Behind every accountable, productive team of people in any business is a great leader. In fact, a team of employees is only as good as the person that is leading them. If you’re a team leader, this might sound like a lot of pressure – but if you know what you’re doing and take care of your team, it doesn’t have to be stressful.
Whether you manage a small team of employees or a bigger group, you’re going to have your fair share of challenges as you navigate each relationship and manage them together as a whole. Let’s talk about how to be the best team manager this year.
1. Be Understanding, But Firm
One of the best things that you can do as a team leader is to have empathy and understanding for your team members. There’s a good chance that once upon a time you were in a team yourself, and was being led by someone.
This means that you’ll have an easier time putting yourself in their shoes and understanding their needs, as well as how they might feel being a part of a team in general. However, don’t let this take away your ability to lead. Try to see things from their perspective, while at the same time standing your ground and leading with authority.
2. Back off When You Need to
Another tip for being the best team manager you can be is to know when to pick your battles. When you’re trying to manage a group of individuals, you’re going to struggle to keep track of everyone at the same time and know-how to approach certain situations.
One of the best pieces of advice here is to learn when to be hands-on, and when to back off. Additionally, if you’re worried about your team members’ productivity levels, you can always install computer monitoring software. Brad Miller, the CEO of InterGuardSoftware, stated in a reason interview with NPR that it’s important to have the right information when evaluating employees. This way, you can keep track of what they’re doing online, without making them feel like you’re watching their every move.
3. Be Honest and Open
Everyone loves a team manager who is approachable, open, and honest. If you keep your cards close to the chest and don’t let anyone in, then it’s going to be hard for members of your team to feel like they can communicate with you about their job.
In fact, this could even hinder them from doing their job well. If they don’t feel like they can talk to you without there being an issue, then they’ll refrain from being honest and open themselves. The more approachable you are, the better your team is going to feel about you being the leader.
4. Try to Learn as Well
Just because you’re the team manager, doesn’t mean that your learning days are over. In fact, the best team managers know that they’re also a work in progress and need to keep learning new things about their role as team leaders to be the best they can be.
If you want to be the best team manager for your employees, know that there is always room for improvement.
5. Know the Warning Signs for Issues
When you’re trying to manage a team of employees from a distance, it can be difficult to work out when they’re having issues. You can’t be in the same room as them to read their body language, which means that you might miss things as they struggle to complete a task.
This is why it’s important to create and develop alternative work models while you’re managing your employees remotely so that they can successfully be lead and taken care of before any issues arise. Ensure that you’re having consistent conversations with each employee, where they feel comfortable and safe enough to broach issues.
6. Use the Power of Organization
Just because you’ve got a team of employees working together that you are leading from a distance doesn’t mean that every one of them is going to be highly organized. However, in times like this, it’s pretty important that they are, especially as they dictate their day, environment, and schedule.
For some of your team members, being organized will come naturally. For others, they’ll have to learn it, and it might not be as easy as you think. This is why it’s vital to hone the power of organization from the beginning so that they can feel relaxed in their new home work environment and get the job done as efficiently as possible.
7. Work Out When to Praise
When do you praise your employees, and when do you bite your tongue? Similar to handing out criticisms, it’s important that you get the timing right with your praise and encouragement so that it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
It’s a balance between keeping your employees hard-working and motivated and recognizing their competence and ability. Encouragement and praise are essential at the beginning of shifting to remote, as they learn to adapt to a new work environment. As time goes on, you will learn when to praise and when to hold back.
8. Allow for Flexibility
We’d all love it if each and every one of our employees were able to get the job done in the required timeframe without any hesitation or question. However, life doesn’t always work out this way.
When you’re working with employees remotely, your job will become a bit easier if you learn to be a bit more flexible than normal. This is also a good way to show your employees that you trust them to do their job, even if you can’t be in the room. Being flexible is going to give them room to learn and grow as they learn to adapt to working remotely.
If you’re in charge of a team this year, you might be feeling the pressure to lead, without being overbearing. You could face many challenges as a team leader, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity to do great by your team members.