Whether you just hired your first employees or you were promoted to manager, the responsibility of leading others can prove both exciting and frightening at the same time. You now have people looking up to you, expecting you to make decisions while guiding them along the way. For some, management comes naturally, almost as if it’s in their blood and part of their DNA. These people have seen their parents or other authority figures lead, so they already know what can prove successful and what may fail. For most, however, becoming a manager is a new experience. To succeed in your new position, you need to know how to effectively organize and manage a team. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
If you’re a fan of old Western movies, you’ve heard the catchphrase “there’s a new sheriff in town” time and time again. A new leader of the law comes into a city and informs the community of exactly how he’s going to run things and what he expects from everyone in return. As a new manager, you’re the new sheriff. Now, you won’t be strutting around the office with a flashy new badge and clinking spurs, but the sooner you establish expectations for your employees, the better off everyone will be.
To succeed as an effective manager, you need to establish very specific expectations. These are goals you can measure with the aid of a Key Performance Indicator. Now, each employee is likely to have slightly different performance goals. You can hold a team meeting and go over your expectations from them as workers, then meet with individuals privately, to go over your specific goals with them. If everyone within your team understands where they stand and what you expect of them, you’ll start off on the right foot as the new manager in town.
Play as a Team
As the manager of a team, you become the face of those working under you. Chances are, you have your own boss to answer to as well. As the manager, it is up to you to help focus the team on its eventual goal (which is where establishing expectations comes in). You also need to remember there’s no “I” in team.
If you present an idea or demonstrate a new product to your boss, the board of directors or other agency within the company, you might be the head of the team but you are not the only person on the team. You need to refer to the group as “we” and not “I” or “me.” If your boss has an issue with the presentation, don’t throw another team member under the bus. This demonstrates inferior leadership skills. Not only does it look bad to do this in front of your boss, but your team members will take note as well. It’s a group effort, so treat it as such.
As the head of your team, employees look towards you for guidance and assistance from time to time. Due to this, you need to make time for individual team members who might need help. After all, your team is only as strong as its weakest link, so if this weak link is struggling, look into the situation. By offering your assistance and guidance you may be able to improve their performance, which will boost the entire output of your team.
If you want something done a certain way, you often have to do it yourself. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to go about doing everything for the team. However, you need to demonstrate how you’d like things done and lead by example. If you want employees to show up on time, you can’t arrive late every day. Doing so is a fast way to lose the respect of your team members. If you want a program file created in a certain way or if you want employees to maintain a certain dress code, you need to lead by example and demonstrate how you like it. Team members will follow your lead. By establishing a precedent and showcasing how something should be done to your employees, you’ll reduce the time you need to spend correcting issues later.
Communication is crucial to becoming a successful manager. The last thing you want, as the classic Cool Hand Luke line goes, is “What we have here is a failure to communicate…” Any lack of communication can cause a ripple effect throughout your team. By not giving clear, precise instructions, your team members may carry out tasks in an incorrect manner, which reduces productivity and can cause problems both for your team and the entire company. Instead, you need to maintain excellent communication with every employee.
So how do you establish excellent communication within your team? First, make sure you provide clear, concise instructions whenever discussing operations with your workers. Make sure you provide necessary details to keep everyone within the company on the same page. It is better to be too in-depth than to not clearly explain expectations. You also need to keep your office door open and make sure your team members know they can come and talk to you if they have a question. Maintaining open communication is a must for any successful business.
Earn the Respect of Your Team Members
There are many things you can buy in this world. Realistically, just about everything is for sale in some shape or form. However, one of the few things you can’t buy is respect. Respect is something you need to earn. When your employees respect you, they are more likely to put in a solid day of work, every single day. They are more willing to do what you ask the first time around and they will follow your lead, wherever it might take them.
Of course, as you can’t buy respect, how do you go about earning it? For starters, if you simply follow the previous tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way. You’ll demonstrate how you expect work to be done. You’ll have established expectations and you’ll stand up for the team whenever in front of other bosses or potential clients. All of this goes a long way in building respect. Additionally, you need to have time for all your employees. If they have an issue, question or concern, they need to have the ability to come and talk to you. You also need to keep this information to yourself. Once you start sharing confidential information with other employees, members of your team will lose trust in you, which will also erode respect.
You’re Their Manager, Not Their Friend
This can be a challenging tip to follow for many, especially if you were originally a standard associate employee, working alongside everyone you’re now in charge of. However, once you move into a leadership position you can no longer be the friend in the office. You can remain friendly, offer assistance and be there when someone needs help. However, once you start acting chummy with different employees, it can come across as playing favorites. Once other employees believe you’re playing favorites, they may start to lose faith in your leadership abilities and, if it goes too far, can lead to a mutiny within your own team.
You don’t need to become nasty or treat others substantially different, but you need to treat every single employee there with the same level of professionalism as the other. Make sure to never offer some employees preferential treatment and keep it professional. You are not their friend. You are their manager.
Whatever you do and no matter the decisions you make, do so with confidence. Team members do not want to follow someone who demonstrates self-doubt. There will be times where you will second guess yourself or wonder if you made the right decision. That is fine, but don’t let your team members see it. You need to make decisive decisions that you stand by. The more confidence you have, the more your employees are going to follow you. They will also build their own confidence because of it.
What happens if you’re not an extremely confident person? Fake it. As the late, great, Carry Fisher said, “Fake it until you make it.” She said this line time and time again about living in the shadows of a major Hollywood celebrity parent and trying to establish herself and her own confidence. Sometimes you just should fake it and fake it some more because, with enough practice, the confidence you exude will become 100% genuine.
A successful manager is someone your team respects and looks to in times of crisis. However, respect is not something given. Earn it by demonstrating your skills as a quality, competent manager. By following these tips, you’ll develop excellent managerial skills as you become the professional everyone around turns to in times of need.
What do you think is the most important factor when effectively managing your team?