Managing a team effectively can be a challenging task. Meeting targets and working productively can be hampered by the complex mix of different personalities and working styles that can be found amongst different members of a team. Management gurus, who inspire their teams to thrive and succeed, know that the best teams don’t just fall into place, but cooperate and collaborate through hard work and dedicated leadership. Here are four C’s to consider when workng with a team:
Different individuals are motivated by different things, for example, praise, accomplishment, strong relationships or job security. Thus, without a clear united vision, the team members may work towards different outcomes. The team manager needs to carefully define what the goals and objectives are, and what is considered a successful outcome. The roles of each team member and what is expected from each person – and the team as a whole – must be well articulated. The entire team should have a shared understanding of tasks, so that they are able to comprehend what their role is within the bigger picture, and anticipate the needs and actions of other members of the team. This allows the team to work as a unit towards a single outcome.
A successful team manager is constantly communicating, and encourages team members to do the same. The key is to promote proactive communication, which is accomplished by staying engaged and informed with what is happening within the team. Thus, good managers are aware of issues that arise and can provide feedback, support and guidance rapidly. Team members should be encouraged to share information without being asked, so that the team is constantly being updated and each member is aware of the team’s status and progress. The team should also interact frequently in order to promote communication and build rapport – so the importance of verbal or face-to-face communication should be emphasised and frequent brainstorming or catch-up sessions should be scheduled.
A good team manager has to be able to identify and resolve problems as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this sometimes means giving negative feedback or criticism. If done incorrectly, this can cause anger or resentment and negatively impact team morale. To make criticism constructive, make it as impersonal as possible. Focus on the specific issue that needs improvement and separate it from the individual’s personality, to avoid sounding judgemental. Avoid giving feedback when feeling frustrated and stressed, and provide concrete suggestions on how issues can be corrected or improved upon. Be specific about what a positive end result looks like so that the person being criticised knows what to work towards. Finally, be sensitive but firm.
There are a vast number of technologies available that can boost a team’s performance, so make use of them. Tools such as calendar sharing software, Skype, group to-do apps and online collaboration apps are worth investigating, to find the right fit for a particular team. Seartec offers a number of technology solutions that promote effortless collaboration, even over large geographical distances.
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