Helping the talent on your team leverage their skills will result in better individual workers. Strengthening the way everyone works together through successful team management will take your business’ performance to a new level.
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The Importance Of Team Management
As former NFL executive Ted Sundquist stated, “Good teams incorporate teamwork into their culture, creating the building blocks for success.”
First and foremost, teamwork needs to be integrated into a business’s culture for success. The methods and techniques of team management can change with each project, but the virtue of effective teamwork and communication is the key to building toward a company’s vision.
Team management takes many forms. And since no two teams are alike, each team will require different levels of structure and various communication styles.
A good place to begin is by looking at the building blocks for success — the aspects of workforce management required for every leader to help achieve a group’s goals. Once this foundation has been set, then you can focus on the smaller details.
Here are a few critical features for successful team management:
- Leadership skills
- An understanding of communication styles
- Goal-setting skills
- Conflict and crisis management
- Time management
- Stress management
When broken down, team management heavily consists of communication, organization, delegation, and evaluation. Being able to speak openly with your team, stay on top of things, problem-solve, and manage the responsibilities of leadership is a great starting point.
Still, there is more to team management than being a good leader. Fostering a good team only results in success when the entire team is on board.
Not every team leader is fortunate to choose the people they manage, but creating a group of team-oriented individuals does not have to begin at the hiring process. Being able to instill strong teamwork skills in employees is another crucial part of a leader’s role.
Some important characteristics of a quality team are:
- Strong leadership
- Conflict resolution skills
- Willingness to collaborate
- Open communication
- Comfortable asking and answering questions
- Goal-oriented thinking
- Willingness to encourage others
While a team manager must lead the group to accomplish their objectives, it’s important to note that they are still a part of the team. It’s in everyone’s best interest to reach the goals of each task, and these goals are accomplished through effective team management.
Of course, implementing these team management skills and group collaboration does not offer immediate solutions, nor is it a one-size-fits-all answer to dilemmas. Creating a successful team takes practice, patience, and a willingness to learn and change.
Important Team Management Tips
Once the necessary building blocks have been established, the next step toward a successful team is analyzing specific needs, leveraging skills, and making sure the foundation of this teamwork stays in place.
To better understand and further develop this into the culture of your business, here are seven team management tips that will help everyone accomplish their goals.
1) Be Clear And Concise
Communication has been mentioned quite a few times above, but what exactly does it mean to communicate clearly and effectively?
- Provide your full attention: When a coworker is attempting to communicate something they feel is critical, it is discouraging if the person they are talking to is on their phone, listening to music, or engaged in any other distraction.
- Empathize: Although it is not reasonable to ask every employee to know exactly how their coworkers are feeling, it is helpful to understand that everyone thinks and feels differently. Trying to see a task through someone else’s eyes validates their viewpoint while also strengthening communication.
- Offer encouragement: This can be as simple as saying congratulations for a job well done.
- Use body language: Make eye contact, smile, and show that you are engaged in the conversation.
With team communication, active listening should be balanced with clear and concise responses to avoid confusion and manage time as best as possible.
However, if an individual does respond better to repetition or clarification, then it is best to over-explain rather than give a brief overview of a task. Encourage them to ask questions and finally ask, “Does this make sense?”
2) Criticize Constructively
Being part of a team means constantly helping individuals work on the skills that strengthen the group overall. While some members will have a keen eye for identifying their weaknesses and setting goals to improve them, not everyone will share this skill.
Providing constructive feedback does not mean offering brutal honesty. It is a form of support that helps people identify issues or weaknesses so they can better navigate these concerns more positively.
Constructive criticism can be broken down into a few simple steps:
- State your intent for bringing up this topic
- Describe what led you to address this matter
- Remind the team member of their strengths
- Provide ways that they can improve
- Offer a summary, including their strengths, the topic being discussed, and how they can work to improve their overall performance
Once they’ve understood why this is being brought to their attention and have been given ways to achieve their goals, meet back with them after a few weeks and ask how they feel about their progress.
3) Recognize Regularly
Recognition in the workplace comes in many forms because there are various levels of accomplishments to acknowledge and celebrate.
Whether a person did an exceptional job presenting at a meeting, recently got engaged, landed a major sale, or received a promotion, recognition boosts morale and leads to a more authentically positive space.
The list of ways to recognize a coworker is endless. So, here are just a few ideas:
- Get other coworkers to sign a card
- Offer a verbal congratulations during a team meeting
- Order a custom award stating their achievement
- Take them out to lunch
4) Prioritize Transparency
If you have ever felt like the words of a coworker don’t match the way they actually think of a task you’ve done, they might not be communicating in a transparent manner.
Transparency, as it relates to teamwork, is simply a more honest way for employees to connect while fostering responsibility and creativity.
