Managing teams is a higher level of manager’s skills. One can be great in managing people, but still may lack the power necessary to lead them as a group. It is important not only to know people in your team and their personalities, but also to know how well they can cooperate with each other.
For manager of the team it is important that he or she should manage tasks for the team differently from those which are entrusted just to one person.
New employee, new team
Let’s take a look at it from the very beginning when the team is created. A manger gets to know what the employee’s strengths are and how each person can add value to the group. The strengths of one person are also taken as assets of a team, but it is not always true. People who run their tasks well as individuals may not be able to pass this knowledge to others and to work in a team.
Delegating tasks runs almost the same for one employee and for the team. In both cases the manager has to present the responsibilities and provide necessary start support to achieve success. However there are situations when the team leader cannot provide information individually to each person. It is more profitable for the team to have a joined meeting and delegate tasks to all. If necessary during the meeting the split of subtasks should also be made, so the team can work integrally as a whole body.
Meeting during the task
When the task is already in process difference in managerial approach appear. To a sole employee further support, directions or tasks can be given via email or quick conversation. To a team all information and communication should be done via regular meetings. Team work will bring profit only then when each of its members is occupied up to her/his capacity.
In case of support during the process it is a team project that needs management attention and regular feedback. It is also worth mentioning that support should be given not only on the project-connected tasks but also regarding personal struggles, if any appear. It is certain that the team can sort the issue themselves and the manager will only observe how well they are doing. In order to have that, the manager has to prepare them well beforehand. He is the one to not only set tasks, but also to create the group mind-set and motivation towards the common goal.
Solving a problem
The more difficult tasks you give to the employee or a team, the more support you need to provide. In order to avoid errors in tasks done by a single employee, the manager should not only give a task, but also a deadline at which he would be able to check if the employee reached the target. If there is a problem, a short correction or explanation would be enough for a single person.
Within the team which has been given more and more complicated tasks it is necessary not only to explain the task, but also to show the standard method and teach them 2 important things: team communication and opened listening. Setting a deadline is also important, but it is important to set also a step plan and control if each step is fulfilled correctly. In the case of one employee we don’t need to meet so often, but in the case of a team (as already mentioned) regular meetings are crucial. Moreover, while managing a team one can’t sit down and close the office doors, it is necessary to also be active in the project and know which step of the task the team is currently working at.
Review and feedback
The most important part is the review and feedback that is given to employees (both single and group). The one given for a particular person is often done just once a year and has an aim to evaluate the employee and give him directions. It can be used to promote an individual or remind company’s rules and expectations. It is a time for summing up the past year and setting goals for next year.
A team needs regular review, periodical feedback, information on how the current project is progressing and what the next project will be. Periodic meetings will be also use to remind company’s rules, but it is necessary to find the time to ask and answer a question “what we can do better, quicker, more efficient and effective, as a team?”. It is a time for double side communication, which in the relatively young team will focus on the means of communication, whereas in the mature one it will be more focused on improvement and sorting out communication issues.
Need of control
Once the employee is learning and the team is learning, both are maturing and need less control. The team becomes as one. It can control the processes and expectations in the same way as a single employee.
The role on manager
The main role of the manager in employee interaction is the fact that an employee is gaining more independence, but at the same time gets assurance that she/he can count on the manager. The more the manger has abilities to be a coach and ask questions instead of making a speech, the more he or she will empower the employee to be an effective, efficient and independent part of the company.
The manager of the team has to be able to do the above but at the same time he or she has to know that it’s not details that are important. More important is to support the team in making their own decisions in case of trouble or people shortage, even without manager’s intervention.
After all in both cases the manger would like to have independent staff able to do the work while he will be reporting to the executives.
Are awards necessary to have a happy and satisfied employee or a team?
It is not a difficult task to come to an employee or to a team and give them the award. It is, however, important to acknowledge the tasks being done well and effectively and show that the manager is proud of the work of an individual or of the team.
It is also important and valuable to be able to strengthen those actions which are important in the work process. Speak up when you see them working well, acknowledge the good practice and confirm in public when you see them working well.
I once read that “the team is like a toddler who can become a creative and independent person”. I agree with that, but only if this toddler is guided in the right direction. That is the role of the manger, to be a guide and a mentor supporting actions and development of team members.
Remember also that only a well-guided team will bring sucess to the manager, but if the manger will fail on the role it is more likely that the team will not be homogenic and will struggle to reach the finish line.