Picture this: You return to the office after two weeks of vacation. As a supervisor, you have a day full of meetings with your subordinates, as well as your own projects to handle. During your first quarter as a manager, you felt completely overwhelmed. If only there were more hours in the day! This quarter, you’re determined to learn some new skills to help you effectively guide your team (and yourself).
If you’re a senior manager, an aspiring one, or a newly appointed supervisor with little management experience, you’re aware that there are a variety of qualities that help leaders guide teams effectively.
Let’s discuss team management and 12 skills that you can work on now to become a better leader.
What is team management?
Team management is the ability to direct a group to complete a project. Managing a team involves supporting, communicating with, and uplifting team members so they’re motivated to perform. Employees look to their manager to help them make decisions that will progress projects and steer the team towards their goals. Above all else, team management helps bind a team together so collective objectives can be achieved!
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12 team management skills
- Effective communication
- Emotional intelligence
- Ability to deliver constructive criticism
- Ability to give and receive feedback
- Team building
- Ability to set boundaries
- Strategic thinking
Organizational skills like prioritization, project management, time management, flexibility, reliability, and adaptability are integral to the success of a team. Team managers need to have a variety of organizational skills so they can prioritize what projects their team should work on, set achievable goals, and help increase productivity and efficiency within the group. An example of effective organization as a manager is developing a process-based system for your team that helps guide them through a project’s life cycle.
Team managers need to be excellent communicators. Each person on a team has a unique communication style that contributes to how they interact and exchange information with others. Good communication can drive project success, build and maintain relationships, and help each member of a team understand their “why.” For example, if you’re a manager and want to practice good communication with your subordinates, you can do so by giving directions in a clear and concise manner, using eye contact and other non-verbal cues, and actively listening as others speak.
Great team managers delegate. When you delegate, you empower the members of your team and build trust with them. You also instill knowledge and help your colleagues grow their own skill sets by encouraging them to work through new challenges. Knowing when to delegate is crucial. Let’s say you have a new employee who wants to improve their marketing skills and a tedious weekly newsletter that needs to be produced. If the newsletter is an opportunity for the colleague to grow or develop a skill and is critical to the long-term success of the organization, and you’re able to provide the information and tools needed to complete the task, delegate away! In this scenario, delegation is the answer because it’s a win-win for everyone.
Decisiveness is an underrated skill in management. A great manager should be able to look at the facts and make a decision that reflects the best interests of the company. This is important because wrong decisions can bring consequences with which businesses and teams are ultimately forced to live. One of the most common examples of decision-making in management is making a call on how to best grow or scale a team or company. Managers can use Fellow’s decision-making meeting agenda template to stimulate group participation, share concerns, and create momentum for their team.
It’s common for managers to feel like they’re caught in a never-ending cycle of planning, doing, checking, and monitoring various situations. In doing so, they get caught in a trap of failing to determine the core of each issue. The goal should be to minimize the occurrence of problems by tackling them head-on and approaching each new challenge through a lens of opportunity. All team managers can be effective problem solvers! Some examples of problem-solving in team management include reassigning an absent team member’s work to other members or helping your subordinates adjust their workflow to accommodate a tight deadline.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to understand, manage, and use your emotions positively in a variety of situations. EQ is important in team management as it can help you reduce stress, communicate more effectively, and show empathy towards your teammates. For example, you may need to have an uncomfortable conversation with an employee without hurting their feelings, or you may have to manage your own emotions if you get stressed or overwhelmed.
7Ability to deliver constructive criticism
Constructive criticism is often mistaken as rude, but it’s actually just feedback that is clear, honest, and easy to implement! When given in good faith, constructive criticism can show an employee how they can make positive improvements in their behaviour to minimize future issues. When giving this type of feedback, focus on the situation rather than the person’s character or identity. Be straightforward and mindful of the person’s emotions. For example, if a member of the team consistently makes small errors at work, you can tell them that you believe they may be working on too many things at once. You can also provide them with suggestions like reading an article on detail orientation or participating in a time-management webinar!
8Ability to give and receive feedback
The ability to give and receive effective feedback is an important team management skill. It helps break bad habits, enables teams to work towards their objectives, and reinforces good behaviour. During your next one-on-one meeting, you can practice giving and receiving feedback with a teammate. For example, if you compliment your employee on their speedy turnaround on a project, you can ask them to provide you with some feedback (positive or constructive) as well. Check out our 360-degree feedback review meeting template to help your employees get closer to meeting their professional goals.
Micheal Jordan once said that “talent wins games, but teamwork […] wins championships”! The ability to bring others together is a useful skill in team management. When teammates get along, productivity increases and employees are more satisfied. Managers can promote team building by setting aside time for their teams to participate in team-building activities and meetings that bring everyone closer together.
10Ability to set boundaries
Boundaries are the sweet spot where your responsibility ends and another person’s responsibility begins. Boundaries stop you from doing things for others that those individuals should do for themselves! Setting boundaries can be challenging for supervisors who want to see their employees succeed. However, it’s important to give your staff the space to grow and learn on their own. For example, you can establish boundaries by learning to say no, communicating your expectations clearly, silencing notifications after work hours, and taking time off regularly.
Author Daniel Chidiac once said that self-awareness “[…] is not the absence of mistakes, but the ability to learn and correct them.” A self-aware person is able to pay attention to and monitor their feelings and reactions. They’re also more aligned with their strengths, weaknesses, triggers, and other personality traits. Self-awareness is an important team management skill because it can help managers control intense emotions and set an example for others! For example, leaders can be self-aware during stressful times by practicing mindfulness habits like journaling and meditation to alleviate anxiety.
Strategic thinking refers to using critical thinking to solve complex challenges and plan ahead, and it involves analyzing different factors or variables. In team management, this skill can help you address challenges and accomplish business goals. You can work on this skill by learning to predict outcomes, considering past experiences, and striving to think outside the box whenever you can! An example of strategic thinking in team management is gathering your team for a strategy session once per quarter to develop backup plans in the case of unforeseeable challenges with future work projects.
Imagine: After a few relaxing weeks off, you feel prepared to take on the work week! You have a packed schedule full of team meetings, one-on-ones, and new projects, but you’re not worried about any of them. Since you’ve started working on a few new team management skills, you feel like a more capable leader!
Managing a team isn’t always glamorous, but it’s always worth it. Take the success of your team into your own hands by putting some of our 12 team management skills into practice today.