It should not be a surprise to me, but the more I deliver training in the management and leadership space, the more I see that many people struggle with the supervision of others. I wonder if many of us overthink the problems and see problems where they don’t exist. We need to realise that we won’t get it right all the time – people are diverse and sometimes will react predictably and sometimes (maybe more often) will not. None of us is perfect, so we will all, at times, make mistakes, react badly or put our foot in it.
So here are some things I try to live by (and I do not always get it right either)
1. Give people the benefit of the doubt
I work on the basis that most people want to come to work and do a good job, they want to go home and feel good about the effort they have made.
Have an expectation that people will do well. When things go wrong try to find out why, rather than lay blame. Accept that people will do things in a different way than you, work hard to resist the urge to micro-manage (even though it might be the first reaction).
This philosophy goes hand in hand with a mindset that sees the good in people. Where are they most skilled, how can you help them to build on that skill, how can you compensate for their lack of skill in another area?
Try it, you will be amazed at how amazing people really are.
2. Provide support where it is needed
Support for your team comes in many forms. It is the training you provide, the resources to do a good job, the flexibility in hours, the time off when needed, the listening ear, the direction…
In providing support for your team you will come up against the equal versus equitable dilemma. How can you treat everyone the same and also allow for differences in circumstances?
Think about the people in your team. How many have school age children and struggle with school holidays when both partners work- can you accommodate them? Can the people who have English (and Kiwi English at that) as a second language communicate as effectively with their clients as others- how can you help them? Does the person who struggles with mental health need a quiet place to work from time to time? Is there someone in the “sandwich generation” who is managing aging parents and teenage children at the same time- how can you support them?
Think of it as an investment in your people, not as a cost and you will reap the returns.
3. Deal with conflict
Conflict is inevitable whenever you get a few people together. Conflict isn’t necessarily bad, so long as it is handled positively. Disagreements can result in much needed change, new ideas and innovation. As a team leader, it is important that conflict is dealt with quickly and positively.
Keep an eye out for behaviour that may result in bullying or harassment and stop it straight away. It is not easy to raise issues, but it is important that you do.
Have those courageous conversations and you will see good results.
4. Manage change
Change is something that we all need to get used to, however, many people do not cope well with change. Supporting people by providing good direction and clear communication about change will help them to navigate changing work environments.
Sometimes people will not recognise their own resistance to change, by getting to know your staff you will understand how best to help them.
5. Have fun
And one of the most important things to remember is to have fun. Your work and business require serious attention, however it is important that everyone has a chance to stop and have fun.
As a team leader you can influence the fun that your team has. Don’t take yourself too seriously, celebrate successes and (sometimes) failures, allow time for team members to be a bit silly sometimes- whatever works for your team will be good for business.
There are, of course, many other things you need to think of when managing a team. Try to do these five things well and good things will follow.
If you need support in this area, get in touch to talk about how I can help.