Practicing transparency is intentionally sharing without oversharing. A company that fosters transparency will likely be open about things such as individual goals, company performance, and even salaries to promote workplace satisfaction and increase productivity.
5) Allow For Collaboration
Being part of a team does not mean everything is done in tandem. In fact, it is not uncommon for many companies to have the majority of their tasks completed by individuals rather than through group effort.
Still, the importance of collaboration should not be overlooked. Workers that feel more comfortable regularly interacting with others are likely to think creatively, find more meaning in their work, and stay with their team longer, which leads to decreased labor costs.
To best promote collaboration, consider the following:
- Reiterate the strengths of individuals
- Foster a creative work environment
- Cross-communicate team objectives
- As team management, collaborate with others and lead by example
- Invest in collaboration software
- Incentivize successful collaboration
Allowing for collaboration utilizes the unique skills of each coworker to obtain better results. Even if two workers are not part of the same team, encouraging cross-team collaboration can spark new ideas and solutions that would have otherwise never emerged.
6) Listen And Learn
Not every day will operate smoothly, even if you follow these tips exactly. As we’ve seen throughout 2020 and 2021, the workplace is constantly evolving and requires flexibility to retain success.
When change does happen, analyze its potential impacts and be open to what this might mean for the future. Ask your team how they feel about the implications of the event, and accept any feedback they might have as well.
A prime example of listening and learning is Adobe’s approach to the pandemic. After listening to the needs of employees, the computer software company decided it was best to switch to a digital-first work model.
This included fully remote work, hybrid work, and gathering in person for the necessary scenarios. A key takeaway for Adobe is this quote, which explains the future of work for every team member: “Flexibility will be the default.”
7) Utilize Available Software
One of the easiest ways for team management to collapse is through a lack of organization. Being able to properly store information such as tasks, schedules, team member contacts, and more will help you better plan and manage resource tools.
Management software, like Inch, can distribute tasks across employees, help your team get aligned on their to-dos, manage shift planning, and ensure that all work is covered and gets completed on time.
The role of team management wears several ever-changing hats. An innovative project management software can keep all of those hats in one place to build a more efficient, creative, and constructive team.
8) Strengthen Your Remote Management Skills
Team management in the 21st century means more than just interacting with employees in the office.
As distributed teams become the norm in businesses around the world, managers need to strengthen their remote management skills if they want to be successful. The strategies that work for in-person teams may not work as well — or at all — for hybrid and remote teams.
Because of the distance between you, the group, and its members, you’ll need to work hard to generate a sense of team among people who may never meet.
You can do this by:
- Finding (and using) tools to keep everyone connected and working on the same page
- Providing plenty of communication and explanation
- Encouraging team members to use video communication to talk outside of work
- Scheduling regular team and one-on-one meetings (both for work and for recreation)
If this seems like a tall task for your business, check out the Inch app and see how it can help you build your team for the better — regardless of where each employee lives.
9) Control The Workload
A big part of successful team management is controlling the workload so that it doesn’t overwhelm your employees.
Take the time to think about the assignments you’re making and try to delegate tasks — to the group or to the individual — that are practicable for everyone involved.
With a workload that’s enough but not too much, your team will feel like they’re making progress without being overwhelmed with all that’s left to do.
That makes for a more successful individual, team, project, and business.
For a more in-depth discussion on this unique administrative skill, check out this article from the Inch blog: 5 Steps To Effectively Managing Your Team’s Workload.
10) Distribute Work Evenly
As you work to improve your team management by controlling the workload, take it one step further and distribute the work evenly.
Doing so makes it easier to maximize the skills and experience of both the individuals and the team by:
- Enabling managers to match what needs to be done to the employee best suited to complete the work at a high level
- Helping your employees maintain their performance and productivity so they can deliver quality work and complete tasks faster
For more information on why work distribution is so important and how to make it work in your business, take a few minutes to read this article from the Inch blog: What Is Work Distribution And Why Is It Important?
11) Improve Morale
As part of your effort to improve team management, set aside time to focus on improving individual and team morale throughout your business.
Yes, morale is a nebulous quality, and it might be hard to tell exactly what your team is feeling at the moment. But when morale is low, both you and your team will know.
Performance will suffer. Employees will feel dissatisfied with their job. Turnover and attrition will increase. All of that is bad for the continued success of your business.
There are many ways to improve team morale, including:
- Being clear when you assign tasks
- Rewarding good work
- Creating standard operating procedures
- Allowing your team to work autonomously
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
For more ideas and discussion on the subject, start with this helpful article from the Inch blog: 10 Effective Ways To Improve Employee Morale.
12) Cultivate Open Communication
Open and effective communication is the heart and soul of effective team management.
It doesn’t matter if you have one employee or one hundred, without good communication, it can be extremely difficult to make headway on the path to success.
