Whether you have recently been promoted or are starting a new job, becoming a manager for the first time can be daunting. However, it is important to remember that team management is a skill that can be learned and improved upon.
Being in a position of leadership requires a different set of skills than those needed to be an individual contributor. As a team leader, you need to be able to motivate and inspire your team, as well as manage and oversee their work.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of team management and provide tips for new managers. We will also touch on some of the fundamental leadership skills that all new managers can implement into their team culture and business strategies to set themselves up for success.
We’ll be covering:
- The importance of strong leadership
- Setting goals
- Delegating tasks
- Providing feedback
- Establishing a clear chain of command
Let’s get started!
The importance of strong leadership
Strong leadership is essential in maintaining a cohesive and productive workforce. As a new manager, learning the basics of team management and understanding how to develop effective strategies for leading your team are indispensable.
With the following tips, you can ensure that your team is well-positioned to execute as productively and efficiently as possible.
One of the most important things a new manager can do is to set clear goals for their team. This includes establishing both long-term and short-term goals, and ensuring that everyone on the team is aware of what they are working towards.
Having measurable goals that are specific, achievable and time-based can help keep everyone on track, and allows for regular progress checks to ensure that all are meeting the expectations set.
In order to ensure that goals remain relevant and attainable, they should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Additionally, team members should be involved in setting their own individual goals, as this can help to foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.
An excellent example of goal setting can be viewed as follows: A new logistics manager puts forth the goal of reducing the average distribution time for their product by 15% over the next fiscal quarter. This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Another valuable benefit to setting clear goals for your team is that it can help to motivate them. People are naturally more motivated when they fully understand what they are working towards and how their efforts are contributing to the team’s overall success.
How do goals apply to team management?
Setting specific and measurable goals will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that progress can easily be tracked.
Research demonstrates that when people are positively reinforced with clear expectations, they are more likely to meet or exceed them. Setting challenging yet achievable goals also helps to create a sense of purpose and direction for employees, which can lead to a more productive and motivated team.
Managing a team that is aware of their goals and working towards collective success is a key component of effective team management.
At its core, task delegation means assigning specific tasks to specific team members. As a new manager, delegating tasks requires confidence and trust in your team.
When delegating, be clear about the goals of the tasks at hand and what you expect from your team members. Make sure to give them the necessary time and resources to complete the task and be sure to provide feedback when necessary.
How does delegation relate to team management?
Understanding each team member’s strengths and weaknesses will help you delegate tasks in a way that makes the most use of everyone’s abilities.
For example, a team member who is more detail-oriented may be better suited for tasks that require a pinpoint attention to detail, while a team member who is more creative may be better suited for tasks that require creative flair and innovation. Additionally, task delegation can help to reduce stress levels and improve communication among team members.
A prime example of proper task delegation can be exemplified through the story of a young woman — let’s call her Kat — who was eager to prove herself as an effective manager.
Kat eagerly took on the task of ordering office supplies for her team, but quickly realized that she was spending more time trying to find the best deals and coordinating shipments than she was actually managing her team.
After delegating the task to a coworker, Kat was able to focus on more important tasks and the team was happier with the improved level of her management.
Task delegation is an integral component of all successful team management strategies for new managers. Keep in mind that delegating tasks is not a substitution for your own responsibilities, but rather an opportunity to empower and motivate your team members.
One of the most delicate yet essential aspects of effective team management is providing feedback to your team.
As a new manager, understanding how to give feedback effectively can be tricky. You want to make sure that you are providing clear, actionable feedback that will help your team members improve their performance, but you also need to be mindful of the way you deliver the information.
There are a few crucial points to consider while providing assessments to your team.
Specific & timely feedback
To begin, always make sure that you are providing the critiques in a timely manner. Feedback that is given too late may not be as effective, as the team member may have already forgotten what they did incorrectly.
Additionally, it is important to make sure that you are giving feedback that is specific to the individual’s performance. Generic observations will not help the team member improve their results; try to dig deep and ask yourself, “what can I notice that nobody else has?”
Nonverbal communication skills
It is also valuable to be cognizant of your tone and body language. Avoid crossing your arms or appearing defensive, as this may make the team member feel uncomfortable and less likely to listen to your feedback. Instead, try to maintain an open posture and use neutral language to portray openness.
