The top 6 team management skills all managers must master
Are you a new manager at your workplace? If so, you need to add specific soft skills to your toolbelt to become a stand-out team leader.
In particular, effective team management skills are a must for any manager, regardless of industry.
That’s because eliciting successful teamwork takes staunch communication skills, high levels of emotional intelligence, sharp problem-solving skills, and flawless task delegation.
As the manager, it’s your responsibility to motivate and inspire the entire team, which is by no means a simple task.
Effective team building takes time, effort, and a lot of active listening, yet it is well worth it in the end. Once you’ve built a great team, your organization will be firing on all cylinders.
You’ll enjoy boosted efficiency, productivity, and better employee retention – and you’ll have a far easier time meeting your company’s goals.
78% of employees are looking for a more supportive work culture, which is why team management skills are so valuable in today’s age.
Yet, along the way, you’ll have to avoid all manner of pitfalls, including burnout, micromanaging, presenteeism, and dealing with conflicting personalities.
To make your life easier, I’ve compiled the most essential team management skills you need to form a successful team. Read on to discover how you can lead your team members toward a bright future.
Understanding team management skills
If you’re a brand-new manager, you may be unfamiliar with the core principles of team management.
Managing a group of people is no walk in the park, as you have to contend with differing personalities & varying team needs all while trying to make stringent deadlines and meet your company’s goals.
That’s why it takes a specific set of soft skills (skills that apply to any profession) to become a strong team manager.
In particular, team management involves:
Developing and building a team
Delegating & assigning tasks to your team
Guiding, motivating, and inspiring your team to give it their all
Providing positive & negative constructive criticism
Eliciting a positive work environment
Monitoring your team’s performance without micromanaging
As you can see, quite a bit goes into good team management, which is why they’re such important skills to have.
In today’s age, there has been an increasing number of remote teams ever since the pandemic in 2020. This has posed additional challenges for managing modern teams, as you’ll have to find ways to communicate & monitor your team’s performance without micromanaging them or coming off as too intrusive.
Project management tools like Asana & Trello make managing remote teams far easier, as they provide central locations for assigning tasks, giving instructions, communicating with team members, and monitoring progress/administrating constructive feedback.
Why do team management skills matter?
An organization can only be as successful as the teams within it, which is why being able to manage teams is an integral part of any manager’s skill set.
Without tightly-knit teams knocking out projects and acquiring new customers for you, there’s no way your business will succeed.
Not only that, but proper team management skills will yield many impressive benefits for your organization, including the following:
Teamwork promotes learning. Team projects give newer employees the opportunity to learn from their more experienced colleagues, which is great for their professional development. Also, they can learn and exchange new skills with one another, which will strengthen the entire team. Instead of working on projects alone and going through the motions, teams are more likely to brainstorm new, innovative ideas, which will save your business time and money.
Improved employee satisfaction. Building a fantastic team with open communication will make everyone’s job easier, and you’ll form strong bonds with your team members. As a result, there’ll be far less conflict, and everyone’s well-being will improve. That will translate into lower turnover and higher employee retention rates.
Better employee performance. Teamwork makes completing projects quicker and easier, especially if your team has effective communication and decision-making. Good managers with strong team management skills can also elicit a healthy sense of competition within the team, which leads to better metrics and more robust team goals as your team tries to outdo itself year over year.
Teamwork promotes a strong sense of camaraderie. Work is no fun if you don’t have any friends at the office. What’s great about teamwork is it forces your staff to socialize and form bonds with one another. That builds a level of camaraderie that’s beneficial to both your employees and your organization as a whole.
These are by no means the only benefits you’ll enjoy from working on your team management skills, but they are among the most impactful.
The 6 most effective team management skills
Are you eager to improve your leadership skills to manage your team more effectively?
Then you need to pay special attention to these 6 essential team management skills. As long as you’re strong in these key areas, you’ll excel at people management, regardless of how large your team is at work.
The best team managers effectively delegate tasks, resolve conflicts, provide feedback, and set boundaries. They also possess high levels of emotional intelligence, and they’re extremely approachable to their team.
#1: Be approachable
Effective communication with your team can’t happen if you’re perceived as unapproachable. If your office door always remains closed and you don’t make a habit of checking in with your team, the chances are high that there are lots of issues & conflicts you don’t know about.
For a team to thrive, they need to feel comfortable approaching their manager with any type of issue.
How can you become more approachable to your team members?
Here are a few ways to do so:
Approach your team first. Make a habit of leaving your desk and checking in with your team a few times a day. That will signify to your employees that you’re open to chatting with them and discussing issues, which will increase the chances that they’ll approach you whenever something comes up.
Be an active listener. Beyond making yourself visible to your team, you also need to actively listen to what they have to say. If your team feels as if whatever they say enters one of your ears and immediately exits the other, they’ll be less likely to share things with you. Conversely, if you make an effort to listen to their stories, issues, and concerns actively – you’ll become a far more approachable manager.
