Do you have what it takes to manage a small team of employees?
It’s a question that all managers ask themselves, from those supervising employees at a small tech startup to the foremen overseeing employees on a jobsite. It takes a certain finesse to run a team of professionals: you have to have the confidence to lead people through whatever circumstances your company encounters, both good and bad.
In fact, I’d say that the true test of a capable manager occurs when things get really hairy. Anyone can manage a team of disciplined, competent employees doing their job correctly, but it takes real nerve to handle and shape a small team from the ground up. Managing a small team isn’t an easy task, and there’s no one way to do it correctly. There are any number of governing rules that dictate solid management skills; I’d like to share three of them that have impacted me as both an employee under a manager and as a manager myself.
How to Manage a Team Effectively
Build a personable team atmosphere
A team without a team mentality is just a group of professionals who happen to work together. Sometimes that works out, but most of those neglected team members will develop into lone wolves who do “their own thing” without clearing matters with the manager first, or they’ll completely disregard rules and protocols to do things their own way. Obviously, that’s not what it means to be on a team.
Managers have to cultivate a good team mentality among their group, one that will keep employees enthused and motivated at the same time. That’s a hard combination to pull off, but it’s possible. For example, you could put yourself on their level as much as possible, showing that you’re as much a part of the team as they are, not above them. That could mean including team members on big company plans; keeping them interested with incentives; engaging in sincere small talk; or any other act meant to make your team a working community.
Keep your team in the loop
Managing is a job with no set end goal—there’s always some way to improve workflow, safety, approaches to protocol, employee relations, and so on. There’s always something new on the horizon, whether it’s a developing project or some new policy implemented by the company. As a manager, it’s your job to keep your team updated and fully informed on all the changes and upcoming events that could affect their workload and their working environment.
We’ve all held jobs under managers who were mum on all the developments and goings on of the company. It’s not a great feeling to get critical news from secondhand sources when you should have heard it from your manager—that kind of evasiveness just breeds distrust and disdain in an office. If you want to build up team confidence, keep your team members in the loop when they should know something.
Above all, it’s imperative that you stay positive around your team members. There’s no way to keep up morale if you’re constantly grumbling about upper management or dealing out cynical advice to your team. Your team will pick up on your attitude, whether it’s sunny or stormy. For a quality work environment, it’s better to project a general feeling of positivity with your group.
This isn’t to say that you put a positive spin on things that deserve some seriousness. If an employee really blows it on a project, or if serious setbacks are happening in the company, it’s your job to level with your team and let them know exactly what’s going on. Positivity doesn’t mean reckless optimism; in the context of management, it means keeping your team’s spirit high and encouraging them when they need it.
Familiar with the industry, Kristie Lewis knows that not all construction management careers are the same. Read her posts to gain a better understanding or contact her directly at Kristie.firstname.lastname@example.org.