Team Management Tips: 5 ways to make sure your team are performing at their best10 Aug 2020
Effective team management is about so much more than just assigning people tasks to do and making sure they complete them.
But at the same time, managing a team is probably not the ONLY thing you do all day. You have your own tasks to get done, after all.
So how can you juggle both?
The answer is all about maximising your time. Now, I’ve already written all about managing your own responsibilities efficiently (and effectively). In this blog, on the other hand, I’m going to explore how you can manage your team just as well.
The bottom line
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Get to know people
The first step has to be getting to know the people on your team. You need to know what makes THEM effective, what stops them being efficient, and the signs to look out for when things are getting overwhelming.
When I think about the wide variety of personalities within our business, it’s a wonder we are all able to work together peacefully!
No, I’m kidding, but there are implications each of our personalities have on how we interact and work as an effective team. And it’s my job as a manager to know how my team is going to fit together.
Part of this starts during the hiring process.
In my experience, putting together a successful team is about balancing each new person’s experience, knowledge, and skills AS WELL AS THEIR personality.
In my experience, if you have too many “leaders” on a team, there will always be a fight for dominance. Whereas, if you have a team with a couple leaders, some experts, at least one organiser, maybe a particularly creative person, and some good communications…well, that’s a team that can work together and get things done.
Team Management Tip #1: Think about personality during the hiring process and spend time getting to know your team.
Invest in company culture
Company culture…a posh way of saying “the way we do things.”
It means everything from how you pick up the phone and interact with your customers to how often the team goes down to the pub together.
From a management perspective, I’ve always thought it was incredibly important (for both a team and business) to get the right company culture. This means investing time and energy (and money!) in getting it right. (And if a Yorkshireman tells you it’s important to spend money, you know he means it.)
When it comes to your business, getting the culture right is about having an ethos that is reflected in your branding. Everyone has the same tone, the same attitude, etc when speaking with the outside world.
In team management, having the right culture goes so much further than that. It tells the people who work for you how much you value them and what they are expected to do.
Team Management Tip #2: Build a company culture that can achieve your business goals while still giving your team a great place to work. And work to maintain it.
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Keep communication lines open
Just this past week, the whole OpenCRM gathered on a video call for an hour long meeting. We used to all sit together in a room, but it’s a whole new world right now!
This is a monthly meet up for us that originally started with our developers showing off their latest cool bits of code.
The whole thing started as our company started to grow. When we were all in the same room (and there were only 5 of us), it was easy to know what everyone else was up to…frankly, it was hard NOT to know.
As we grew, though, it became too easy for these updates to just stay in the department where they started. This prevented the circulation of news, ideas, and general comradery.
So we started up these monthly “Show & Tells” to give each department a chance to let everyone else know how things are progressing with them.
Now our marketing team can give everyone a preview of upcoming campaigns. Sales can talk about new customers or deals that are just about ready to drop. The projects team may say a few words about an interesting PDF template or workflow that they’re helping to set up. And the guys on support can do the same.
The developers or course still share their latest work. That way everyone can see the new features and enhancements coming their way.
The management team may also take a few minutes to raise a concern or share some praise…maybe make the odd company announcement.
It tends to be quite a laid back, relaxing hour. Not quite a team building exercise, but definitely a way to remind everyone that we’re all in this together.
Team Management Tip #3: Even if a monthly meet-up doesn’t work for your business, I would recommend that finding some way to keep everyone in the loop with other departments is absolutely vital as your company grows.
Give people responsibility
My whole management ethos can be summed up with a quote from comedian Tina Fey:
“In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.”
I am a firm believer in the idea that, if you hire intelligent and capable people, the worst thing you can do is try to micro-manage them.
So once people are trained and ready to do their job, stand back and let them do it. Give your team responsibility over (appropriate) areas of their working life. Let them make decisions and monitor outcomes, enjoy in the success and elation that this can bring.
Of course with Responsibility comes Accountability.
It is great to let your team make decisions ( because you can’t do everything). However if it is later discovered that there could have been a better decision, the important thing is not to treat this as a failure.
It’s a learning opportunity, a chance to gain new skills. Not an opportunity to place blame.
Giving employees, including apprentices, the chance to learn new skills and take on responsibilities can help relieve pressure on management. And it brings some democracy to the workplace.
Increased workplace freedom gives people a chance to let their personal skills shine through, as well.
You may have a particularly talented salesperson that you’ve given the authority to offer discounts where and when they see fit (within reason). Their abilities and understanding of your company lets you trust that they won’t go too far. And they, on the other hand, are likely to relish the freedom that comes with chance to build their own deals.
Perhaps you have another individual who has more patience than others. You might want to give them the chance to run an internal training programme. Or make them a CRM champion in your business.
Team Management Tip #4: Give people the space to do a great job
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The Right Tools
And finally (you knew it was coming), you have to have tools that let you manage a team. You will need the ability to see who is doing what and how the company as a whole is performing. They will need tools to let them see how effective they are being and whether they are hitting their targets.
Sales, support, and other front-of-house staff are good at talking to and listening to people. They need to be aware of the needs of your clients, and how best to help them. But they also need to see how much they’ve sold or whether they are responding to customer requests fast enough.
Project managers, developers, and manufacturers – these guys need an overreaching understanding of what the different departments do. They help deliver the goods created by the production team that the salespeople have promised.
As you can see, these different departments don’t just work off their own bat. They function together as the wheels of your company – all driving in the same direction.
And the thing that keeps them moving in the same direction?
Well that’s the shared source of information that all departments can dip into whenever and wherever they need it.
Your customer database. Your inventory list. Your sales pipeline.
These are all components that come together to create your CRM system. You know, that other member of your team.
Team Management Tip #5: Make sure everyone is moving in the same direction by centralising your database and giving your team the tools they need.