I've managed teams for approaching 30 years now, and you realise there is one constant - the need to refresh your ideas, approaches and techniques. There are always new situations for you to be in, improved coaching techniques to learn, and more emotional intelligence to develop. Here are some tips.
Management doesn't come naturally to most people, and it goes without saying there is always more to learn - no matter how long you've been doing it.
Here's a few tips to get you thinking about how you approach your management style.
If you’re not positive, no one else is going to be either!
Negativity breeds negativity and makes it more likely we’ll fail.
It also adds to stress, as people look on the negative side and see more of the bad and less of the good.
If the company has genuine opportunity and we’re kicking goals, tell people. Keep optimistic and keep telling people. Its not a one time exercise, but a continuous improvement cycle.
If you don’t believe it yourself at first, stick with it – the more you learn to look for the positives, the more you will see.
You can’t do everything.
Sooner or later you need to trust someone. Tell them the boundaries, tell them what’s expected. Put them in charge of the result. When someone owns the outcome – and they rise and fall based upon it – they tend to step up.
In doing so, you give someone the chance to shine and free yourself from personally achieving the result. This is good delegation and good management.
Trusting someone will allow you to get the most from them.
It also means allowing someone that’s not up to your standard to stand sometimes – within reason of course.
You don’t have to agree with all the decisions that get made from your allocation of trust, but if it’s a case that its just been done in a way that’s different to how you’d do it, what’s the harm in allowing that person's output to stand?
Trust helps to really build teams too - a team that trusts each other can withstand the stresses and rigour of large projects and still come out on top. We've seen team work work well on large network installations.
Trusting someone also means you give constructive feedback – don’t let the task run to the end, then criticise the output, but get involved along the way to ensure the output will be what you need. You’re both invested in a successful outcome then.
Renew an Acquaintance
Dealing with people is a fundamental part of management. People work best with people they have formed some kind of relationship with.
Go have a coffee with the important contacts you deal with in your daily lives.
It will reap rewards when you hit a snag or a problem on a project, as you’ll have a better relationship to deal with the problem.
You’ll also get to hear first hand on what you are doing well – and just as importantly what you can improve.
This connection to our staff and customers is vital for us to help improve the business and what we do. In hearing what our staff and customers need from us, we can try and deliver on our promises first time.
Take a Risk
Take some measured risks.
We will only find out what people are capable of when we stretch them. By always playing it safe, we will never let people do new tasks or find out what they are capable of.
You often find out new things when you are tasked with someone outside of your comfort zone.
Owning the outcome of a new task means people have to step up.
In stepping up, they take ownership and it's that mix of ownership and willingness to try something new that is so valuable to employee productivity and also helping us train new engineers.
Don’t put people at risk – this doesn’t mean throwing someone in the deep end, but it does mean stretching them and putting them out of their comfort zone.
Delegate a task
Delegate a task. It’s the 101 of managing people. Not delegating means you will only have view in the weeds of what’s happening, when you need a helicopter view.
People may not perform a task as well as you, or may need a lot of guidance to bring them up to speed. Invest in them. Tell them what you need and your expectation.
You must delegate – it is the only way to manage a growing amount of work. If you don’t delegate you will get busier and busier, missing deadlines and deliverables to customers.
Once delegated, follow up with each person – find out where they are and what they need to get the task done.
Clear the way for them and keep them on track. Trust them to do the task – and tell them that. Knowing you're investing in them – and trusting them to produce a great output – motivates people to please you. Praise them when they deliver.
You have to manage people and tasks to deliver the bigger picture. If you’re overloaded you should be delegating more.
5 Tips for Managers: Summary
Hopefully the blog has got you thinking a little. Teams and people don't stand still and it's your role as the manager to build the team spirit and connect with your team.
Easier said than done, and the aim of this blog was the refresh your thinking a little: how do you approach your team and work, and the energy, positivity and attitude you bring are all key to how your team feels.
We all have a lot to learn in managing teams, but a few adjustments and continual refresh of ideas helps to keep you - and your team - motivated.
Thanks for reading.
IPTel Solutions delivers enterprise grade networking to our clients. We work across a range of enterprise technologies.
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