Team-management skills aren’t just for business. Consider how we lead our families, sports teams, or classrooms. It can mean the difference between success and failure, as well as how much joy we experience in our lives. Truthfully, having the ability to manage and lead people is one of the most important skills we can have. I recommend reading up on effective team-management methods as they pertain to your particular team. Here are some basic team-management tips I have used myself.
Team-Management Tips #1: Conflict Resolution
Whenever you’re working with a team, conflict is almost inevitable. However, know that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Conflict means there are multiple ideas coming forth and that people care about the goal or project. The key to resolving conflict in a healthful way is to make sure the goals are clear and concise. Problems arise when each person has a different idea about the purpose and standard of the task at hand. Additionally, misinterpreted expectations can wreak havoc on a team and the project.
It’s important to hear all parties involved and validate their thoughts. There are no stupid questions or suggestions when it comes to building trust and support within a team. If you are the leader, make sure you give each side due consideration and focus on solutions and not the problem. This example helps others to adopt the same positive behavior.
Team-Management Tips #2: Know Your Team’s Strengths and Limitations
A part of managing and building a team is knowing its strengths and limitations. This helps to not only challenge the group but also produce confidence. In business, this might show in a project that requires skills your team doesn’t have such as working with a certain program or piece of equipment. In this case, you would outsource this part of the project. Of course, it’s also valuable to learn new things and build your team’s abilities.
Team-Management Tips #3: Be Flexible
As a team manager, one of the most difficult things you will face is keeping you and your team on target. This gets more and more challenging as the project goes on, as requirements often change and roadblocks show up. There is something to be said for strict plans and action steps, however, being flexible seems to promote a more pleasant team environment.
Personally, I love being a part of a team that knows the goal but is open to how it’s reached. This method, though it may incorporate some consistent tasks and behavior, relishes in innovation and creativity. After all, you would just do the work yourself if you had all the answers, right? A team needs the freedom to express ideas and try new things when it’s appropriate. It’s important to talk about targets but to also brainstorm how you will reach them.
Team-Management Tips #4: Encourage Individual Growth
Workers must understand their individual role as part of a team. This includes taking the responsibility to improve their own skills. It’s the leader’s responsibility to draw out these strengths and help to cultivate them. You might see a good example of this process when you look at parenting children. That said, the same team-management methods can be used for any type of team. You want your team members to be and do their best, as well as utilize their unique talents. Ultimately, this not only builds the team but the individual.
Team-Management Tips #5: Cross Train and Utilize Special Skills
Have you ever been in a situation where someone suddenly falls ill or can’t do their job? This might even be you as a mom, wife, employee, or manager. Who takes over for you when you’re down? Does anyone have your skills and the information to carry on in your place? If not, you might consider cross-training someone to do just that.
Additionally, consider how useful it is when the people you work with have multiple skills that go beyond the norm. Some examples might be a secretary who is also avid at sales and customer service or a partner who can also clean the house and take care of the children when you’re out. Another example would be a nurse who needs a lawyer. She might benefit from someone who practices nursing license defense and who is a nurse themselves.
The strongest teams are those who have each other’s backs and can fill in when others are incapable of fulfilling their duties. A quality team leader knows how to orchestrate this without stepping on toes and creating more issues.