Whether you have recently picked up a management position as an employee, or you’re an employer who has a small team that they have to manage personally, you mustn’t underestimate how much work it can take to stay at the head of a team and keep it working well. It’s a stressful position that often requires you to wear different hats. Here, we’re going to look at some of the different hats you might need to don as well as the skills you may have to develop to ensure that you’re able to manage well.
What you can expect in this article:
Clear communication skills
This is vital, no matter what position of authority you might have. If you want your team to efficiently and effectively complete tasks that manage the duties of the team while moving you closer to your goals, then you had better be able to communicate both what those strategic goals are, and what aspects of their duties are most important towards heading for those goals. If you can’t communicate well, then your team is likely to be rife with misunderstanding, poor prioritization of workload, and other issues. Take the time to improve your communication skills, whether you need to be able to plan an email to make your intent clearer, or you have to build confidence in communicating verbally.
Clear and effective delegation
If you’re at the head of a team, you’re not only going to be making sure that every member takes care of their duties, but you may also have to manage more collaborative workloads. Learning how to delegate this workload effectively isn’t just about being able to tell people they now have extra work to do. You want to make sure that you pair tasks to the individuals who are not only best suited to complete them, but those who may find opportunities for growth in handling them. Good delegation isn’t about giving away the work that’s expected of you to do, either, make sure that you’re not delegating anything that you’re going to be held directly responsible for, as it will not reflect well on you at all.
A sense of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence comes in two flavours. First of all, you have to be able to manage your own emotions, keep your cool, and not show your feelings too openly when they might affect the dynamic of the team. However, you also have to be able to work with the emotions of others, as well. If a team member is stressed but they’re still taking on extra work you’re giving them, an emotionally intelligent manager should be able to notice that they’re having a hard time coping, and look at other ways to delegate or manage the same workload, instead. It’s the mixture of self-awareness and the ability to empathize that can create truly inspired and inspiring leaders.
Managing work hours
On a much more concrete and everyday basis, you have to think about the skills necessary to manage your employees and how they work, and one of the most crucial skills in this regard is being able to manage their work hours. If you have a team of permanent office workers doing the 9-to-5, this might not be all that difficult. However, if you also have part-time workers, then it’s important to know about full-time vs. part-time vs. overtime work hours. Be proactive in learning about how many hours you can expect from each employee and take the time to create schedules that make the best use of the hours that they can offer.
Managing team issues
If everything always ran smoothly by themselves, then there wouldn’t be much need for managers at all. However, that’s not the case. Issues such as changes in work performance, behaviour issues, and interpersonal problems can develop within teams, and they can be difficult to deal with. In some cases, you may need to work closely with HR to ensure you handle these matters in the best possible ways. However, there are also tools such as corrective action plans that can help you better deal with employees who might be a little more problematic, note down issues with them, and plan out steps on how to get them back on the right track. A positive team culture depends on your ability to straighten out these issues.
Showing appreciation, reward, and credit
Many workers can attest to the pains of having a boss or manager who takes the credit directly for the work that they do while being all too happy to pass on responsibility. In reality, it should be the other way around. If you’re a manager, keeping your team running well is what reflects well on you. If you’re an employer, then you’re the one who benefits from any added profit. The credit and recognition have to go towards your employees, while you should be willing to take responsibility for any systematic or team-wide failures. Business is a team sport, after all.
Letting staff members go
Whether it’s due to layoffs and redundancies, or because a staff member has either failed to respond to corrective actions or made infractions that justify their termination, if you’re managing the team, it’s mostly going to come down to you to give them the bad news. The important thing when you’re doing this is to be decisive, and clear in your language. Leaving wiggle room can leave staff members confused as to what is happening when you’re trying to fire them. Importantly, you have to be empathetic, as well. Even if you feel you have a right to be angry or disappointed, again, you have to show the emotional intelligence mentioned above and understand that it’s a tough process for anyone to go through.
No one guide can cover the whole range of interpersonal interactions that can develop when managing a team. However, ensure that you’re able to embody all of the skills above and you will at least be prepared for most of what the role has to demand from you.