Effective team management is an essential skill in almost every field of work. A team can be as small as two people and as large as entire departments or companies. Being able to manage a team effectively can be the defining factor between a project’s failure and its success. Effective team managers possess several qualities.
1. Ability to Gain Trust – Learning:
One of the most important skills that a team manager needs is the ability to quickly gain the trust of his or her team. Without the trust of teammates, it is difficult to build unity and create an atmosphere of collaboration, communication, transparency, loyalty and dedication. Team members may also find it difficult to work for a manager whom they do not trust.
To build trust, a team manager must first develop rapport with the team members. This step is especially important in situations where the manager and team members have not previously worked together. Effective team managers are proficient in listening to team members because they have to work with a variety of personality and learning styles. Building rapport also means empowering team members to become successful and to overcome obstacles.
Building trust requires exercising sound judgment in difficult situations. Being diplomatic and ethical in all situations helps team members to see that the manager will do the right thing instead of acting selfishly. Making ethical and sound decisions helps the manager to establish credibility and gives team members a reason to listen to and follow the manager. Building trust means protecting the team and standing behind its members in adverse situations.
2. Flexibility – Learning
Managing a team almost always involves dealing with complicated or unexpected situations. Flexibility is an important characteristic of effective team managers. Many times, managers face complications that must be handled quickly and efficiently, even if it requires changing the planned course of action.
Flexibility requires the ability to handle stress appropriately. Managers who cannot effectively deal with stressful situations may not be able to exercise the flexibility needed to handle the situation and build rapport with team members. The stress of the situation may also cause an ineffective team manager to shut down and lose the ability to keep his or her team unified and focused.
Flexibility is also necessary in dealing with interpersonal relationships among team members. An effective team manager must be able to communicate and work with a variety of personality types, learning styles and methods of communication. The manager must be able to clearly communicate expectations and instructions in ways that are easily understood by every member of the team. A flexible manager is able to create presentations and meetings that use a variety of approaches so that they can engage colleagues who learn in different ways.
3. Strong Organizational Skills – How To
Effective team managers must have well-developed organizational skills. Often, managers are responsible for a variety of deadlines, meetings and events. Being late for these events, or missing them entirely, can lead to broken trust and poor rapport development with team members. Poor organization can also lead to losing an important contract or breaking the trust of an important client.
Time management is an important organizational skill. An effective manager must be able to balance long-term goals with short-term priorities. The manager must be able to determine which aspects of the project should be assigned a higher priority quickly and which aspects of the project are not essential.
Organizational skills are also important for helping the team members learn their roles. A well-organized meeting is instructional and educational. Team members feel like their needs are heard and that their time is valued. This helps to increase rapport and build trust. Productivity is also improved when leaders at well-organized meetings clearly communicate expectations and instructions.
4. Knowing How to Delegate
Effective team management requires that the manager is aware of his or her own time and skill limitations and the strengths that team members bring to the project. In order to effectively manage the team, the manager cannot be the one to attempt to complete every task.
Every member of the team brings experience and skills that benefit the team. Being able to quickly delegate tasks to members who have strong skills in those areas can free the manager to focus on other important tasks. Delegation also allows the team members to take on important roles.
Not every task can be delegated, and it is important for the team manager to have an understanding of when to delegate. If the task provides an opportunity for a team member to grow and develop existing skills, delegation is usually appropriate. Tasks that require extensive specialized training, or ones that are critical to the long-term success of the team, usually require completion by the team manager.
5. Ability to Make Realistic Goals
Finally, effective team managers must be proficient in-goal setting. Multiple goals must be considered. First, the manager must have a firm understanding of the project’s long-term goals. Knowing what is required, and what the desired outcome of the project is, determines all other goals as well as the personnel composition of the team. A successful team depends on the manager’s ability to fully understand the long-term goals of the project.
The manager must also be able to set manageable short-term goals. These short-term goals give team members clear deadlines that pace progress instead of working towards one final deadline. Short-term goals provide more frequent opportunities for success and rewards to keep the team motivated and focused.
An effective manager must be able to create team goals and goals for each individual member of the team. The long-term goal is typically a goal for both the team and individual members; however, individual members may also have goals of improving skill sets, reaching a promotion or obtaining a pay raise. An effective team manager not only encourages individuals to work towards the ultimate team goal, but he or she also helps each member of the team set and reach personal goals. A team is most successful when each member feels that he is contributing to the project’s success while feeling like he is advancing in his own personal career path.
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