You have a team, it’s productive, but not as productive as you want it to be. Back in 2011 Darryl Rosen wrote ‘Table for Three’ where he listed down 50 dumb team management mistakes which smart managers don’t make.
It was quite a humorous take on the common management pitfalls and how to survive them. Keeping in mind the current corporate scenario and understanding the challenge of being a manager in today’s digital times, I have compiled a list of 6 common mistakes which can give you a hard time while managing a team and taking its productivity to the next level. Let’s have a look:
#1 Not Communicating: Sadly, even in the age of rapid global communications, managers dread conversing with their teams. Yes information is power, but how about empowering your team instead of keeping it all to yourself? Communicating everything clearly not only helps you build a better team, but also a better organization. It’ll help your team members make informed decisions at the individual level, thus improving team’s overall performance. But remember, communication requires at least 2 people. As much as you convey, it is important to listen to your team members. The more you listen, the more you’ll be able to comprehend their ideas and suggestions and relate to their issues/complaints. Once you know the complete picture you will be able to take apt decisions.
#2 Not Promoting Team-Building and Collaboration: If your team still has a designer who works on a PSD and keeps it aside for the developer to look at as and when she has time, you are certainly heading in the wrong direction. This is the age of collaboration. People sitting miles away from each other are collaborating on ideas using various project management and communication tools. Why not promote a similar sense of collaborative action in your team? Introduce your team mates to the concept of ‘design thinking’. Start by talking about a solution. This’ll help everyone understand their role in the final outcome, rather than just sticking to their piece of work until the deadline.
#3 Not Promoting Data-Centric Thinking: Besides collaboration, data is another element which most managers don’t make sufficient use of. Today teams are using several platforms, including mobile and social, to interact and collaborate. So it becomes essential for managers to establish a culture of continuous measurement. In one of her editorials Perri Hewitt writes, “Communicate what the quantitative success metrics look like. Share data points with the team regularly, or better yet, display dashboards that show progress against established goals.” Without proper measurement metrics in place, your team may be wasting it’s time on the wrong feature, instead of optimizing for what can yield conversions.
#4 Not Experimenting for the Fear of Failure: Experimentation is important for the growth of teams. Any team which prefers staying in tested waters will never be able to explore new success avenues. Testing, iterating, and receiving feedback is the key to innovation.
#5 Not Taking Ownership and Admitting to Mistakes: Oftentimes managers don’t admit to a mistake and blame external factors for a certain setback in an attempt to maintain self-esteem. This, however, brings down the morale of the team. Admitting to a mistake will set an example to the team. It’ll help them become more accountable to their roles. Managers should stand up and say, “OK I tried this and failed, but learned this during the process.” Following suit, your team will consider mistakes and failures to be a part of growth.
#6 Not Relaxing or Let Others Relax: Work is surely a serious business, but as a manager it becomes your duty to lighten the working environment so much so that your team loves coming to work everyday! Talk to them about their lives outside of work, ask them about their weekends and have weekly personal check ins. Your team will definitely respond positively.
These were some of the pitfalls that you must overcome in order to make your team perform better. But wait! There’s more to productive and high impact teams. What is it? I’ll talk about this in my next post. Till then, if you feel you’d like to add to the list above, feel free to leave comments below.
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