It takes exceptional leadership qualities and effective team management skills in order to build a highly successful team.
Team building requires a well-honed understanding of your team, their strengths and what actually excites them to work and keeps them motivated. In a team, role of the team leader requires a level of skills and dedication that takes time to hone.
Alongside the technical side of the industry, a team leader should be well versed in the emotional side of the job as well. A good team manager knows how to play the team’s strengths to the full. Subsequently, a well-managed team meets its goals by using the talents of each team member to best effect.
So how do we go about building an efficient team?
6 Essential Team Management Skills For Team Leaders
A team manager’s job is never easy. That being said, having the following set of 6 important team management skills certainly helps with navigating the everyday triumphs and challenges:
1. Industry Expertise
Having industry expertise is a skill that simply can’t be overlooked. Rapid changes in the industry trends mean that the way we work is evolving as well.
Thus it becomes crucial that a team leader master the nitty-gritty details of the company and hit the ground running. Good managers need to know enough to first come up with a plan, execute it, manage it properly, and lead the team into success.
To run an effective team where the team members can value and respect the team leader, he should have required experience, skills and knowledge. There is a reason why industry expertise is a skill sought out by companies while filling a team leadership role.
An experienced team manager is able to:
- Figure out the best possible path to get to the end result. This is in lieu to have been in the industry long enough to distinguish the most feasible technique.
- Knows how to manage project timelines as well as estimates better.
- Able to distinguish and hand out roles and responsibilities which suits everyone’s area of expertise in a team.
How To Do It
A good leader accepts that the learning never stops. Hence they are always keeping themselves updated with new knowledge, skills, and projects. Furthermore, they are dedicated to a common goal of having all the relevant skill set as well as the applications of their niche industry under their belt.
2. Strategic Thinking
Strategic Thinking is about uncovering all the options and thinking long term.
Any thriving team leader knows the importance of strategic thinking for long term success. Long-time managers know the vital role they play in translating strategic thinking into real-time results.
Team managers lacking on this particular skill will face the problem of not seeing the bigger picture and the obstacles that are resulting in business losses. This is where the team leader takes backstage and lose sight of the team’s contribution to the organization.
How To Do It
While there are many facets to this skill, at its core it involves being able to:
- Withdraw from the present issues and see the bigger picture taking in internal as well as external factors.
- Understand the long term organizational goals and how can your team contribute towards it.
- Learn about the internal and external influences driving change in your organisation.
- Envision the potential futures as well as the roles and responsibilities for the team, in the organization.
3. Good Managers Build Trustworthiness
Good team management skills are a necessity to build a successful team. Nevertheless, team leadership skills are more than just motivating, leading and team building. It’s also about an environment of trust, honesty and transparency that you cultivate with your team.
People work for people, and not for organizations.
Your employees want a team leader who they can rely or fall back on during times of crisis. A good leader manages to convey that he has the team’s best interests at heart. Without this trust, team members are less likely to be engaged and motivated to go the extra mile for the job.
A lack of loyalty and trust in the team leader will not only have a negative impact on the team’s productivity but also places a question on one’s management skills.
How To Do It
- Listen to your team. Actively listening to your people helps establish your trustworthiness. When your team feel they can confide in you with their problems, that’s based on their belief that you care and will take action for them.
- Be clear about your values. It’s necessary to be clear about the values you believe in. For example, if you say you value everyone’s input, then you should create chances for other team members to contribute.
- Be transparent. Transparency, especially during challenging times, is the building block of trustworthiness. Being transparent allows your employees to know that you have got their back and can be trusted even when the situation is bad.
4. Effective Communication Skills
“I wish my team leader would stop being so clear and upfront about our project”, said no employee ever.
A good leader is often a great communicator. It is perhaps one of the most important skills that a true leader must possess. Largely because all leadership skills become obsolete if you fail to communicate the roles and responsibilities to your team members.
When asked about failures in the workplace, a Salesforce study shows that 86% of respondents cited lack of collaboration or ineffective communication.
Effective communication skills remove hindrances that lower efficiency and affect collaboration. Team managers, who are also great communicators, lay the groundwork on how communication is practised on their teams.
According to Gallup, regular “team manager-employee” communication is correlated to higher employee engagement.
How To Get It
- Provide clarity on the team roles and responsibilities. It helps the team members establish on what should everyone focus their time and energy.
- Welcome personal feedback as well as give feedback. This opens up an effective communication channel between the team leader and the employees. It helps to build transparency as well as honesty in the workplace.
- Develop intra team communication strategies. Ensure that irrespective of the team role, race, gender or sexual orientation; your team member feels safe to reach out to you in case of distress.
5. Time Management
As a team leader, one of the most prominent team management skill is in determining how other team members are going to devote their time.
Team managers know that important tasks often gets overshadowed by the urgent tasks. There are a host of different things that you might utilize your time on. But only long-time managers understand that hardly a few of those fall into the “important” category.
For any team’s long term success, the team leader must prioritize managing his as well as the team’s time.
How To Do It
Whether you are a first-time manager or an old-timer, the skill of time management is unavoidable but easy to implement.
The US President Dwight Eisenhower broke time management into four groups, collectively known as The Eisenhower Matrix. Essentially each time management task falls into any one of these 4 groups:
- Do First (Urgent and Important): Tasks that need to be done immediately.
- Schedule (Important but Not Urgent): Tasks that can be scheduled to be done later.
- Delegate (Urgent but Not Important): Tasks that can be delegated to someone else in the team.
- Don’t Do (Neither Urgent Nor Important): Tasks that need to be eliminated.
6. Team Building
Modern organisations are built around teams. Thus, it’s feasible that business growth is centred around the success levels of its teams.
Each team member brings their individual strengths to the team. Alongside, they bring along their unique values, beliefs, talents and perspectives. But here’s the thing.
Creating a high performing team is no cakewalk in the park. It is an all-encompassing job that requires effort, hard work and some good old team building activities.
Bringing out the best in everyone is what you as a team leader should focus on. It consists of building on strengths for fulfilling the common goal of the team and organization is what building a high-performing team is all about.
How To Do It
- Find the strengths and weaknesses of each team members. Allocate roles and responsibilities based on it.
- Bring on a diverse set of people in your team. Not only will it encourage different perspectives but will also ensure your team’s loyalty towards you.
- Improve upon the team’s communication.
- Be prepared to settle team disputes and bring unity during conflicts.
Learn to manage the development stages of your team.
Think that there are any additional team management skills that we have left out? Tell us in the comments below!