Balancing act: How to effectively manage others

This post will run through all the elements that make up an effective management strategy—from being clear about your expectations to getting to know your team.

No matter how skilled your team are or how well they get on, even the best people require guidance and support to realise their potential.

This post will run through all the elements that make up an effective management strategy—from being clear about your expectations to getting to know your team.


Recruit carefully


If this is your first move into management, you will probably be taking over an existing team. But when the time comes to recruit, make sure you invest enough time and resources in finding the best person for the job. Consider the following:

  • Does this candidate have the right skill set?
  • Do their long-term goals match those of the company?
  • Is their personality a good fit for your existing team?

A team of individuals who complement each other’s skills and personalities will find it easy to work together and be more productive, with less management input needed.


Be clear about what you expect


Everyone must have a clear understanding of their role if your team is to function optimally. Be approachable and make it easy for staff to come to you with questions. Make your expectations clear by:

  • Setting clear goals and objectives
  • Putting them in writing
  • Keeping communication open
  • Following up

When setting targets, explain why each one is important, what should be done, and when by.

Put your action plan in writing—in an office email, on the noticeboard, or in a circulated handout. Being able to refer back to your plan will help employees stay focused and aware of approaching deadlines.

Enforce deadlines consistently by diarising to follow up with each employee throughout the project and again on completion. People who expect to be held accountable will be more productive and deliver higher completion rates.

Don’t forget to be realistic. Your team will soon lose interest if you set them unrealistic goals to strive for. Break your end goals down into smaller, achievable steps instead.


Give actionable feedback


Have you ever expected a glowing review only to be met with the phrase ‘Could do better’?

But how? Why? And what for?

These types of comments are neither motivating nor constructive. Effective feedback should provide staff with the tools to improve their performance.

Use feedback to define the next steps required so that employees know exactly what actions they need to take. Can you offer further support or training to help them on their journey?

When giving feedback, always say something good. Including a positive will boost morale and help prevent employees from becoming sour or losing interest altogether.


Don’t be afraid to ask for help


Management isn’t about doing everything on your own—it’s about being open-minded and making informed decisions that best serve the company.

When you’re struggling to resolve an office conflict, try seeking the opinions of those you trust. If a new project has you feeling out of your depth, consult with your team or bring in an expert.

Be cautious when taking advice and remember that everyone has their own biases, whether they are aware of them or not.


Create a culture of accountability


Take responsibility for your actions and make it clear that you expect the same from your team.

Don’t be quick to place blame when things go wrong. Instead, assess the factors that contributed to the outcome and identify any specific weaknesses.

Mistakes are often a sign that you need to amend your practices or consider a different approach. Treat each mistake as a learning exercise—and your team will only become stronger and more efficient.

Always recognise hard work—even when it’s not connected to a specific achievement. By reserving praise only for project completion, you risk draining your team’s motivation.


Know your team


Taking the time to get to know your team will help you tweak your management approach to get the best from different personalities and situations.

Knowing your team will help you to:

  • Utilise individual strengths
  • Help employees achieve their professional goals and feel more fulfilled at work
  • Recognise changes in behaviour and deal with concerns promptly
  • Be sensitive to personal circumstances
  • Avoid pairing up opposing personalities
  • Trust your team and resist the urge to micromanage


Be consistent


Your decisions will have more credibility if you don’t allow yourself to be swayed by your own emotions, personal biases, or external pressures.

Presenting a consistent front will make your life easier when it comes to dealing with difficult employees, because you are less likely to be seen as unfair or having favourites.

Teams thrive under consistent leadership, because it’s much easier to approach a manager with a question or idea if you don’t have to wait until they’re in a good mood!

People management will always be a balancing act. But it’s as much about you as it is about your employees. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be rewarded with a happier and more productive team.

To find out more about careers at GM&T please visit our homepage.

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