Leading your team, keeping people happy and productive and staying on top of the job at hand can be a challenge for experienced managers, as well as first-time team leaders.
But no matter where you rank in the hierarchy as a manager, there are some golden rules to remember so you make the good times twice as good and the bad times half as bad for your colleagues and reports.
Golden rule #1 – Lead yourself well
When you’re focused on managing the team around you it can be easy to forget about your own personal needs. So, make sure you follow the same advice that you’d give to your team about work/life balance to avoid burning out.
This includes paying attention to your own training plans and opportunities, so you’re working on your professional development as an individual. On top of this, keep an eye on how those above you in the company deal with situations (that you may also eventually face) – looking at times when things have been handled well and poorly.
Try not to beat yourself up if something goes wrong or you make an error in your job – accept that you’ll probably make mistakes, most of which can likely be resolved (and learned from). In fact, mistakes can be character building!
Golden rule #2 – Manage your time, as well as your people
Life in a business can be unpredictable, but one aspect you can rely on is the length of the working week.
Each of your employees are likely to be in the office for 35 to 40 hours each week, and so making sure that their time is used well can make a huge difference. Having the right people working on the right tasks, at the right time, can mean the difference between projects running smoothly and on schedule or endless delays and drops in morale.
Project management tools and rota systems can be helpful here, but nothing beats sitting down with your employees and getting to know their strengths and weaknesses first hand.
If you spot a skills gap that needs more than a training course to resolve, consider recruiting new staff. The sooner you get a new team member on board, the easier it will be to integrate them into the wider team and work on ways to share knowledge across your organisation.
Golden rule #3 – Delegate well
It can be tempting to try and do everything yourself in the mistaken belief that it’s quicker to complete a task that you know how to do than train someone else to do it.
This isn’t a particularly sustainable way of working, and over time it can cause increased stress, tasks being rushed, and corners to be cut, so think about the long term and whether it might be wiser to invest a bit of time in training someone so they can take that task off your hands – and for good.
As you delegate more, you’ll be able to identify responsible team members who can be trusted to carry out more of your daily workload. This sign of loosening the reins can also help employees to relax and have space to perform to the best of their abilities.
Be sure to recognise achievements in more ways than just piling work on certain individuals. Delegating effectively and appropriately to employees can help motivate those who are already looking to make a step up, whilst trusting your staff with more significant responsibilities can actually be seen as a reward or a professional compliment.
Golden rule #4 – Encourage ideas from your employees
Your employees are closer to the day-to-day of their tasks than you are, and so are likely to have valid questions, improvements or ideas that pop up – so create time regularly to listen to these, whether it’s in a team meeting setting or in regular 1:1s.
Be open-minded to incoming suggestions too. Just because you may have worked your way up the ranks and performed a task in a certain way when you were responsible for it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best way for it to be done.
Listening to ideas can also take some of the guesswork out of why an employee is performing poorly, or what they might require to feel more valued. Keep listening to your staff, and keep things feeling fresh so that you have the best possible relationship with them, but also ensure your company is a truly great place to work.
A great team needs to be made up of the right people. If you’re looking to build a talented, successful and harmonious team, let Bucks and Berks find you the right employees.