A team manager’s job is to nurture, guide, and support the employees. By doing all effectively, both the organization and the people on your team grow. Here are a four tips that will help you manage your direct reports successfully, whether you are managing local teams or geographically dispersed teams across time zones and even cultures, these tips will help your team maintain productivity.
To improve the speed and quality of decision-making, managers should strive to be as transparent as possible with team members. The more they know, the easier it will be for them to act autonomously.
First, consider having regular “town hall” meetings with your reports to discuss the status of the company, pending decisions, any recent changes, revenue and financial updates, and so forth.
Secondly, keep conversations open. Giving all of your team members access to the same information improves their ability to think and act as a single unit. It also means you won’t face unnecessary bottlenecks.
For example, let’s say one team member asks you to clarify a project detail. If you reply via email, he or she’s the only one who can benefit from the answer. If, however, you use a team-wide platform everyone will be more informed.
Promote internal bonding
Does your team have watercooler moments? By that, I mean spontaneous conversations between co-workers about random (usually non-work-related) topics. These are far from a waste of time; on the contrary, they help synchronize the team, defuse messages and ideas across the organization, and can even jump-start some super productive discussions.
Watercooler moments tend to happen naturally at traditional offices, where employees can gather in a break room, office kitchen, eating area, and so forth. As the manager of a remote team, it’s important that you drive these watercooler moments–or they probably won’t happen.
In addition, schedule time during meetings for team members to talk about personal topics – maybe everyone shares a detail about their day or mentions a small triumph from the last week, etc.
Knowledge sharing sessions are another fantastic way to promote internal bonding. Does one of your workers know a ton about wine? Have her give a short presentation on how to choose your next bottle. Is a different employee a master at calligraphy? Ask him for a 15-minute intro.
These demos will allow your employees to share their passions with each other, generating lots of relationship-building conversations. Plus, they’ll send the message that you care about your employees as people, not just sources of profit.
Managers should implement a structured and consistent method for tracking progress – both for individual workers and the team as a whole. For example, you can also ask everyone in your team to send you a daily three-bullet summary of their completed tasks. Alternatively, have people send in a short screencast of what they accomplished. This practice is quick, easy, and often more effective than trying to explain something in writing. As a manager or founder, you’ve got a ton of other things fighting for your attention and energy. You need to focus on the processes that absolutely can’t happen without you.
Determine if you really need to have a meeting
While face-to-face communications and meetings always help with team building, there are times in-person meetings can hinder productivity in the workplace. Before you schedule a meeting, always take a minute to identify the reason for the meeting. If the message can be conveyed effectively by email and the team members can provide feedback by simply clicking “reply all”, then no need to schedule a meeting.
Chat platforms are also great tools for teams. You should use this remote communication method to share general news (more efficient than sending a mass email and then getting individual replies), discussing topics as a group, and socializing and getting to know each other.
Contact Falcon Project Consultants for help with developing effective team management strategies.