1st Time Team Management
1. Learn the basics. As a first time team manager there will be lots of new things to do. A lot of important stuff will concern your team, so get over the basics as soon as you can. Ask for training so that you understand how to hire and on board, performance manage (setting goals, giving and receiving feedback etc.) or manage an exit. These are skills that you will need for all of your management and leadership life so learning them early is extremely worthwhile. 2. Listen and empower. Get to know your team. Who are they? What motivates them? What skills do they have? What is their character? What are their ambitions, hopes and dreams? Knowing your people will enable you to adapt your style to get the best out their uniqueness. It will also help you empower them to take personal responsibility for what needs to get done. 3. Embrace diversity and be inclusive. It’s often easy to hire people in our own mould or build a team of very similar styled people. Sometimes this makes working together seem easy as agreement happens quickly. It can also lead to ‘group think’ – creating blind spots and inhibiting innovation. Seek out diverse thinking, styles and views, promoting greater inclusion and creativity. 4. Stay humble. It’s okay if you are still learning yourself. Your team is there to help and having others around you who are more skilled at certain things than you are is something to cherish, not be afraid of. 5. Be a coach. Take a coaching approach. Keep communication open and regular. Create opportunities for dialogue, feedback, reflection, action and listening both 1:1 and with the team. Adopting a coaching approach helps people know where they are at all times.
1. Focus your diary. Make time in your diary for team stuff – 1:1’s, team meetings, huddles, in-the-moment coaching sessions. Protect this time fiercely as it will pay dividends in the long run. Check back each quarter and see if you are allocating at least 30% of your time to team stuff. 2. Get prepared. If you are new to team management try and find time to prepare ahead of 1:1’s and team meetings (even if it’s only 15 minutes). Jot down some notes about what you want to say. Just a little preparation should help you relax and be yourself. And when you don’t know the answer – say so. 3. Know roles and responsibilities. Be clear about each person’s team role. Ask to see role descriptions, seek support from your People Team or create one in partnership with the team or person in question. 4. Set SMART objectives. Even in these days of instant access to just about everything, people still need to know what it is they should be doing and how these efforts make a difference. Get familiar with how to set Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Timely objectives. 5. Spend time on development. Work together on simple, achievable, development plans. Sometimes just helping with small development steps can yield massive results. As well as thinking about what you and the organisation require for today and the future, remember to balance this with the person’s ambitions and goals.