And don’t expect your employees to be the ones to get the ball rolling, so to speak — effective communication starts at the top.
To facilitate communication in your business, start with these simple steps:
- Choose the best method for the job (e.g., email, text, hardcopy)
- Strive for clarity in everything you say and write
- Offer explanations whenever possible
- Meet one-on-one periodically
With these habits as the four corners of communication in your business, your team will have a firm foundation on which to build.
Learn more about employee communication with this helpful article from the Inch blog: 6 Easy Strategies For Improving Team Communication.
13) Implement A New Leadership Style
Managing a team successfully requires that you wear many different hats throughout the day.
To make this aspect of team management easier and more productive, take the time to learn a new leadership style or two.
If you rely on the autocratic style for the majority of your team interactions, try incorporating the consultative or persuasive style into the workflow as needs dictate.
Doing so will help you lead your team better and will help you avoid falling back on habits that may not have worked so well in the past.
For a quick primer on the different leadership skills out there, take a few minutes to read this article from the Inch blog: 10 Types Of Management Styles For Effective Leadership.
14) Learn Employee Personality Types
An often-overlooked way to improve your team management is to learn each employee’s personality type.
Managers tend to shy away from this aspect of employee engagement because they feel that it’s an invasion of privacy or that team members may worry about discrimination in the workplace.
But learning this information isn’t about any of that. Instead, it’s about helping you find ways to:
- Assign jobs and tasks that are a better fit for your employees’ personality types
- Motive your employees effectively
For example, after they take a personality test, you learn that employee A excels at detail-oriented tasks on which they can focus for long periods of time.
The business would be better served if you assigned them such tasks rather than putting them in a more customer-facing position (a job for which they might be less than comfortable).
Similarly, when you know employee A’s personality type, you might discover that they thrive on less public forms of recognition. With that information, you can motivate them more effectively without putting them on the spot.
15) Create A Clear Chain Of Command
No team can flourish without a clear chain of command.
So, whether your business has two employees or two hundred, is just starting or has been operating for years, we recommend creating an organizational chart and publishing it in your employee handbook.
Think of this information as a “hierarchy of oversight” that employees can use to find the names of their immediate supervisors, their supervisors’ supervisors, and to whom they should go with questions and problems.
With an organizational chart in place, your employees won’t have to waste time trying to get approval from team members that don’t hold that responsibility — everyone will know where to go first for the information they need.
Writing a clear chain of command is a simple way to improve your team management and bring a bit more order and structure to your business.
16) Become A Master Of Motivation
Motivation is essential if you want your employees to stay focused, engaged, and on track for success.
You can play a part in keeping their spirits high — especially when deadlines loom or when they’re deep in the middle of a difficult project — by taking the time to improve your own motivation skills.
One easy way to start doing this is to pick out your favorite motivational quotes and then share one or two of them with your employees every day.
Here are some gems to get you started:
- “Work harder than you think you did yesterday.” — Alex Elle
- “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” — Ayn Rand
- “If everyone is thinking alike then somebody isn’t thinking.” — George S. Patton
- “The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” — Arthur C. Clarke
17) Stay Organized
In many ways, effective team management starts with the habits and behaviors that influence your work every day.
If you’re not organized, for example, your employees won’t be either. This can be a problem for many managers because organization isn’t one of their strong suits. Thankfully, with a little practice, you can improve.
Try these simple suggestions to help you and your team stay organized throughout the workday:
- Divide your desk into specific zones (e.g., space for files and paper, computer, phone, supplies, and work)
- Keep your most-used supplies close by
- Silence your phone
- Go paperless
- Set aside time for organization
- Purge your supplies
- Avoid multitasking
Getting and staying organized is no easy feat, but don’t give up. Practice, practice, practice the organizational strategies that work best for you, and, eventually, you’ll get into a routine and start to see results.
Manage Your Team, Anywhere
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” — Michael Jordan
Although a select few talented individuals might contribute their skills in critical ways to your business, effective team management and authentic teamwork are what ultimately accomplish goals.
As the workplace continues to evolve, many are understanding the significance of team management and its impact on success, morale, and productivity. Choosing functional management software, like Inch, will ensure your team is successful every step of the way.
Inch is a voice-operated workforce management software that combines task management, team communication, and time tracking to ensure that every industry has the most efficient and connected work environment.
With Inch, users receive a long list of essential management tools, such as:
- Cloud-based schedule distribution and communication
- A wide range of reports to help you make adjustments for the future
- Paid-time-off control to help you keep expenses low
- A built-in time clock
- Messaging and communication features
- And so much more!
To learn more about the many ways you can promote teamwork and encourage your team’s growth through streamlined internal communication, visit tryinch.com and get started for free today.