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Avoiding the pitfalls of managing teams in 4 easy steps

Managing teams is easy. Right?

Wrong. Fortunately, we have some four tips to help you get started.

1.  Great Expectations

Your first step should always be to set some clear expectations around how you’re going to work together, before consistently following up on those expectations over time.

As the manager, this means being really clear on what success looks like for everyone in your team (whether that is through a set of KPIs, goals or otherwise) as well as letting them know whether they’re achieving those same goals throughout the course of their time with you.

Without some clear expectations for their work, the members of your team will become frustrated at the lack of direction – either working too hard and burning out in a struggle to achieve success or becoming demotivated and grossly underperforming as a result.

Feedback and performance reviews should never be a surprise. There’s nothing more damaging to a sense of loyalty than receiving feedback out of the blue from a manager – if they don’t end up resigning they’ll surely resent you for it. Your job as a manager just got a lot harder.

The relationship you cultivate with members of your team is very important, setting expectations from the start will set you up for success.

2. It’s the journey, not the destination.

By nature of managing team it’s likely you’ve done some great work in your career. But remember, you aren’t doing the work anymore – they are.

You will be measured by the performance of your team, not whether they completed their tasks, in the same manner, you would have. Try to step back and allow your team the freedom and accountability they need to achieve the results and expectations you’ve set.

Everyone works differently, what is it about your team that allows them to thrive? If it doesn’t interfere with the quality of their work, let them do it – you’ll send a clear signal of your trust in them and trust us, you’ll be repaid in spades!

“We need leaders who set us up for success, instill in us a sense of bigger purpose, and give us the confidence we need to persevere when the work gets challenging.” – Cellina Da Costa, Forbes

3. Managing mistakes

Mistakes happen, its inevitable. Ideally, we wouldn’t make any but by far the worst mistakes that can happen are those that go unreported.

It is important that as a manager you are seen as an open, honest and trustworthy avenue for your team’s feedback – both good and bad. This means when things go bad, they know there won’t be any finger pointing or blaming taking place. Instead, you’ll be proactively working together to find a solution and stay on track.

Mistakes are our teachers. Try to use these moments as a learning opportunity – a great manager once told me ‘I don’t mind you making a mistake, I just don’t want to see you make it twice’ – and knowing your manager supports you and believes in your ability to fix the issue will go a long way to building self belief in that team member.

Encourage your team to admit their mistakes and learn from them. You’ll both be better for it.

4. Training Wheels

But how do we practice what to do as managers in the heat of the moment? There’s no substitute for experience although fortunately, there’s a great training ground for first-time managers: mentoring.

By volunteering as a mentor for someone in your organisation (or further afield), you practice the soft skills necessary to develop a connection with a mentee over time.

Through fostering a relationship built on trust and availability that so often go hand in hand for successful mentoring relationships, you’ll set clear expectations and goals together, holding them accountable towards those goals over time.

How you set expectations, hold them accountable and encourage them to grow over time will be up to you. But the experiences you gain will be invaluable in your path towards being a great team manager.

Want to set your employees up for managerial success? Find out how mentoring can work at your organisation today.

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Mark Beaven

Mark is part of our Customer Success team | Ex-Uber | Lover of ramen, well brewed tea and social enterprise.

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