Whether you’re a seasoned business leader or a new manager, leading a team can be challenging. This guide will provide you with tips and insights on how to successfully manage a team, including hiring a well-balanced team, finding your leadership style, day-to-day management, leading meetings, training, managing client relationships, systems, and organisation, and developing your leadership skills.
Hiring a well-balanced team
A good leader knows how to identify and attract the right talent to build a well-balanced team. This includes understanding the skills and personalities needed to complement your own strengths and weaknesses and those of existing employees. You should also look to hire diversely in terms of age, experience, background, personality, and skillsets.
Strategic hiring should occur through creating focused job descriptions and building company values as well as during the actual application process. When hiring, look for candidates who share important core values and have a track record of success.
Some leaders find tools such as DISC profiles or CPI assessments useful for building teams. These can help you to understand the work styles, communication styles, and organisational capacities of different team members and potential hires. This in turn can help you to identify gaps in your team or find people who would complement each other’s work styles.
Finding your leadership style
Finding your leadership style is an essential part of being a great manager. There are many different management styles, and finding the right one for you and your team is critical to success.
Leaders provide direction, motivation, and inspiration to their employees. There are different variations of leadership styles and different impacts they might have on the business and employees.
While a leader’s objective is to inspire, motivate, and drive, a manager’s objective is to organise, coordinate, and plan to deliver results. An equal balance of both is essential for the business to function correctly. Four main types of leadership include autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, and transformational.
Autocratic leadership style focuses on individual control over tasks and decision-making with no input from other team members, while democratic leadership involves gathering ideas and input from other team members. Laissez-faire leadership allows employees to use their creativity and personal experience without being micromanaged. Transformational leadership is focused on working towards specific goals and improvements, both professionally and personally, with team members.
Day-to-day management can be challenging, especially when it comes to time management. As a good manager, you need to effectively prioritise tasks and delegate responsibilities to your team members. This means identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and assigning tasks accordingly. You also need to be able to handle conflicts and maintain a positive working environment.
A high-performance team is a group of people who collaborate effectively to accomplish common goals. Such teams consistently provide good results and tend to stay productive under stress. Consistently working to create such as team is a common goal as a leader.
The skills that create a high-performance team include communication, trust, organisation, regular feedback, goal setting and tracking, and effective leadership.
To be the most effective high-performance team manager, you should aim to:
- Developing a supportive environment in the workplace
- Give the team some slack when appropriate
- Encourage constructive criticism
- Delegate where possible
- Incentivise rather than penalise
More than anything else, communication is key and talking to the team about their needs and wants in their working environment can lead to big results.
Leading meetings is an essential part of being a team leader. Meetings are an opportunity to engage your team and drive results.
The chairperson’s role is to ensure that communication is open, clear, and respectful while keeping the discussion productive. Productive meetings are enjoyable and worthwhile to participants, while unfocused meetings that disregard participants’ ideas result in low participation and engagement.
Preparation is crucial, and the chairperson should create an agenda covering the purpose, main topics, supporting documents, and estimated timings for the meeting. Arriving early to check the room, technology and settle nerves, and delegating effectively can ease the chairperson’s role.
The leader of the meeting should ensure that time is used well, estimate timing for presentations or discussions, and judge when a discussion is productive or when it’s time to move on. They should also welcome and respect all voices and prime for problem-solving, removing any barriers that may hinder participants from sharing their creative ideas.
Training is an essential part of employee development, and it plays a crucial role in keeping team members motivated. Providing training opportunities can help employees acquire new skills, improve their performance, and advance their careers. A well-designed training program should meet the specific needs of each team member, considering their unique strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations.
On-the-job training is one of the most common types of training, and it involves teaching employees how to perform specific tasks or job functions within the workplace. This type of training is often conducted by a supervisor or a more experienced team member, and it can be highly effective because it provides hands-on experience and immediate feedback.
Mentorship is another type of training that can be highly beneficial for team members. A mentor is an experienced individual who can provide guidance, support, and advice to a less experienced team member. This type of training can be especially valuable for employees who are looking to advance their careers, as mentors can share their knowledge and expertise, and help their mentees navigate challenging situations.
External training programs are also an important aspect of employee development. These programs can include workshops, seminars, conferences, and online courses, among other options.
External training programs can be especially valuable for employees who are looking to acquire new skills or stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Providing a variety of training options can help employees feel valued and invested in, leading to higher levels of job satisfaction and retention.
Managing client relationships
Managing client relationships is critical to the success of any business. You need to build strong relationships with your clients and manage their expectations effectively. This means communicating clearly, understanding their needs, and providing them with exceptional service.
To ensure that clients receive the best experience, it is necessary to equip yourself and your team with the appropriate skills, regardless of their role in the organisation. Even away from account management or the support desk, most employees could find themselves on the other end of a difficult phone call with a client from time to time. This means practising patience, listening skills, communication skills, product knowledge, assertiveness, and positive language to assist customers in making informed decisions.
While it may be impossible to prepare staff for every scenario that may arise, it is important to have a framework in place to handle unexpected situations. Providing training on these skills can help staff to be more confident in their abilities to assist clients and provide a positive experience.
Systems and organisation
Systems and organisation are important for effective team management. This includes implementing systems and processes that streamline your team’s workflow, improve productivity, and keep everyone in the loop about tasks they may be accountable or responsible for.
Depending on your team’s needs, you may want to invest in CRM or cloud software to give everyone access to relevant data, productivity tools such as time tracking software or assigned task lists. You should also have guidelines about how your team is expected to use different communication channels such as Slack, Teams messages, Email, or Video Calls. Make sure to regularly review and update your systems to ensure they’re still effective.
Developing your Leadership Skills
Developing your leadership skills is an ongoing process. This includes identifying areas for improvement and developing strategies to improve your leadership qualities over time. Some key areas to focus on include emotional intelligence, effective communication, and project management.
Perhaps take some time to consider what skills or qualities you believe are most important in a leadership or management position, and what you can do to embody these. This may involve seeking out additional training, mentorship, trying out new tools, or joining a group with similar aims.
In summary, being an effective team leader requires a combination of skills and strategies. By following the tips and insights in this guide, you can develop the skills needed to lead a successful team in a business.
If you believe you or your team require further development in leadership skills, Elliot Training provides a vast range of training courses related to management and leadership across the UK. These can be hosted online, at your offices, or at one of our own regional training centres. Contact us today to find out more.