Managing multiple teams at work can sometimes be frustrating, but also rewarding. I try to look for and nurture these traits in teams that I personally manage. I haven't managed that many teams, but I hope this can be useful for some of you who are just starting out.
1. They understand each other's roles and responsibilities.
Have you ever seen a special ops team in action? In movies perhaps? How are they capable of executing seemingly impossible missions? It is only possible to operate at such a high level by trusting and understanding each other's capabilities and responsibilities. Without trust and believe in each other, teams are doomed to fail.
2. They actively communicate with each other.
Trust can only be developed through communication. Without an effective communication channel, teams will not to be able to build trust or even worst, understand each other. As a business owner or team leader, it is our responsibility to build a proper communication channel that facilitates positive communication, developing trusts and rapport in the team.
3. Everyone is held accountable for their work.
Actions must be taken against those who failed to execute or fulfill their responsibilities. Actions can be in the form of reminder, warning, remedial or in worst cases, outright dismissal. Team members are there to serve a purpose that contributes to the organization's goals and missions. A non-contributing team member may otherwise be a source of distraction or negative influence in the team. However, It's important to remember that everyone is accountable for their actions, not necessarily the result. Differentiating between actions and result is necessary since a given result might be influenced by something external and beyond the control of your team. Proper assessment and post mortem is key in managing this topic effectively.
4. They regularly meet and eat together.
While this simple act may seem trivial, they are many psychological reasons that makes it work. Eating is a joyful experience. Sharing a joyful moment with someone is key to starting and nurturing a relationship. We do this almost instinctively. When was your last date? What did you do during the date? The same formula can be used to build the foundation of a successful team. Simple, yet effective.
5. They share responsibility and are willing to take up each other's slack.
No one team is ever perfect. In fact, researchers have shown that the perfect team is made of imperfect team members. This dynamic inter-dependency is what makes the success of a team brilliant. A strong team that has the habit of helping each other out stands to outperform any teams made of selfish team members. However, this does not mean individual contribution don't matter. It simply means that the spirit of support and cooperation is key in the success of any organization.
6. They share both success and failure.
Unfortunately, no matter how good a team is, they can still fail. Success and failure is the name of the game. The difference is in how the team members accept failure, or celebrate success. A good team would not blame each other, and in fact everyone would feel responsible for the failure. This mindset actually helps team to improve and become better. Comparatively, if team members begin to pick on each other weaknesses, the team may not be able to see how to start improving themselves. Remember this the next time you have a post mortem. Observe how the team members react to success or failure.
With that said, developing and instilling these key traits in teams is no easy task. It requires everyone's effort, discipline and most importantly the desire to establish such a team. Building a team can take years. Yet it is so easy to loose the team to things that are beyond our control. This is why teams must invest in tools that can help improve team engagement and alignment. At OrgEngine we believe in establishing transparency and understanding by communicating relevant organization information visually to team members.
At some point in your life, no matter how technical you are, you may end up in a managerial role. This is why you need to know the functions of a manager, so when nature calls, you will roll into your new job relatively easily. Here are the 5 key functions of a manager I googled on the internet just for you.
You need to know where you are going. Just like when driving a car, it is probably a good idea to first identify where you are going before you start driving. Knowing where you are going will give you a better idea of what resources you will need for the journey, I’m talking about fuel, food, people, and what kind of car you will be driving. So, remember, when you become the manager, you need to know where you are going. Otherwise, the rest of your team effort just leads to nothing. Goal setting and KPI setting are probably good tools for you to learn about when you are just getting started with planning. I know it's unbelievable, but so many “managers” fail this first step.
When you are organizing objects or inventory in your house, you need to use racks and storage boxes. People do tasks, and as a manager of people, tasks are now your inventory. You probably have a bunch of different tasks you need to execute so you need to assign those tasks to people. Just like you would put inventory on a rack, if you overburdened those racks, they would fail and fall flat on your face. So, you need to assign tasks and responsibilities carefully. I divide tasks into three main categories:
- Routine tasks - things you do repetitively with minimal supervision
- Todos tasks - the occasional one-off tasks that you may have to get done immediately
- Projects - a bunch of tasks that are geared towards accomplishing certain short-term goals or agendas.