Don’t hesitate to chat with your staff. Good communication is all about an equal amount of give and take, which is why you should regularly chat with your staff. What you talk about doesn’t always have to be business-related, either. Don’t hesitate to share your interests, hobbies, and personal stories with your team to build a rapport with them.
Ask open-ended questions. A great way to get your team talking is to ask them open-ended questions whenever you check in with them. An example would be asking, “How do you feel about this new project?” A question like that will provide a more in-depth answer than something like, “Do you like this new project?”
These tips will make you appear more approachable in your team’s eyes, making you a stronger team leader.
#2: Exhibit emotional intelligence
Being emotionally intelligent is all about learning how to communicate effectively with different personality types.
Every team is different, and it’s almost always the case that a few conflicting personality types will show up in at least one of the teams you manage. As the team leader, it’s your responsibility to unite your team and ensure everyone gets along, which won’t always be easy.
How can you relate to team members with difficult personalities?
One of the best ways is to work on your empathy. That’s because empathetic team leaders are able to view the world through the shoes of their employees. Taking this approach will help you relate to even your most difficult team members, which can help you brainstorm ways to help them work better with others.
It’s also essential to be concise with your communication. Say what you mean, and don’t beat around the bush by using fancy words to stall. That doesn’t mean you have to be rude, but it’s far better to be straightforward with what you want from your team to avoid confusion & conflict.
Also, asking lots of questions will help you better understand your employees, especially if they hail from different generations.
Last but not least, try to focus on the commonalities you have with your team members instead of the differences. That will help unite your team so you can work toward a common goal.
#3: Delegate tasks effectively
A crucial skill every new manager must learn to master is how to delegate tasks. Most beginner managers have a hard time divvying up the work and sometimes attempt to complete everything themselves.
While it may seem as if you’re doing your employees a favor, you really aren’t.
Wasting too much of your time on menial tasks won’t do your team or your organization any favors. As a manager, there are specific tasks that are best delegated to others so you can focus on more important things, like managing your team.
How can you learn proper delegation?
You can by assigning tasks based on each team member’s core competencies.
For instance, let’s say a member of your team is a wizard with calendar software. As such, they’re the perfect candidate to delegate your scheduling tasks to, which will free up a lot of your time. Not only that, but your team member will appreciate you recognizing their skills, which will boost their confidence.
When done right, delegating tasks is one of the most powerful things you can do as a team manager.
Pay attention to what each team member does best, and delegate tasks to them accordingly.
#4: Resolve team conflicts
It’s inevitable that disputes will arise between team members, and the onus is on you to resolve them.
While dealing with conflict at work is never fun, it’s a necessary part of life. Luckily, conflict resolution is a skill that you can improve, which will make dealing with disputes far easier.
Here are some tips for working through disputes with your team:
Face the problem head-on. Ignoring problems in the hopes that they’ll work themselves out is a recipe for disaster. The best thing you can do with a team dispute is to address it immediately to speed up the resolution process.
Give everyone a chance to speak. As the manager, you need to serve as the mediator for the conflict. That means allowing all parties to speak and state their case. While it may seem tempting to try to resolve things as soon as possible, that’s usually not the best option. It’s best to give everyone a chance to get their feelings out and express themselves.
Find the true root of the problem. Once everyone has stated their peace, it’s time to get to the underlying cause of the issue. As long as you were actively listening when each party spoke, it shouldn’t be too difficult to see what’s actually going on.
Put forth solutions and run them by the team. To resolve the issue, begin suggesting some possible solutions to everyone involved. It’s crucial to let everyone provide their input before settling on a resolution. That’ll ensure that everyone is satisfied with the conclusion to the issue.
Being able to resolve conflicts is an essential part of managing a team, so it’s imperative to work on this skill.
#5: Don’t forget to set boundaries
While it’s important to be approachable to your team, you also need to set some clear boundaries to keep your team in line. Otherwise, your team may begin not to respect your authority, which isn’t what you want.
While you’re fair, approachable, and reasonable, you’re still in charge, and your team needs to know they have a strong & reliable leader.
As such, your team needs to know that you’ll take disciplinary action if they cross one of your boundaries.
Let them know that you’re there to ensure everyone gets their work done accurately and on time and that you won’t tolerate dissent.
That will keep your team firing on all cylinders, and as long as you’re approachable and communicate well, your team shouldn’t harbor any resentment for your boundaries.
#6: Provide constructive feedback
Lastly, a core team management skill is the ability to administer constructive feedback to your employees. That means not only providing positive feedback but also getting critical whenever necessary.
Whenever providing negative feedback, you should offer recommendations for how they can improve. As long as you’re regularly checking in with your employees & providing proper guidance, the occasional piece of negative feedback shouldn’t rattle any cages.
Final thoughts: The top 6 team management skills
Becoming an effective team leader is one of the best things you can do as a manager, regardless of how much experience you have.
A strong team will always deliver impressive results, which is why it’s worth taking the time to develop your team management skills.
As long as you’re there for your team, they’ll be there for you in the form of enhanced performance, boosted morale, and high levels of job satisfaction.
How do you like to manage your teams? Let me know in the comments below.