Team Management Superpowers Essential for Productivity Without Stress
Burnout is on the rise, and it has terrible consequences. But productivity does not need to be so stressful, if leaders develop some vital skills.
Here are a few of the key things that team managers need to develop and maintain a thriving, successful team, in order to be productive without everybody risking burnout.
Management is different from leadership; Leadership involves creating an inspiring vision of the future, communicating it, and helping people understand and commit to it. Managers, are responsible for creating the conditions that allow the vision to be implemented efficiently and successfully. Both roles are indispensible for effectiveness. However, we will focus today on the specific skills and responsibilities of managers, so they can ensure implementation of the vision and reach productivity without the stress.
Communicating and Working With Your Team – and With Others
Communication skills are essential for success in life. Period. As a manager you need to be an expert communicator for communicating with team members and communicating with people outside your team.
Active and empathic listening are vital skills for managers. When you’re in charge, it can be easy to think that you know what others might say, or that listening is less important, because you know better or you’ve thought of a solution anyway.
Good listeners build trust within their teams; they get to know their teams really well, they can detect problems early (while they’re still easy to deal with), avoid costly misunderstandings or harmful conflicts. They make people feel valued and respected, and that is highly motivating.
Good communicators also use the correct channels for their messages, which are clear and timely; they avoid unnecessary or innefective meetings, they are clear when making requests or setting expectations, they ask powerful questions and give positive and objective feedback. They consider other points of view, and know how to establish dialogues as opposed to one-way conversations. They are assertive, know how to say no and reach win-win negotiations. Bear in mind that more than 90% of problems in the organisation (and elsewhere, for that matter) are due to faulty communication, so sometimes communicating effectively is much easier said than done. The truth is most of us don´t naturally communicate as well as we should… just ask your spouse or children.
The Importance of Delegation
Another top priority for team managers is delegation. No matter how skilled you are, there’s only so much that you can achieve working on your own. Burnout is easily achieved by managers who believe they have to do or be on top of everything themselves, and who believe they have to make every decision. But teamwork allows you to achieve much more, without you sacrificing your personal time and your health and peace of mind in the process. Remember your team members are (or should be) the experts in whatever they do; an orchestra director doesn´t necessarily know how to play all the instruments in the orchestra they lead in order to create blissful art.
Successful delegation starts with matching people and tasks, so you first need to define your team’s role and goals, their purpose and your expectations. This gives them clarity from the begining, and is a usefiul framework to always ensure they keep on track. Then you can start matching people to the tasks skills, experience and competencies available within your team and bridge any gaps you might encounter.
Motivating Your Team
Another superpower you need as a team manager, is to be able to motivate your team members. There are several motivation theories you need to be aware of so you can understand human behavior: Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory, McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory and Sirota’s Three Factor Theory are a good starting point.
Just remember that team management involves are dealing with individuals, and different people have different needs when it comes to motivation. Some individuals are highly self-motivated, while others will under-perform without managerial input. In order to use the best approach, you need to really get to know the people in your team and find out what makes them tick, instead of wasting time on trial and error approaches which end up in frustration and more demotivation.
Another thing to remember is that motivation is not achieved with one action; rather, everything that happens will add to it or decrease it, so make sure all your attitudes and behaviors as manager ar working for you in this arena.
Developing Your Team
Teams consist of individuals with different outlooks and abilities, and are at different stages of their careers. Some may find their tasks to be very challenging, and they may need support. Others may be experts at what they’re doing, and need opportunities to stretch their skills. Either way, it’s in your best interest to develop everyone. Otherwise delegation becomes quite impossible.
If you can help team members to become better at what they do, you’ll be able to enjoy your holidays knowing the everything runs smoothly in your absence. This will also let your team members feel confident about the quality of their decisions, and will feel more able to make use of their creativity and skills to do a good job. All of this ends up being hghly motivating, as well.
The most effective way of developing your people is to ensure that you give regular feedback to members of your team. But not all feedback is equally effective, so you need to learn how to give positive feedback that will inspire people to perform better, and give them the tools they need to do so.
As you may see, all these issues create synergy with each other, i.e. you need to be a good communicator in order to be able to delegate, to develop or motivate your team. And all of them require practice to be mastered. How would you rate yourself in each of these superpowers? Are you able to reach high levels of productivity without unnecessary stress? What could you do to become better? I´d love to read your comments below.