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Team Management

3 Best Practices for Team Management

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3 Best Practices for Team Management

Introduction

Team management can be a real challenge for founders. There are a lot of uncontrollable things that can impact people in the organization. Communication between members, misunderstandings, conflicts, not to mention, loss of employee motivation, and so on. It’s tough to lead a team effectively, especially when the company is growing. In this article, we have gathered 3 crucial practices to take your team management skills to the next level. 

What does an ideal team mean for you?

First, each team leader should clearly understand what the ‘ideal team’ means to him or her. How many people are in their ideal team? How do they communicate? How do people set their goals and evaluate them? How does a manager evaluate how employees are performing? How many regular meetings do they need to stay in sync? How does each employee fit with company culture and values? What’s important for the leader and what’s not so crucial? In what type of team does the manager want to work?

It’s hard to achieve and create the ideal team, but the goal of this practice is getting a vision for yourself. It helps the manager to make decisions in hard situations, when the leader will be able to compare current conditions with his or her ideal scenario. And as you know, difficult situations are not rare occurance the life of a company.

Ok, let’s think that you did it. You understand your ideal team and its criteria. Great! Now we’re going to consider best practices for improving management in the team.

1. Transparency

You know this trendy word. Transparency. It’s all about the new way of communication between the company and an employee. You know, people don’t like to be a small piece of the big bureaucratic machine. People don’t like to do a job when they don’t understand why should they do it. But a lot of companies maintain this kind of communication. 

95% of employees don’t know their company goals. 

Wait for a second, think about it. It means that only 5%, including the founders, understand what’s going on in the company and what it wants to achieve. How do you think this impacts employee engagement? Do your team members enjoy being people who don’t understand company goals?

Transparency is a way of communication with your employees when you don’t keep secrets from people about the main events in the company. It helps you to improve employee engagement and makes team members more outcomes-oriented. 

Share with them all the main goals and events in the company. Give them a total picture of how things are moving. 

What can you share with employees?

  • Company’s goals
  • Current status of the projects
  • Issues and struggles that your company has at the moment
  • Why they are doing what you ask them

This is only basic list of things that you can share with the team. Some companies go one step further and create a totally transparent culture by showing all information to employees, including profit and loss.

It’s not a necessary step. However, for reasons good, you should be transparent and deliver clearly values, goals, and causes happening in the company. 

Well, we’ve now identified one way we’re improving employees performance, nailed down how to communicate it to them, and made it super easy to get started. Now we just need to actually, you know… provide that improvement. What should you do tomorrow? 

First, you could start to do daily and weekly updates. They’re online meetings that allow your team to stay in sync each day. It helps to know what’s happening in your team, and build alignment between members with 5 minutes a day. To do daily and weekly updates, you can use Focus

2. Continuous performance management

Go further. The next crucial thing for building top engagement culture in the team is continuous performance management. Old school performance management is a once per year activity. It’s all about providing performance reviews once or twice a year and setting goals for the next one for each employee. It’s mechanics are useful, but it doesn’t always work well. The reason for that is New Years Syndrome. Say that you decided to go to the gym more next year, but when it happens, you start putting it off and then give up. Sounds familiar? Yeah, performance plans have the same pattern. Employees generally forget about their performance goals in their daily routine. 

Instead, aim to flexibly accommodate all the behavioural conditions and use continuous performance management. Continuous performance management (CPM) is a new approach for increasing employee engagement. The real value of CPM lies in the sustained improvement of the employees while providing them with ongoing feedback, recognition, and coaching. 

That way, you will be acting as their personal trainer – totally invested in their improvement, and working to make sure their personal goals align with company outcomes. The more you can get people to connect with CPM, the stronger their results become. 

So how do you implement CPM in your workflow and how does it work?

First, CPM consists of three main areas, like ongoing feedback, recognition, and personal meetings for coaching people. Ongoing feedback helps to keep your finger on the pulse of employees thoughts and mood. You’re able to figure out what’s going on right now with your employees and you are aware of what’s important. 

The real value of recognition lies in the sustained improvement of employees engagement. You probably aren’t saying “thank-you” nearly as much as you should be. But it really matters for people. 

And last but not least, CPM are personal meetings for coaching people. It’s called 1:1 session and, you know, it’s a crucial part of employees performance. Few managers do it in their regular workflow, but it’s vital in improving personal outcomes. The right structure of a 1:1 meeting helps to provide more personal encounters for both team management and the employee.

At Focus, we’re using our own software to do it correctly. All three parts of the CPM implemented in Focus help companies stay on the same page and build high-performing culture. 

3. Employee development

Employee development is a process when you, as a manager, help an employee to improve a person’s skills and gain new knowledge or skills. Today, employee development is an essential factor for employee retention. 

Generally, employee development consists of three main parts: 

  • Plan
  • Learning programs
  • Feedback

i. Plan

The first step is creating a plan for personal growth. So what’re the individual goals of the employee? What’re the person interests? What does she or he want to achieve this year? What do they want to do? It’s time to be a personal trainer for your employees. You can get answers to these question in private conversations. 

Once you understand personal interests, you can go further and create an individual plan that includes goals, a realistic timeframe, and detailed roadmap of how he or she will achieve it. 

ii. Learning programs

Depending on what your employees say, you’ll find out key areas that they want to improve. Time for learning. It can be group training or personal courses, or both of it. The main point is to tailor your learning program to individual’s needs, but not on trend-led ideas.

iii. Feedback 

Building a system of regular employee feedback is a crucial piece of high-performing culture. When people perceive qualitative feedback from their manager, it’s practically impossible not to be engaged. In the exact same way, it makes sense for employees when they understand that their feedback about the job will be considered by the manager or the team. 

Ok, ok, that’s enough celebrating feedback for now. But how to implement feedback routine in the company workflow as smooth as possible? It’s the question that each manager should think about. It seems simple but don’t undervalue it. A rule like “you can tell me everything that you’re thinking about” generally doesn’t work well. Employees often have top priorities in their job that should be done. It means that an idea ‘to go and talk with the manager’ becomes top priority when something critical happens. I don’t think you want to wait that long.

In that way, you should implement the workflow feedback routines as general tasks. Another side of that, people don’t like fill reports and spend a lot of time writing it down. That’s why it should be as simple as possible. For example, we create lightweight check-ins at Focus that requires only five minutes per day. It’s several key questions about a person’s results for the last day, which an individual regularly receives in email or messenger. This approach doesn’t take a lot of time, helps to focus on the key results, and allows employees to get praise for their work. The last point is a treat for individuals because they like it when other people appreciate them. You can check here to find out more details about Focus. 

Conclusion

Team management is a challenge for managers and founders because communication with others has the potential for misunderstanding, especially when the company is growing. It impacts on team’s motivation when employees are starting to lose sight of the company’s goals and vision. Three best practices that improve performing culture:

  • Transparency
  • Continuous performance management 
  • Employee development

Focus, is a continuous performance management platform, which helps companies build high-performing culture. We provide an easy to implement continuous feedback loop and create transparent outcome-oriented mechanics in your workflow. And best of all, it only takes 5 minutes per day for an employee to share their results and stay in sync with the team without meetings. It helps you to focus on what matters. 

How do you increase team engagement? Let us know in the comments below. 

Anton Cherkasov

Anton Cherkasov

https://usefocus.co/

Anton is a founder of Focus, which is a team management platform. He is also a writer in HackerNoon, The Startup, Good Audience, and other media. Previously Anton has worked in Wildberries (#1 eCommerce store in Russia). He is falling in love with growth hacking, product management, and football.

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