Nowadays it´s recognized that team leaders lead using influence and not authority only. And this fact remains true because most of the time people you work with have the necessary skills to do their job.
In an ideal world as a manager you would be mostly focused on keeping everybody on the team motivated and focused on their jobs. However, business goals are based on growth and no matter how stellar last year was, performance needs to keep improving to reach your company´s goals.
This will definitely cause stress and tempers will rise. So, how do you keep everybody motivated and focused?
For starters, communication is going to be key. Remember that the most meaningful relationship they have with the organization is going to be with you. Getting to know your team is key, not only to understand their strengths and weaknesses but of how they want to communicate.
Here are some key aspects on how to improve your communication skills:
- This is a working relationship, however, feelings are as important as in any human interaction. Let me oversimplify for a second. Usually, there are two kinds of persons: those who focus more on relationships and those who focus more on the task at hand. Whenever you address a person focused more on relationships, try to spend a few minutes doing small talk before getting to the subject you want to discuss. Otherwise, you might seem rude. If you address a person focused more on the task at hand, whenever possible try to go straight to the point. Otherwise, you might seem to be wasting time. Here I´m discussing form and not content. It´s important not only what you say but how you say it.
- How clear is the outcome you expect? This by itself is a constant cause of friction. No matter how long both have worked at the same company, it´s important that the other person understands exactly what you expect for the task at hand. The clear it is, the easier working together is going to be. So, next time you assign a task for the first time to a person don´t be afraid to them to explain in their own words what´s the desired outcome.
- How skilled is the person for the task at hand? Do they need direct guidance throughout the process? Do they work mostly autonomously? What kind of support do they need? You cannot work on the assumption of a skilled or unskilled employee. There are only skilled or unskilled persons for the task at hand.
- Get to know your team, not only their strengths and weaknesses but their motivation. The more you know them the easier it´s going to be to communicate.
- Make time to lead. Be visible and available for your team. If you´re always tied — up on your critical tasks you´ll never have time for them. Make the time to talk to your team on an individual basis constantly.
As important as leading by example is, staying in touch with your team and understand how to help everybody do their job (mentoring, delegating, etc.) is just as important.
Do these tips help? Please comment!