It’s commonly agreed that the most valuable asset for any business is its team. Without great people, any business will struggle to survive, let alone grow, so what’s the key to managing a team successfully? Ultimately, managing a team is about bringing out the best in everyone and creating a culture where they want to work together, but it’s also about reward and recognition too. Here are our top ten skills that a successful leader needs to develop:
There’s no substitute for effective communication in business, and that’s even more true for a team manager. Whether it’s face-to-face in the office or digitally with your hybrid/remote workers, talking regularly is the best way to engender staff loyalty and confidence. It’s easy to make excuses in this area, but consistent communication really is essential if you’re to retain your best people.
It can be tough, but leadership is all about making decisions, whether it’s on a project or a personnel issue. Your team members will look to you to be decisive and give them clarity, so there’s no option to sit on the fence, even if the decision you make may not sit well with some of the team.
Getting involved was historically viewed as good management, but with the new normal it’s important to learn how to encourage collaboration while also taking a step back and giving your people the freedom to progress. Some of the team may not work in the same way as you do, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong, and working together can deliver far better results so it’s down to you to create that culture.
Statistics indicate that around one in three new recruits leave their job within the first 12 months. There are, of course, many reasons for this, but a key one is a lack of personal development. As a team manager it’s important to review your Learning and Development strategy and ensure that all team members are given the opportunity to upskill at a pace that works for them. And don’t forget that a high turnover of staff will also cost the business more money, so a settled team is the best way forward.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a shift in demands on team managers. Historically, the bulk – if not all – of your team would be in the office with you all day, every day, which made management easier. Now you may be facing a hybrid or even fully remote team, so you need the skills to manage them effectively, monitor their output and assess their mental health. Communication is at heart of this, but recognition and training and development are also key factors.
Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever, so a one-size-fits-all approach to team management simply won’t work. Whether it’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or age, you’re likely to have team members who have different expectations, values and attitudes, so it’s vital to cater for everyone if you want the team to succeed.
Statistics reveal that businesses that provide regular feedback to team members enjoy 15% lower staff turnover than those that prefer to wait for a formal appraisal. That said, successful managers will evaluate the most effective way to provide feedback for each team member, as well as the regularity with which it should be delivered. It’s likely that some team members will respond positively to an ‘arm round the shoulder’ approach, while others will benefit from more direct – and potentially critical – feedback.
As well as managing people, team managers will usually also be responsible for individual projects, so this is a crucial skill. With agile working prevalent, project-based work is on the rise, so you’ll need to demonstrate to your team a willingness to manage schedules and processes.
The best team members are embracing their company’s Corporate Social Responsibility – or CSR – principles, not only for good PR with customers but also to inspire new starters and potential jobseekers. Post-pandemic, embracing social values can have a hugely positive effect on your brand and its appeal to your team.
It seems obvious, but the best team managers are great leaders, and they also identify leadership potential in their team members. There’s no greater accolade for a team manager than to help your staff to develop their leadership skills and build their career under your tutelage.
For Rosa dos Santos, owner of Exact Sourcing, team management is all about being an all-rounder. ‘Many managers believe that their role is to rule the roost,’ comments Rosa, ‘but at Exact we know that the best managers respect their team, communicate with them and focus on taking each and every member with them on the journey. It’s important to understand that everyone’s an individual and may therefore require a different approach, so having an open mind and being flexible are two really core skills for a team manager.’
Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket, and we also serve Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Royston and Sawston. If you’re looking to develop your team, please contact us for an initial discussion.