Have you recently stepped into a Management role, or are you planning to in the near future? Management is both a very rewarding and challenging job all, if it is done right. You must be a leader, coach, and motivator for your team. Ultimately, you work for your employees. You are the person who removes obstacles for them, helps them succeed, you are their representative to the company, ensure they get needed company information, get them needed training and feedback, lead them by example, show them how to reach the vision through defining expectations and goals. Basically, your job is to help them reach the finish line. Whew! And all of this has to happen while doing other job tasks for your company.
So how do you know if you are doing all of that successfully? Here are the 6 keys to successfully managing a team of employees:
- Lay a Clear Foundation – No one wants to do a bad job. But employees often fail because they have a misunderstanding of what doing a good job looks like. It is important as a manager to lay very clear groundwork for what is expected of employees to be successful. This will help keep your team on track toward the same purpose and results.
- Create Accountability Systems – If you don’t create an accountability system for your employees, then YOU will have to be that system, meaning you will always have to micro-manage all of their tasks to see if they are completing them. Instead, create an accountability system where they report their progress to you, therefore holding themselves accountable and managing themselves at task level. This will give them the responsibility of meeting their goals, with less headache for you, and generate a more collaborative and engaged work environment.
- Engage in Active Listening and Empathy – You have to care about your employees as individuals and you have to let them know you do, if you want to have a high level of respect and trust within your team. Two important ways to do this are to engage in active listening when interacting with them, as well as demonstrating empathy. It is also important to find ways to foster this practice among team members as well.
- Pro-Active, Candid, and Ongoing Coaching – Good coaches coach before, during, and after the game. So make sure you are always finding opportunities to coach your employees, on good as well as not so good behaviors. The moment we stop developing our employees (even our best of the bunch) is the moment we are telling them we don’t care about them.
- Develop a Team Culture – Team cohesion and strength doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes some fostering on your part, as a manager. You need to find opportunities for your team members to work together on projects, as well as to learn who each of their team mates are as individuals outside of what they just do as a work role.
- Ask Questions – Too often as managers, we can fall into the “fix-it” role, where we are always in problem solving mode. Although it is true that we need to be there for our teams to help solve issues, we can be better at it if we learn to stop and ask questions first, before we jump in. If we jump in to solve issues right away, we become part of the chaos. Instead, it’s important to always be in analysis mode first, and gather as much information as possible before we offer solutions or opinions. Better yet, guide your employees down the path of solving issues themselves, by engaging them in discussions around solutions, by asking questions rather than providing answers.