, “Clear Expectations & Consistent Communications”). Although, sharing too much information can be a problem as well, so be decisive on what information needs to be shared and what does not.

Conflict Resolution

While you may not want to use this skill too often, it should be one of your finest skills because a good team will often have good conversations and strategies that may result in conflicting opinions. As a manager, you will need to lead them to a solution and resolve the conflict.

If a team member isn’t satisfied with the resolution and acts out, you may have to take your conflict resolution skills a step further and have a one-on-one discussion to identify the problem. If any conflict escalates to this, be sure that you remember that is is conflict resolution and not punishment.

If you are not sure the situation needs a more focused conversation, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Does the issue affect the quality of the employee’s deliverable?
    • Does the issue adversely impact the cohesiveness of the team?
    • Does the issue unnecessarily undermine the interest of other individuals in the team?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these three questions then a more focused conversation may be needed.

Listening & Note Taking

Part of showing your team you value them, and your clients, is actively listening to them. This means not just hearing what they are saying, but:

  • Focusing on them
  • Asking questions
  • Taking notes

Taking notes is very important. Remember, tasks add up and new bits of information consistently flow into your brain and it is often too much for one person to remember. Taking notes allows you to remember these bits of information and proactively address immediate needs and requirements to help the team be successful.

Be a Team Player (Have Fun)

Very few people don’t want to have fun. Though having fun can be tough especially if the team is lacking in respect for eachother. Be sure your team is respectful and do this by:

    • Demonstrate support by helping out others when needed
    • Demonstrate motivation and open communication
    • Demonstrate that being on a team is fun

If you start to notice your team is wearing out, take a step back with your team and have a breather. Plan a team lunch, happy hour, or even a walk. Simple things like a team lunch can encourage everyone and lift each other’s spirits.
Having a tough time keeping your team happy and motivated? Share your questions with us on Twitter.