The new year is right around the corner and it’s filled with new opportunities and challenges. As we head into 2018, make sure that you’re as prepared as possible to lead your team to success. To be an effective manager, it’s important to fully understand your team dynamic. Below are five keys to doing just that.
1. Been there, done that.
A lot of companies promote from within. This is a beneficial practice as it demonstrates an organization’s loyalty to its employees and is an incentive for hard work. An equally important aspect of hiring internally is that the employees who advance to management roles have first-hand experience and an understanding of their team’s responsibilities, based on their previous roles. This allows the team leaders to understand what their subordinates are going through, the biggest challenges they will face, and how to best navigate them. This clarity allows for more transparent conversations and enhances communication among the team. However, a caveat to this approach is that the skillsets for a leader may be different than a high-performing staff member. Make sure you’re not moving a starting player to the bench.
2. It’s the circle of life.
Teams have a life cycle that follows five stages; forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. These stages were developed over 50 years ago by a man named Bruce Tuckman, who researched and developed theories around group dynamics. Tuckman deemed that these phases must be traversed naturally for a team to grow, find solutions, prepare, and deliver results. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand the way a group starts as individuals, and then develops into a cohesive unit. Understanding and considering which stage your group is in as you manage them can be effective in gaining clarity of their obstacles, in order for you to help them grow as a team.
3. Communication is key.
The level of communication between team members plays a big part in determining the effectiveness of the group. This relates not only to contact with the manager, but among the team members themselves. To ensure that the appropriate level of communication is being utilized, foster an open environment that encourages teamwork, transparency, and collaboration. Additionally, equip your team with any and all necessary tools to make their communication easier. Technologies like web conferencing, VoIP, and social media allow for seamless interactions, regardless of physical location.
4. Follow through.
The most effective leaders are those that are strong-willed and present a clear and concise vision for their team. This doesn’t mean bullying or pressuring your team into performing one way or another. Instead, understand each team member’s strengths and assign their tasks and roles accordingly. Once roles have been assigned, implement a timeline with check-ups and deadlines to ensure that you and your team will follow through to the end goal or objective.
Understanding your team dynamic is essential to managing them effectively, and can be done by utilizing former experience, following the group lifecycle, communicating clearly, and helping your team follow through on deliverables. While no obstacle can be solved the same way, all challenges are easier to overcome if you know how to manage your team effectively.