10 Essential & Effective Team Management Skills for Leaders
Team management skills are crucial for any business’s success. Company objectives are more easily attained and employees feel more connected and passionate when properly managed by their leaders.
Every leader has their own approach to leadership. They may be more hands-off leaders or be more involved by fostering the exchange of ideas and motivating skills people.
Regardless, the goal of leadership is almost always improved performance for the entire organization, not just certain departments. A bad leader with gaps in their team management skills could result in a dip in productivity or discipline issues amongst employees.
Nonetheless, effective leadership and team management can foster productive teams and create a positive office environment.
In this article, we will discuss the top team management skills that will help you succeed and the exact strategies you can use to gain these skills.
What is Team Management? – Definition & Meaning
Team management is any activity that helps unite an organization by bringing the team closer together, fostering quality relationships, and chasing after organizational goals.
To truly be a united team, individuals prioritize team goals and allow individual goals to be incorporated into teamwork. Goal focus is crucial in management.
The team manager also has an important duty to the entire group. He or she must delegate tasks based on strengths, prioritize those tasks, and discuss potential roadblocks to success.
They must be able to identify problems, think creatively, promote regular feedback systems, resolve conflicts, and boost productivity. A variety of leadership styles can contribute to team management, but there are ways to incorporate basic management skills into any leadership type.
Why is Team Management Skill Important & List of 5 Benefits
Team management plays an important role in employee development and business success. It has a number of positive impacts on virtually any business in any industry.
A few reasons you should consider improving your management skills include:
- Makes solving problems more efficient. Ensures that everyone has their voices heard and through this exchange of ideas, many new problem-solving approaches are learned.
- It encourages open communication and constructive feedback. Employees and leaders will boost their communication skills as well as active listening abilities.
- The team becomes united under a common goal and ensures the entire team is on the same page.
- It makes everyone’s role clearly defined and understood within the team.
- Promotes unified and synchronized leadership and quality relationships between leaders and their employees.
Examples of Effective Team Management Skills
Effective team managers often share multiple strategies, outlooks, or ideas. Every leader has their own unique approach to leadership, but you can certainly learn a few potential strategies from tried and true business tactics.
If you are a manager looking to boost your skills, the following is a quick list of potential strength-building strategies you could utilize in your business.
Focus on serving rather than managing
It’s an odd notion, but experienced managers often serve their team instead of managing them, meaning they pay attention to the team’s needs before delegating tasks. Do your best to support your team and have everyone’s best interest at heart.
Example: if someone is struggling to complete tasks due to grief from a family death, support the individual and try to complete some of the tasks yourself.
Don’t always assume you’re right
You should be open to new ideas, perspectives, and strategies to be a good manager. Continuous learning is the core of improvement. Keep your mind open to any suggestions your employees may have, even if you are their senior. Also, stay up to date on market trends and keep an eye out for what is occurring in other departments.
Example: In a meeting, you believe that there is a certain way to solve a design issue. Your colleague shows some direct reports on the subject and gives a different opinion. Do not get defensive, but rather have a discussion with the colleague and keep an open mind.
Make transparency a priority
Transparency fosters a number of positive factors in the workplace. It makes employees more accountable, satisfied, happy, and productive. Giving positive feedback, rewarding employees, and having consistent communication can all make employees feel valued and thus boost productivity.
Ultimately, the entire team benefits from transparency, as the confidence gained by employees will encourage them to speak out more and share their ideas.
Example: you can use a project management system to inform your team of their goals. This eliminates any possible confusion and ensures no one forgets their role. When everyone understands their place in a project, they are more likely to provide quality output and be accountable to those goals.
You do not have to adopt an autocratic leadership style, but it is important to be a kind and generous leader while also asserting your authority at times. Inform your team that your main purpose is to ensure the company runs smoothly and goals get met, so sometimes consequences will be given to underperforming employees.
Any potential conflicts of authority could be avoided if team members are clear on their roles and your role as leader.
Example: You have assigned an individual a role that includes visiting the client daily for product maintenance. You quickly find out that the employee is not fulfilling his role. Instead of brushing over this, you dedicate time to meet with him and speak about duties as well as find out why the individual was rebelling.
This way, you send a clear message: I care about your performance, and poor performance will not be tolerated.
Provide a positive workspace
Positive employees are more than just great people to be around: positivity actually has a direct impact on the employee’s emotional health, satisfaction, as well as your turnover rates, and ultimately, profit!
From time to time, organize team meetings for lunch or have a work party to celebrate a project’s success. Even telling occasional jokes or complimenting your coworkers lightens the mood. This could potentially make an employee’s day brighter and lead to a more positive company environment.
Example: Your company has lost a major client, so everyone’s morale seems a bit low. You decide to take everyone out for lunch the next day and discuss the company’s future over falafel. While there, you compliment some employees on their grit for trying to persuade the client to stay.