Know your people, understand them, what makes them tick. Know the people you will need to accomplish the tasks. If you have planned well, then you will know who you will need, and sometimes, who you don’t need. Analyze and identify any of the gaps you will need to address via training, recruiting, or employee development. Depending on the size of your company, you may need to work with the HR department to accomplish this.
Let’s be frank about it. You are not a natural-born leader. Most people are not. You are just here trying to make an impact on the world and you just realized that sitting in an office chair coding all day long is just not going to scale well. You hate leading and pretending to be the all-knowing leader that you are expected of by the rest of the organization and society. Who in their right mind would ever want that? Sounds like a recipe for a narcissistic brat in the making. You probably wouldn’t want that as a kid. But you realize that deep down if you don’t stand up to the occasion and make an impact, your idea and your dreams of a better world are never going to happen. The first thing about leading is that it is not about you. It is about the people you manage. As a leader, you are expected to be a superhuman being who knows everything and expected to motivate, guide, encourage and communicate with the people you manage. Don’t be delusion into thinking that you will be able to do all things right the first time around. Instead, expect to make mistakes as you assist, coach, and solve problems with your employees or teams. Be easy on yourself, people will criticize you no matter how hard you try. Make it your goal to prove them wrong as a motivation to keep on going. Most importantly, believe that it will come to you when you have put in the time and effort to improve.
Monitoring and Controlling
You obviously can’t control something you can’t monitor. You can probably pull it off, but it wouldn’t be pleasant. It’s like driving with a blindfold. Irrefutably, it does not make sense, dangerous, and irresponsible. How well you drive (control) your car is determined by how much information you have. If you are blindfolded, you don’t have visual input, and I can guarantee that such a mistake is fatal. The speedometer helps you decide if you want to accelerate or brake. Your rearview mirror or side mirror helps you pass through narrow bridges or junctions. If you have a GPS, it can help you navigate uncharted territories more efficiently, because it takes the guesswork out of the equation. Obviously, the more information you have and the quicker you can access that information is critical to making a decision on the road. I would argue that the same concept applies to managing an organization. Timely access to information is the secret to effectively manage an organization. So, remember to track and monitor your KPIs after you have set them, and controlling the resources that you have to achieve your organization’s goals and objectives.
Wait a minute. With so many things to do, is it even possible to accomplish all of the above? Unfortunately, being a good and effective manager is not easy. Even more difficult if you are a business owner with about a thousand things in mind. The reality is, many mangers and business owners struggle to align their team, and implementing these 5 key functions is no easy task.
Luckily I have a few small tip for you that makes accomplishing the 5 key functions above somewhat bearable.
Define your organization structure by creating an org chart
Many managers think they don't need an org chart. Bad mistake! An org chart is your organization's most basic accountability chart. Having a well structured org chart makes it clear who is responsible for what and reduce blame game when things doesn't go your way.
Start documenting your process in well known format such as SOP
Processes should be clear and makes it easy for people to follow. If you are struggling with writing your own process, then you should at least have a list of task that everyone is doing. To be even more effective, group those tasks into routine, todos, and projects.
Set KPI for everyone in your team
No matter what role people play in your organization, they must always have a clear set of expectations of what they need to accomplish at the end of the day. KPI is just one of the easiest and most effective way to start measuring results. Are you struggling to set KPIs? Don't worry, it is part of the process. If you are struggling, it means you have never really thought about it in the first place. You will make mistakes but, it get's easier with experience.
While you can of course manage all these important things manually, you will soon find that using spreadsheet for KPI setting, using presentation app for your org chart and using word document for process documentation is an incredibly fragmented experience and takes away your focus. Is there a much easier way to do this without making you jump around between 3 different apps? Is there a way to automagically create all these documentations without a single user input?
Yes, and no. Fortunately, using a tool my team developed, OrgEngine, you can easily manage all these within a single application. Everything is laid out in a single interface so you can focus on creating an org chart, document your process and set individual KPIs. It's quick and effective. Unfortunately however, it is still not possible to automagically generate all these documentations without user input (imagine if we could). If you think team alignment for your organization is important and interested to learn more, you can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free live strategy / demonstration session where we will explore the suitability of the application for your organization.
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