Being a team leader is all about leading a group of people towards a common goal or task, and empowering them to perform to the best of their abilities. Sounds simple enough on paper, right?
Well this is one of those 'easier said than done' things. Everyone is different in terms of personality and how they operate in a team environment, so an approach that may work for one person might not work for someone else. So the big question is - 'How do you make managing just a bit more manageable?'
Let's get started with some tips on how to level up your management skills and how to take care of yourself while performing your team leader responsibilities.
If you need support or just someone to talk to, our Sonder support team is available to chat at any time.
We're not saying you have to be best buds with every single person in your company, but hanging out after work or grabbing lunch and getting to know your team a bit better does wonders for team chemistry. The simple reason is that people work better and do a better job for people they genuinely like.
So make an effort to develop relationships with team members and encourage everyone else to do the same, whether it's through post-work hangouts or regular team-building exercises.
Create a positive team culture (and stick to it)
When you pull together a group of people to work on something, a culture and set of values will naturally develop. The key thing here is to make sure that this team culture remains a positive one as it can be easy for things to become negative, whether it's due to clashing personalities or incompatible working styles.
There's no set way to develop the culture and values of a team, the important thing is to lay out the rules and boundaries in a clear manner so that everyone is on the same page and can all operate to them.
Transparency is key
Keeping things from people and not properly communicating is almost always a recipe for a distrustful and inefficient working environment. Avoid those issues by building a transparent working environment where:
your team members can freely contribute and are across what's happening
everyone is treated with respect
accountability is emphasised for both team leaders and the rest of the team
constructive feedback is encouraged.
It's easier said than done but keep lines of communication open and consistent so that everyone knows what's going on. This in turn will give confidence to everyone that their ideas will be heard and the whole team is treated with respect.
Listen and have conversations
Disagreements and misunderstandings will inevitably arise in any work environment. The key thing is working through these in a respectful and constructive manner rather than sweeping things under the rug, and the best way to do this is to properly listen and to be open to having difficult conversations. If you're the type that avoids having difficult conversations because you don't want to offend or you're worried about how the other person will react, you're not alone - most people dislike conflict. But the downside is that if you don't address issues early, they're likely to fester.
Difficult conversations can actually promote more positivity for you and your team members' professional growth, as long as they're handled the right way. Always remain respectful, never make any assumptions about the motivations behind someone's behaviour, and be crystal clear about your observations and feelings about it. If you feel the conversation is getting out of hand and you're not able to maintain calm, suggest to your colleague that you should both have a break from the topic and pick it up again after you've considered the other person's point of view.
Know yourself (and your role)
Managing a team isn't always easy so it's important to understand your role as leader and how your actions have a trickle-down effect on everyone else. A leader's role is fluid and forever changing, so you need to know when to be hands-on and when to step back.
Equally important is your own wellbeing as you set the example as team leader. Make sure you're taking care of your physical and mental health, and getting that work/life balance just right.
If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.
Image credit: The Office
All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.