5 Essential Team Management Skills for First-Time Managers
Being a first-time manager is an extremely emotional roller coaster: there’s the thrill of being in charge, yet the intense nervousness and doubts many feel when they first get the role. This is also a great time to improve yourself and get new skills.
So, below is a list of the top team management and leadership skills you should focus on attaining as a new manager:
Giving Constructive Criticism (Positive and Negative)
Your goal should be to help all of your employees improve and further their skills. To do this, you must be able to foster your employee’s strengths and address any of their weaknesses. Do this by:
- Removing emotions from your conversations, can often trigger employees and make your relationship tense.
- Offering guidance if the employee is having trouble overcoming a roadblock or identifying their weaknesses.
- Having consistent communication. Ask employees what they feel about their feedback. If they are upset, try to find ways to lift their spirits.
Learn to Communicate with All Personality Types
Team members can get away with avoiding individuals. However, leaders cannot overlook anyone on their team, even if it means dealing with an unpleasant personality. Your emotional intelligence and empathy will help you inspire your entire group.
It will help you tailor your leadership approach to the person you are speaking with. Consider:
- Setting differences aside and focus on your common goals. To get rid of negative preconceptions, focus on what you have in common with each individual instead of what divides you.
- Asking questions. Generations, cultures, and backgrounds all impact one’s personality. Since everyone is unique, find out which approach is best for every employee instead of only using a common leadership style for everyone.
- Giving employees your full attention.
Identifying Problems and Efficiency Solving Them
Effective managers are able to spot problems and address them before they truly interfere with the business’s profits and begin to escalate. When trying to identify a problem, look for the root cause immediately.
Try hosting weekly meetings with employees so you can go over efficiency and productivity data. Listen to their concerns and observe to see if there are any problems your employees failed to pick up on.
Every manager dreads having two employees who constantly fight and get in the way of establishing a healthy team. Unfortunately, simply pointing out that fighting is inefficient likely will not end the tension. It could require:
- Understanding the problem exists and will not dissipate without intervention.
- Giving employees a chance to feel their emotions and express their thoughts on the situation.
- Identifying the root of the problem outside of the drama. Ensure you value collaboration over competition.
- Proposing a solution and discussing the best way to move forward. This may take time, as you should wait until both parties are satisfied before calling the conflict resolved.
Represent Your Team
Being an effective leader also involves consistently promoting and vouching for your team. Ensure that your boss and even company executives are aware of the hard work your employees are performing.
Even if you have more of a hands-off leadership style, brag about your team. Take time to discuss how well your team is achieving goals and meeting deadlines with your boss. If someone on your team has a brilliant idea, share it. You should be willing to market your team to clients and other company personnel.
How to Train and Develop Team Management Skills
Managerial skills are immensely important to virtually all professions. However, developing these skills is often time-consuming and demanding, whether you are simply looking for personal development or in need of these skills for your work. It can be difficult to identify a starting point as a new manager.
Below, we have compiled a list of activities that can help further your managing abilities:
Boost Your Decision-Making Abilities
As a manager, you will undoubtedly be making many decisions. Anything from observing a team to leading a presentation requires you to quickly assess business issues and implement strategies to overcome roadblocks.
There are three main components that make up sound decision making:
- Constructive criticism and discussions: give team members plenty of opportunities to engage in decision-making. Invite all perspectives, give criticism at times where it is needed, and listen to creative ideas on how to solve issues.
- Consideration: everyone’s ideas should be acknowledged and considered before a decision is made. This way, everyone’s input is heard and people feel heard.
- Closure: this ensures that everyone is on the same page before a decision is made. You will define clear goals and set clear project outlines (deadlines as well) during this stage.
Be Self Aware
Self-awareness often separates high performers from the rest of the crowd. You must evaluate your skills, strengths, and drawbacks with an open mind. Do not look at your flaws as permanent, as they are simply a starting point.
Through self-analysis and asking your colleagues for feedback, you can create a personal development plan that helps build upon your strengths.
Trust is extremely beneficial to any business. Research has proven that trust within teams leads to less stress, more energy, higher productivity, and greater engagement. Speak to employees about life outside of work.
Talk to them as a person, not as a number. Discuss viewpoints that conflict with your beliefs in a respectful manner. Be available to employees when they need you, whether it be in person or virtually.
Regularly Check-In with Your Team
Check-ins should be more consistent than simply annual performance evaluations. Research by Gallup has found that weekly feedback is five times more likely to state they receive valuable feedback, three times more likely to say they are immensely motivated to perform exceptionally, and twice as likely to be engaged.
Deliver feedback to your employees with a special focus on how well the individual is contributing to the organization’s goals. The feedback focus should be on accomplishing team goals firstly.
Spend Time Reflecting
Even beyond check-ins, consistently review your own performance and your team’s. The Harvard Business Review has found that employees who reflect even just 15 minutes a day perform 23% better than those who do not.
