We have all worked for great managers and not-so-great managers. We also have all worked on great teams and not-so-great teams. So many factors go into what makes a manager and/or a team great or not-so-great. With the new year upon us, it’s an excellent time to look at your management style and your team and look for ways to make them both more effective. Here are five possible resolutions you may want to make in 2016:
1. Be more flexible.
Inevitably, managers face complications that must be handled quickly and efficiently, even if it requires changing the planned course of action. Flourishing teams have a manager at the helm who can look at a problem or decision that needs to be made, consider all angles, and then make a decision that factors in guidelines, policies, and people. Too many managers take that third factor out of the mix and in doing so, cause great damage to their teams.
This year, resolve to be more flexible. Go beyond the bottom line and consider your team’s needs as individuals when you make decisions. Demonstrate to your team that they matter and watch them flourish.
2. Delegate more.
Every human on the planet desires two things: belonging and significance. If they aren’t receiving these things, dissatisfaction and a slew of other issues can crop up. Placing more responsibility (within reason, of course) with your team and trusting them to accomplish their tasks without hovering or micro-managing, sends the message that your team members are significant, they belong, and are capable.
This year, resolve to get good at quickly and smartly delegating tasks to team members who have strong skills in those areas. Not only will your team grow in skill and fulfillment, it will also free you up to focus on other important tasks.
3. Get to know your team better.
Remember what I said above about belonging and significance? Another way to bring about both within your team is to take the time to get to know them better. If possible, start off your work day by saying a personal hello to each team member. One minute of direct eye contact and a personal question each day could add up to a tremendous wealth of knowledge over the course of a year. Don’t just jump into business meetings with, well, business. Talk to your team, ask them questions, encourage them to talk to each other. If you don’t take the time to get to know your team as individuals, how can you appropriately delegate to them?
This year, resolve to get to know your team more. Schedule 1 on 1s each week, yes, but consider going beyond that to learn what makes them tick. Then, when challenges and storms occur, you’ll have a much better handle on how to help your team.
4. Build more trust among team members.
This is a difficult but important goal. A team that does not trust each other or their manager will not last very long or produce good work. Building trust takes time and doesn’t happen over night, so looking into ways to build a trusting environment is time well spent.
In some cases and if time and resources permit, team-building exercises can be utilized. Getting outside of the office and learning more about each other’s personal lives and interests can do wonders for team unity. Consider presenting your team with a challenging task where success can only come from everyone working together. If not feasible, small opportunities within the office to build trust should be implemented. Some companies have switched back to cubicles to create a more collaborative work environment. Simply encouraging employees to talk to their teammate instead of emailing them can actually go a long way in building trust.
So this year, resolve to build more trust between team members. Just being intentional and aware of its importance will produce positive results.
5. Reward your team more.
An effective team is an appreciated team. Or is an appreciated team an effective team? Regardless, it is just as important to recognize team accomplishments as it is individual ones. Focusing too much on rewarding individuals can pit team members against one another. Consider the bonus structure where a fixed pool of money is distributed to people on the team according to a variety of (many times subjective) factors. Looking for ways to reward the entire team can help to promote collaboration and a sense of unity. Who wouldn’t want to manage a team that cheers one another on and willingly helps one another out?
This year, resolve to reward your team more. Take them out to a movie after a challenging season. Bring in a chef to cook up a fabulous meal. Give them a surprise afternoon off. It doesn’t have to cost much, or anything really. Get creative and let your entire team know they’re appreciated.
Remember, a group of individuals become a team when they see their jobs not just as what they are supposed to do individually but as contributions to the team’s overall success. By making these five new years resolutions, you can ensure that the team you manage will develop the cohesiveness needed to move from just a work group to an effective and thriving team.