When budgets are tight and expectations are high, the challenge facing today’s manager is ensuring that their team continues to run smoothly (and is happy). Every manager needs to figure out the best way to lead and motivate their team, but here are a few pointers to guide you to the right path.
1. Be Fair and Respect Your Employees
Avoid favouritism or putting your own ambitions above those of your team, because people are quick to identify words and actions that are unfair or self-serving. You will still need to make unpopular decisions from time-to-time, but when you do, you will hopefully retain your team’s respect. Also, avoid being critical to, disciplining, or embarrassing your employees in public as this will undermine the respect you have with your team. Allow employees the courtesy of carrying out sensitive discussions in private, give them the benefit of the doubt when mistakes occur, and never lose sight of their individual career goals.
2. Know Your Role
As the leader of the team or group, your primary concern must be the team itself. For hands-on managers, remember you are also there to coach, evaluate, and mentor all members of the team. You should therefore make time to address each of these areas on a regular and consistent basis.
3. Encourage Success & Support Your Team
When an employee accomplishes a tough goal or really pulls out a win, emphasis it. Let the rest of the team know about the accomplishment, look for other ways to repeat the success on future projects, and keep an eye out for opportunities that would allow the employee to help mentor others to achieve similar results. You should be your employees’ biggest fan and strongest supporter. Ensure that your executive team is aware of your group’s accomplishments, work with senior staff members to gain recognition for the team’s successes, and be diligent in rewarding individual achievers with promotions when appropriate.
4. Value Your Employees
As an individual, no manager will be able to accomplish your team’s objectives alone, so work hard to help your employees do their jobs. Remove obstacles, work through glitches, and fight for the resources your employees need to achieve success.
5. Identify & Leverage Each Member’s Strengths
By utilising an employee’s natural strengths to their full potential, you will not only allow the employee to feel a tremendous sense of appreciation and accomplishment, but you will also be giving the rest of the team the benefit of those skills.
6. Provide Feedback
Make sure you always try to give prompt, direct and useful feedback to your employees. By not doing so, your employees will become frustrated that their efforts aren’t paying off and being recognised, and you will be equally infuriated because your team isn’t reaching its full potential.
7. Focus on Long-term Success
Managers should not expect their employees to learn new skills, modify behaviours, or improve their performance overnight. Instead, work on small changes over a period of time, and you will find solid long-term results.
8. Realise that Your Employees May know More than You
If you have a team member with more expertise in a particular area, avoid trying to hide or mitigate it -celebrate it! Successful teams are built on combining each member’s specific talents, and any ego or insecurities you bring to the table will only undermine that.
9. Learn from Mistakes
All managers should expect their team to make mistakes but this negative result should be turned into a positive action. Once you have worked with the team to correct an error, shift your focus to helping them understand how the mistake occurred, what signposts they missed originally, and how they can avoid repeating the same mistake in the future.
10. Delegate & Step Back
Good managers are those individuals who are able to delegate tasks and activities effectively, and then step back and let their teams get on with it. By stepping back and allowing your employees to do their jobs, you will instil in them greater confidence and a higher degree of responsibility and accountability. You will also be supporting their efforts to increase their skills sets and improve their decision-making capabilities.