Reflection is key to professional development, as this is the time where you can better understand what is holding you back and how you are excelling. Through this reflection, you will see an improvement in performance in you as a leader.
Be a Communicator
There is a multitude of collaboration tools effective leaders use, but communication is certainly a key element of that toolset. Strong communication has a great impact on productivity. Teams will be all on the same page and employees reduce their confusion.
Providing basic feedback is not enough to succeed as a communicator. You must make yourself available to your team members in times of need. Look for the good in every employee and compliment employees when you see a stellar performance.
How to Measure Team Management Skills
The best way to measure your management skills and the impact of your leadership experience is to track your team’s performance. For instance, the marketing team’s leader should track the team’s leads and the cost per click for the ads they are running.
A design team manager may track the customer’s feedback or how many designs individuals are making weekly. In manufacturing, this could be cycle time tracking. Employee surveys are another way to measure your management skills.
Ask your team if they feel heard if they are engaged, and so on. This will help you identify possible gaps in your team management skills.
Finally, turnover rates also tie in with management skills. If many employees are leaving your company, this could be a sign of poor team management. On the other, consistent communication and visionary leaders often lead to decreased turnover.
How to Improve Team Management Skills
Even the most experienced leader is constantly looking to improve their team management abilities. There are a number of ways you can boost your abilities without straining yourself.
For instance, begin by writing down your goals and being clear on what you want to achieve. Set an ambitious goal for yourself and ensure it is SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound).
Now, you must create an action plan to achieve these goals. Set yourself up for a positive experience by surrounding yourself with a skilled group of people.
Hire competent individuals, and then give an option for team members to describe which leadership style works best for them. Once you have a strong team, consistently have a meeting with team members.
How to Emphasize Team Management Skills on Your Resume
Many employers look to hire managers who can already demonstrate they possess strong managerial skills. To do this, you must incorporate your leadership skills into your resume.
Consider adding the following to your resume:
- Instances where you increased employee satisfaction.
- Examples of times where you boosted employee productivity in the workplace.
- Positive feedback from your prior employees.
- Offer clear instances where you set specific goals and employees were certain about their duties.
- Moments where you recognized employee strengths and delegated tasks accordingly.
- Instances where you noticed conflicts and addressed them.
- Situations where you identified an employee’s weakness and helped them overcome their flaws.
Team Management Skills Interview Questions and Answers
For managers who are seeking a job opportunity, preparing for questions about your management skills is a must. The following are a few examples of potential questions you could be asked and the possible ways you could respond with.
Most Common Questions for Team Management Skills
- How do you handle conflict between team members?
- Describe a time when you had to fire an employee.
- What is an example of a tough decision you had to make?
Best Answers for Team Management Skills
1. I strive to remain open-minded whenever there is a conflict. I always see the two sides to every story. A few years ago, two of my team members were clearly uncomfortable with each other.
Instead of ignoring the issue or leaving them to figure it out, I took charge and asked them individually about the problem at hand. We discussed possible ways to move forward, and I ensured both parties were satisfied with the solution we settled on.
2. Although I dislike firing individuals, it is sometimes necessary. I was working as a supervisor at a computer science company. One of our technicians was consistently late and was not adhering to deadlines.
I spoke to this man three times and clearly explained how he was violating company policy by being consistently late. I warned him that the fourth time he did this, he would be fired. I kept the rest of the HR team informed on the situation, but ultimately, the employee did not fix his behavior. Thus, he was terminated.
3. I always put my company’s goals before my personal feelings. At my last job, I was tasked with hiring a new employee for a large project. Ultimately, I was able to narrow down the applicant to just two potential hires: a new employee, who seemed to be a perfect fit, and a close friend of mine who has experience with our company, yet had some imperfections.
I was tempted to hire my friend, but I knew the right man for the job was the new employee, so I hired him. Later, I discussed why I hired the other employee over my friend when my mate asked about the reasoning behind the decision. We were able to find a better opportunity for my friend and also hire the perfect individual for the original role.
Frequently Asked Questions About Team Management Skills
What is Team Management Skills for Students?
Team management is extremely important to students. To be a good leader, students should be clear communicators, possess lots of emotional intelligence, be empathetic, stay organized, clearly delegate, be open, problem solve efficiently, think critically, and maintain strong decision making skills.
Team Management Skills – 5 Books
- “Organizational Culture and Leadership” by Ed Schein (1985)
- “Conflict Without Casualties” by Nate Regier, Ph.D. (2016)
- “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey (2006)
- “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni (2002)
- “The Alliance” by Reid Hoffman (2014)
What are the Key Skills for a Manager?
Managers need to possess a large range of skills to be successful. Managers should be organized, have strong communication skills, be great at decision making, delegate effectively, problem solve quickly, motivate the entire team, think creatively, be assertive, and be empathetic.
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