Team management skills are vital. After all this is a complex and high-pressured responsibility that requires a lot of patience and a wide range of attributes and skills. One of the greatest team leader qualities is managing a team effectively; how can you bring out the best in each team member? How can you, as project manager, ensure that tasks are carried out and completed on time to the required standard?
In this post, I’ll be taking you through some of the most effective team management skills every project manager or team leader needs to have.
How to manage a team effectively?
1. Break up big jobs into smaller, actionable tasks
Often, project managers make the mistake of creating major pieces of work. This means team members across different divisions may postpone them. This is done on the basis that there’s too much to do and they don’t know where to start. Before you know it, you’ll be banging your head on the table at the next project meeting. The reason? No one has done anything!
Instead of doing this, take smaller steps. Divide up work into manageable chunks. This makes it easier for everyone involved. It’s also likely to yield quicker and more positive results. One of the fundamental project manager skills needed is the ability to get things moving.
2. Use a cloud-based management system
For good team management take to the skies – not literally of course – and list all the tasks on a cloud-based system which you can manage with ease. You will be able to organise and assign tasks more easily. Liaising with other departments is also more effective. There will be no excuses for overlooked emails or missed deadlines if you can monitor who has received and acted on their tasks.
In order to effectively lead and manage a team, you’ll need reliable and cutting-edge technology at the heart of your project.
Team management skills are complex
3. Appoint product owners for specific tasks
Effective team leadership is demonstrated by appointing ‘product owners’. These are your delegates; your sub team leaders; the guys you need at their best. ‘Scrum’ product owners are key players in the project management process. Their principle responsibility is to create and convey a vision of what needs to be built, and stop at nothing to achieve that vision.
The ideal and agile product owner should always be ready to engage with you and other team members, be business savvy and have great communication skills. The role is paramount to achieving success.
4. Identify the ‘quick wins’ that can be achieved so the team sees results sooner
What makes a good team leader? Someone who can motivate their team every step of the way.
Small victories are important for keeping moral and confidence high among your team – never let one go unrecognised, even if it does feel trifling. Seeing the project take shape and heading in the right direction in the early stages will motivate your team to plough on. It will also give the project more momentum. This is an often overlooked aspect of team management.
5. Hold shorter meetings
Rather than regularly dragging out a 2-hour-long conference meeting with everyone present, consider holding shorter meetings – 20-minute catch-ups – more frequently, and in smaller groups. Forcing a web developer to sit idly by as you go over the offline marketing details for the fifth time will only lead to exasperation.
By holding shorter and more focused meetings, your team will leave with a much clearer idea of what is expected. They will probably be raring to go! Face-to-face meetings not possible? Use Skype or Google Hangouts.
6. Encourage sub-team meetings
Each product owner should work very closely with his/her sub-team members. They should regularly hold their own meetings to make sure all are on task. This is a great way to ensure responsible team performance management.
It’s incredibly important that team members don’t feel isolated, unaided or undervalued. When you’re not around, you’re going to need your sub-team leaders to prevent this from happening and keep morale high.
7. Be respectful and gracious
Be sure to give credit where credit’s due at those meetings. Openly recognising a team member for a job well done will, of course, not only be received gratefully but also spur others on to perform.
A happy, committed team is far more likely to achieve its objective. If you ignore your team’s hard work or get snappy with them in front of the others, this will only lead to frustration, demotivation and ultimately disdain. A little gratitude and acknowledgement goes a hell of a long way.
8. Treat your team
A team’s competence, enthusiasm or loyalty can’t be bought with free alcohol or donuts. However, it’s important that you make an effort to treat or reward your team anyway. Whether it’s drinks after work, a working lunch or an afternoon tackling a high-rope obstacle course in a forest – fostering an alternative and less formal context will allow your team to get to know each other better and subsequently benefit the project. If the team is spread internationally, then maybe send donuts after all.
How do effective team management skills pay off?
It’s not so hard to create a team but the process of binding team members together and even making them work is more challenging than it may seem. Effective team management skills such as the ones laid out in this post help to strengthen the bond among team members and create an environment based upon trust. In the best case scenario, team members actually become friends and start meeting up outside of work. That is, assuming they don’t meet to vent all their anger about the poor project management… Just kidding! But do think carefully abut what will work best to develop your team management skills.