Leading a team at work can be one of the most rewarding aspects of professional life. But, by the same token, it can be high pressure, stress inducing and tiring. Finding your feet in management is key to success, both in terms of the company’s goals and in keeping your team happy and on track. Balancing being inspirational and motivational can be extremely tricky. Here are eight tips to help you manage a team more effectively.
Make Time To Lead
Becoming a leader or manager will always come with more responsibilities – and all too often, these are simply jammed in to an already full schedule. Being a good leader means that at least some of every day should be spent leading – even if this comes at the cost of some of your other tasks. You need to be available to your team as and when they may need you, and this simply can’t be the case if you’re still tied up in hands-on work. Stay cognisant of your workload and don’t be afraid to delegate if you have too much to do. After all, you need to prioritise leading in order to be an effective leader.
Know And Understand Your Team
If you don’t understand the individual strengths and weaknesses you have within your team, you’re highly unlikely to be able to be able to lead your team to success. Know who is best suited for what type of task, and organise your team accordingly. Not only will this likely make the work more efficient, but it’ll be done at a higher level, too.
Be Open And Honest
A more transparent work environment has been shown to make teams happier, more accountable and more creative. Mutual respect is key to getting the most out of your employees, and the only real way to manifest this is through honesty. Plus, an open workplace means team members will feel more comfortable communicating and suggesting ideas. This enhances innovation and can lead to some great and unexpected results.
Prioritise Good Communication
The basis of any successful professional team truly is good communication. Without it, workloads can be confused and time can be mismanaged. On top of this, good ideas can get lost in the ether, leading a team to feel their opinions and thoughts don’t really matter. Another key benefit of good communication within a team is the potential for feedback, without which a team can’t learn from past mistakes and improve.
Provide Constructive Criticism
Giving good quality feedback is one of the best ways to help each member of your team grow, in both a personal and professional capacity. And even when you don’t have any particular criticism or feedback to give, it’s important to have dedicated one-on-one meetings with team members in order to make sure they’re feeling good, working hard and enjoying the challenges. Make sure members of your team also know that constructive criticism is welcomed, and although you’re leading, it truly is a team effort.
Lead By Example
There’s no quicker way to alienate your team than by making them feel that you, as a leader, are fundamentally different from them. Make sure you’re behaving as you’d want a member of your team to – and make sure you’re clearly exhibiting these positive behaviours and traits. Again, these will primarily revolve around hard work and respect. If you set a good example, perceptive members of your team will soon follow suit.
Although efficient and clever delegation is important, there are some responsibilities an effective team leader must accept as their own. The most important of these is decision making, which can’t really be done by any other member of your team without massively overriding the manager’s authority. Try your very hardest not to procrastinate on big decisions – and once you’ve made them, it’s best to avoid looking back and wondering what might have been. Making education decisions even in a more stressful situation is one of the key aspects of effective leadership. Avoiding decisions not only slows progress massively, but could lead to your authority being undermined. You can always seek help or ask for advice, but make sure the authority is still coming from you.
Keep Morale High
Team burn out is one of the biggest issues when trying to effectively manage. Make sure you’re checking in on your team about how they’re feeling and whether you can do anything to keep spirits up. While it can be tempting to work everyone at their maximum capacity, allowing breaks and time off is key, and can actually end up boosting productivity in the long run. Make sure you keep a balance between a hardworking team and a happy team, or you can risk having a team which is neither.
Annie Walton Doyle writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates for their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs, visit our website.