How to manage your team like a boss

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The beloved uncle of a superhero once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

While many of us will unfortunately not enjoy all the powers of the Amazing Spider-Man, Uncle Ben’s words still provide a vital message that should be remembered when it comes to team management.

Great leadership leads to many successes across the board; however, the opposite can significantly impact a company’s culture, efficiency, and productivity. To avoid this, it’s important for those who manage teams to find and utilize the tools and tips available today and help their teams become more focused, connected, and happy.

Team = Together

A great leader is one who understands and forms objectives alongside the universal truth: you’re only as good as your team. Successful teamwork doesn’t just appear; rather, it’s fostered by effectively communicating, listening, and trying to understand each individual on your team, building trust between colleagues, delegating work appropriately, and allowing the strengths of employees to be fully utilized (and praised).

Teamwork is more than just making sure everyone is on the same page — it’s also about adapting to each other in order to produce the best results. Moreover, understanding everyone on your team and allowing them to share their knowledge with one another benefits productivity as it often allows those in management to better identify the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. This means playing up those strengths and knowing exactly where to fill in missing gaps.

Results-driven management

Results-driven management is another component for hitting all those essential productivity milestones, whatever that may be for your company. While working hard is certainly important, there is a difference between action-driven management and results-driven management. One of the main differences is the quality of work, where results-driven looks towards the finish line, action-driven can unnecessarily focus on the process, creating more confusion and lower rates of productivity.

According to experts at Rutgers University, there are five key tactics for achieving better result-driven management:

  1. Keep the end goal in mind: From the very beginning of a project, develop a clear picture of what will be accomplished. State this result clearly.
  2. Build on previous successes: By using each successive project as a testing ground, an effective manager creates a foundation of experience on which to build organization-wide improvement.
  3. Rely on trial and error: A certain level of experimentation reveals what works. Building on previous experiences is important, but innovation is only shown through incorporating new ideas.
  4. Provide frequent reinforcement: Repeated success is a powerful motivator and by pointing out successes, acknowledging mistakes, and encouraging continued growth, managers build confidence in their teams and achieve greater results.
  5. Monitor progress and make adjustments when needed: Developing milestones and tailoring projects and activities to meet these milestones is the basis of results-driven management.

Try new productivity techniques

There are several productivity techniques worth trying as a company until you can identify the best one for your team (remember: trial and error).

One of the most popular techniques, the 80/20 rule has proven to work for many companies and their teams. This technique can be interpreted and implemented in many different ways but one example is: encourage employees to work on a specific project or task for 80 percent of the work day and then leave the remaining 20 percent for breaks, down time, or side projects.

A similar technique, the Pomodoro technique involves choosing a task, setting a timer for 25 minutes (a tomato timer if you want to be really authentic), working on that task until the timer goes off, then enjoying a short break, and repeat. Both these technique work for many situations and have been shown to improve productivity for some people.

If possible, it might also be worth purchasing project management and collaboration tools for the company. PM tools such as Asana or Wrike and team messaging apps such as Flock can help teams stay organized, on task, and effectively communicate without the dread of management constantly breathing down their necks. PM tools can also save time by cutting down on those time consuming meetings.

Another resource that could potentially really benefit your team and its productivity is inviting on a management consultant. While adding another member to the team can seem as though you’re taking two steps back, management consultants’ main purpose is to find exactly what isn’t working within your company and what is potentially harming your productivity.

As experts at Arizona State University explain, “because management consultants work so closely with research and data to evaluate an organization’s efficiency, they are sometimes known as management analysts. Regardless of title, a typical day can have [them] working at any stage of the review and recommendation process to help identify and overcome current problems and potential risks within an organization.”

This could especially be useful for management who feel as though they’re communicating effectively, building up strong teams, and focusing on results but still find productivity numbers are not where they need to be. If bringing on a new management consultant doesn’t fit, assigning the role to a willing, current manager could also be an effective way to evaluate your team’s productivity and discover the source of concern.

Whatever tool or technique it might be, it’s important to remember that you’re all on the same team, and these suggestions are only worthwhile if the entire team implements them — that means you too, management.

Good luck and don’t forget Uncle Ben’s wise words.

Authored by Devin Morrissey, who prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zigzag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.

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