Structure negative comments
Being considerate in your approach to each team member will ensure that they feel comfortable taking your constructive criticism and are able to grow from it. When providing negative feedback, always try to do so in a private setting and try to be as specific as possible.
It can help to start by carefully and thoughtfully expressing your disappointment in their performance, then outlining what they could have done better. Finally, provide them with suggestions on how they can improve in the future.
Overall, while timely, thoughtful, and constructive feedback is important for any employee, it is especially critical for new managers. Feedback should be given frequently and in a variety of formats (written, oral, and even via email or text message). Employees should also receive feedback from several people within the company, not just their manager.
Furthermore, employees should feel confident in providing feedback to their own manager as well.
Establishing a clear chain of command
For any new manager, establishing a clear chain of command within your team is critical in maintaining strong group cohesion and productivity. It should be crystal clear to everyone within the team who they should go to with questions or problems, and who is ultimately responsible for making decisions.
Having a clear chain of command can help to prevent conflict from arising due to ambiguity over who is in charge. As such, be sure to clearly define and communicate your team’s reporting structure to all members, and emphasize the importance of following established lines of communication.
This will help to prevent confusion and conflict among team members, while also ensuring that important tasks and decisions are properly delegated. Understanding whose input is needed for various decisions can help new managers better plan and prioritize their team’s work.
Another benefit of having a clear chain of command is that it can help new managers quickly identify and address any potential issues or problems within the team. By knowing who to go to with various questions or concerns, new managers can ensure that issues are addressed in a timely and effective manner.
This is essential for ensuring that the team runs smoothly and that everyone is on the same page. By being sure that each team member understands their role and responsibilities, new managers can focus on more strategic tasks and goals.
Honing your leadership skills
In order to be the most effective leader possible, new managers must understand that leadership is a process, not a position.
One of the first mistakes new leaders make while getting started is trying to do too much. Micromanaging staff and trying to be involved in every detail can quickly lead to burnout. Being too involved can actually impede progress and stifle creativity.
Instead, new managers should focus on developing their leadership skills through the following strategies:
1. Define your vision and values. What do you want your team to accomplish, and how do you want them to behave? Defining your vision and values provides a framework for your team to operate within and makes it easier to make decisions.
2. Build trust. Trust is essential for a successful team. New managers must earn the trust of their team by being honest, reliable and fair.
3. Communicate transparently. Communication is a two-way street. Not only do you need to be a good listener, but you also need to make sure your team understands your vision and goals.
4. Delegate tasks effectively. As previously mentioned, delegating tasks allows team members to share the workload and develop their skills. New managers need to be careful not to overload team members or micromanage them.
5. Encourage collaboration. Encouraging team collaboration allows team members to work together towards a common goal. This can result in better outcomes for the team and can help build team morale.
6. Be a role model. As a new manager, you are the role model for your team. Behave in a way that you want your team to behave. Be respectful, honest and reliable and set the example for others to follow.
7. Stay positive. Keep a positive attitude, even when things get tough. This will help to foster a culture of optimism, effectively motivating your team and keeping them focused on their work.
8. Be organized. Stay organized and have a plan for how you will manage your team’s work. This will help to ensure that everyone is on track and knows what is expected of them.
9. Be flexible. Be willing to adjust your plans as needed and be flexible with your team. This will help to ensure that everyone is able to work productively together.
10. Be patient. It may take time for your team to adjust to your new management style. Be patient and give them time to learn and grow.
Stepping up to lead your team
As new leaders, It can be difficult to transition into a role of team management, especially if you have little to no experience. This is why it is essential to truly take the time to learn and develop your skills so that you can flourish in your new managerial role.
Leaders who are able to successfully manage their teams create more dynamic and productive work environments, which ultimately lead to better outcomes for businesses and increased bottom lines.
To stand out as a new manager, it is crucial to understand that team management is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and developing your own style based on the team’s needs leads to success.
Ultimately, being a successful new manager comes down to two things: mastering the art of communication and being a good leader. By staying focused on these key areas, you will be able to set your team up for success and help them reach their goals.
We hope you enjoyed learning these team management tips! Now that you are fully equipped to skillfully handle any situation that may arise as a new manager, we wish you the best of luck.