Managing a team can sometimes be tricky. Team performance, its overall success and productivity usually depend on how successful the team leader can manage his team.
It is important to learn what makes a team effective. There’s no doubt that great managers must also be great leaders. Some people say that leadership is like beauty. Hard to define, but you know it when you see it.
Now let’s dive deep into each of these top five tips.
1.Clear purpose, goals and expectations for the team
All successful team management starts with answering two very basic questions – why the team exists, and which goals need to be meet (on the individual and team level). The “why” speaks to the heart and the goals speak to the mind. To get the best out of people, you need to address both.
The basic management tools everyone must use:
- Start with why: provide a clear emotional purpose of why the team exists
- Write down the team’s goals: make sure everyone knows what the team must achieve next
- Script the critical moves: provide a plan of how the goals will be achieved in small manageable tasks
- Delegate tasks in a smart way: make sure that the right people tackle the right set of tasks (according to their abilities and potential)
- Definition of done: clearly define the standards that you expect for each task
2. Build trust among team members
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team written by Patrick M. Lencioni is one of the best books on leadership and team management.
It talks about five big dysfunctions of a team that need to be addressed separately and in the right order. The five big dysfunctions are
- Absence of trust,
- Fear of conflict,
- Lack of commitment,
- Avoidance of accountability
- Inattention to results.
As you can see, it all starts with an absence of trust. If there’s no real and deep trust among team members, the team just can’t properly function.
If the team members are in the defensive mode because there is an absence of trust, then they often don’t support each other, they gossip, manipulate or even plot among themselves. It’s a big waste of energy, time and efficiency.
3. Hold regular planning and review meetings
Meetings can be a huge waste of time. But not if they’re managed properly with a very clear and specific intention.
The stand-up meeting should be held every morning for 15 minutes maximum. It’s called a stand-up meeting because team members should be standing during the meeting, to really keep it under 15 minutes.
It should be held every day, at the same time, in the same place. Each team member answers only two questions:
- What did I do yesterday?
- What will I compete today?
The main intention of the morning meetings is to keep the rhythm of the team and the visibility of the work done.
4. Track how team members spend their time
All great leaders know that it’s impossible to manage what you don’t measure. Since time is the most precious resource of every individual and team, tracking and then properly managing time (time relocation) is essential for keeping team productivity levels high.
Great leaders are oriented towards people (relationships) and goals (results). Time tracking helps a great leader to keep people productive and results‑oriented.
Time‑tracking reports give better insight into how team members are performing and how to optimize individual and team productivity. It can be hard to introduce time tracking into a daily routine, but when it’s done it does wonders for team productivity.
5. Be a good coach to your team
The number one thing that great leaders do differently is that they coach their team members. They take time for every individual to show them how things can be done better, they provide encouragement, support and other resources needed for people to thrive.
Great leaders as coaches actively listen, build rapport, ask questions and give constructive feedback. If you want to successfully manage a team, you must become a good coach.