10 Ways to Effectively Manage a Small Team

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“Several people fist bumping over a busy workspace” by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Coming from someone who has jumped around quite a bit in the past five years, I’ve encountered a variety of management styles from the many different bosses I’ve had. Whether it was a smaller, close-knit company or a large corporation, every manager had their own methods.

Managing a team is surely not an easy task. In addition to doing your own work, you have to also take into the account the work of others. And of course, a team is only as strong as its weakest link which means that every team member matters.

Though I haven’t yet had the opportunity in my career to manage a team of my own, I am, however, extremely grateful to have been able to work with an extensive number of people and learn from those whom I’ve reported into over the years. Hopefully, I am able apply this knowledge in the future.

So, here is what I have learned:

1. Establish clear roles and responsibilities from the very beginning. When there is no distinction or clarity in roles and responsibilities, it leaves employees with a lot of questions and confusion. If you don’t identify roles and responsibilites, what often happens is employees end up wearing either too many hats or don’t do enough which ultimately leads to internal chaos and frustration within the team.

2. Get your processes in place. Ensuring that a successful process is put in place is critical towards the ecosystem of any work environment. Knowing what works and what doesn’t work goes a long way in terms the efficiency in workflow.

3. Over-communicate. Regardless of what some may say, there is no such thing as over-communicating. Like any relationship, communication is a key component. Nobody likes feeling like they are being left in the dark, so do your best to communicate as much as you can so that there are no surprises down the road.

4. Check in. Checking in is extremely important towards acknowledging your team and letting them know that you care. It also lets them know that you are truly managing them and there if they need you.

5. Be responsive. Being a manager means that you can be there to address their needs, answer any questions, and ensure that the team is running like a well-oiled machine. However, if you seldom respond whenever they reach out, then they’ll feel neglected and overlooked.

6. When providing constructive criticism, start with what is being done right before what is being done wrong. The rule of thumb for providing feedback is to always start with the positives before you dive into the negatives. Starting with positive feedback first makes the conversation more inviting and it lets your team know that they are not a lost cause.

7. Listen to what your employees have to say. As humans, we all have opinions and emotions that often times need to be heard. If your employees feel like you don’t listen to them, then they’ll slowly start withholding information from you. This can lead to bitterness, resentment, dissatisfaction, and eventually their departure from the company all together.

8. Take immediate action when providing solutions. If you do provide solutions for change, make sure you are giving some sort of timeline for when and how this will get done. Make sure to also manage expectations so that they do not develop a sense of false hope.

9. Champion the team’s success. The success of your team is your own success. Their success is a reflection of yourself and you should have a high level of integrity in making sure that the team’s success is truly a group effort.

10. Champion individual successes. Ultimately, every individual still has their own goals in work and in life. As their manager, you should foster these goals and help them work towards them. There’s a reason why people often attribute their success to their past teachers, mentors, and even bosses. It’s because they had someone who was in their corner, rooting for them the whole way.

*This article was originally published by Lindsey Lazarte on LinkedIn

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