Managing a team doesn’t need to be difficult. While serving our customers and their broad range of teams across all types of industries and locations, we’ve learned a globally applicable set of team management principles that will help you guide your team to success. We’ve drawn from team leaders, employees, CEO’s, supervisors, and small business owners to put forth here a best practices article on how to manage a team in the most effective manner.
Manage Your Team EffectivelyEmbrace Transparency
An open, bilateral communication structure coordinates a team, clearly establishes expectations, and allows for a constant feedback loop that puts you, as the manager, in a position to manage your team to the best possible outcome.
Higher employee engagement leads to a happier workforce, less turnover, and increased productivity.
Fostering workplace transparency means you don’t wall off executive-level conversations on goals, objectives, and strategies from your team. Instead, sharing items like strategic direction and vision promotes a handful of positive outcomes, including:
Increased team member engagement – people need to be heard and enjoy the reinforcement of being on a team, not in a functional silo.
More focused production – with all team and individual expectations on the table, everyone understands their role and the contributions they need to make.
Greater accountability – there’s no hiding when conversations on progress flow throughout the team.
Focus on Goals and Objectives
Every team needs a goal, and each team member needs performance objectives that contribute to the pursuit of that goal. This is such an important element in how to manage a team, because without a clearly articulated direction the group will fail to act as a team, and instead pursue individual and unrelated objectives. We’ve created a resource that goes into greater detail on How to Set Business Goals, but the most important considerations at the team level include:
Understanding overall company goals – if your team is part of a bigger organization, make sure your team goals align with the bigger company goals.
Setting time frames – team goals can typically be monthly and quarterly in support of company goals. You will want both short and long term goals for your team.
Establish Measurable Outcomes
Nothing suggests success more than a number. We live in a metric-driven world, so hold your team to measurable performance objectives. For example, have Marketing achieve a certain number of unique visitors to your site and new leads for the sales team; attach concrete revenue objectives to your Sales team; set Account Services targets for renewal rates and customer site visits. By setting measurable performance objectives, you will get a concise view of team progress and their contribution to your overall goals.
The StatusPath system provides best-practices default business goals and example employee performance objectives. You can also explore the resource Business Goal and Objective Examples to help you with the process of establishing measurable objectives for your team.
Track Progress Via Status Reports
Setting goals and objectives enables your team to focus, but as a manager you will want to stay coordinated on the team’s efforts against their objectives. Daily, weekly, and/or monthly status reports will keep you close to the process and help you manage your team more efficiently.
Roughly 85% of StatusPath customers track objective and project status on a weekly basis. The others check in more frequently.
The frequency of your status reports will depend on your team and their objectives. Weekly status reports are the most prevalent in the workplace, but some teams (decentralized teams, product development teams, and inside sales teams) will coordinate on a daily basis around progress, results, and upcoming plans.
Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Managing a team properly means playing to its strengths and addressing its weaknesses. Every team will have a unique combination of assets, experiences, and deficiencies. The more you know about each team member, the more you’ll know about how to manage the team to its greatest potential. Take the time to analyze each teammate’s background and interests – this will help you set up the appropriate objectives for each team member, resulting in more productivity and less friction.
Reward Performance and Encourage Growth
Good team managers reward positive and successful behavior. Rewards come in many forms – public recognition, spiffs, a promotion, etc. – and they not only make the recipient feel appreciated, but rewards also reinforce your commitment to team expectations and standards.
When a team member isn’t performing up to expectations, take the opportunity to encourage growth through refocused effort or training. Managing up the lowest level of contribution will improve overall team performance.
StatusPath is passionate about creating a modernized business goal, objective, and status report system that delivers value across your entire company. You can start tracking status against goals and objectives in just one minute.
Good team leaders have an active ear – listen closely to all team signals.
Empower your team with clarity.
Be a strong leader, but know when to let your team make decisions and influence direction.[
Be consistent in how you interact with and guide your team – employees need to know where they stand at all times.
Have fun! It’s your team, so make the most of the culture and the experience.