Just been put in charge of a new team? Learn how best to manage your workers.
- Learn four methods and practices for managing a team.
- Discover what skills make a good team manager.
- Explore how to improve your team management skills.
When you start a new management position, you might feel overwhelmed. It can be intimidating to establish your authority among employees you've never worked with or those you don't know very well.
If you want your team to trust and respect you, you need to build a professional relationship with them, learning about their interests and needs as workers. Whether you're in a new role at your existing company or joining a new company, here are four tips for managing a new team from Vip Sandhir, CEO and founder of HighGround.
1. Schedule brief one-on-one meetings.
Get to know your workers individually, and learn their strengths, weaknesses, goals and priorities. Familiarize yourself with your new team with one-on-one meetings so you can understand how best to manage them.
"By scheduling frequent meetings with employees, managers are proving that they care about their [employees'] development," Sandhir said. "Plus, it gives managers the opportunity to communicate changes so that the entire team is working towards shared goals."
2. Determine how employees prefer to give and receive feedback.
Feedback allows workers to understand what is expected of them, what they're doing well and what they need to work on. While the process might be intimidating to your employees, as a manager, you can alleviate tension by listening to your team's preferences.
"Personalize how you deliver feedback based on employees' needs," Sandhir said. "During these conversations, managers should also determine how each employee prefers to receive feedback and tailor their management style accordingly."
When you provide feedback, make sure each member knows that you have their best interests in mind, both professionally and personally. This will make them more receptive to feedback and encourage them to share their own thoughts.
"Give employees the opportunity to provide honest feedback on managers' performance so they can course-correct where necessary," Sandhir said.
He recommended that managers ask their team members about their wants and needs from the company, the issues they face and their workload to prompt a conversation.
"Act as a coach instead of a dictator to ensure employees feel comfortable providing feedback on their own performance, as well as your own progress as their supervisor," Sandhir added.
3. Establish open communication.
Open communication breeds new ideas and collaboration, which are crucial for any team. Each person should feel they have a voice at the company, no matter their position.
"It's an important step toward establishing that the new manager simply isn't a taskmaster but an advocate for team members' professional development and growth," Sandhir said.
4. Gauge current roadblocks, and offer solutions.
As a new manager, you might feel discouraged by any shortcomings or complications you face off the bat, but it's important to acknowledge any problems that arise and work with your team to solve them.
"Ideally, managers aren't going into situations where they're blindsided by serious issues," Sandhir said. "However, if they're unexpectedly confronted with problems on a team, they might actually be at an advantage. New managers arrive with a clean slate and can ask honest questions about the issues."
Don't be afraid to turn to your team members for support or guidance; you are a team, after all.
What skills do you need to manage a team?
There are many skills that are necessary to be a manager, but it is more important to think about what makes you a good leader. If you cannot lead, your team won't go anywhere. Plus, any skill that makes you a good leader will also make you a great manager. Here are four important leadership skills managers should focus on:
Integrity: If your team members see you doing the right thing for the right reasons, regardless of who is watching, they will follow suit. You set the standard for your team.
Communication: When you communicate often and provide regular feedback, your team will feel supported and motivated. This communication can come in many forms, including email, text messages and even conversations at the water cooler. Take advantage of your ability to communicate to ensure expectations are clear.
Time management: Work efficiently, and respect your team members' time as well. If you plan meetings that could have been emails, you're not managing your team's time well. Set deadlines, let your timeline evolve and always have an agenda.
Adaptability: By adapting to changes, your team can adjust their goals and tweak their plans. Do not be afraid of change, but always be prepared for it. With your team, stay positive about any changes that arise.
How do you improve team management skills?
Team management is a skill that has to be practiced. If you want to improve, shadow people you consider good leaders. What makes them stand out? Whether the person is a manager at your company or your favorite movie character, think about how they do what they do. Look at sports teams and their coaches and star athletes. Read books by your favorite managers and directors. Soak up as much information as you can, and use those examples to learn what fits with your personal management style. What works for Bill Gates might not work for you. It will take time to improve, but the only way to do so is to practice.