As a people manager, I’m challenged with bringing everyone together as a functional team. There are five rules that help me achieve this. I manage in a production based environment, but these five tips will help you regardless of the type of team you manage.
1. Build Relationships
Relationships require trust to demonstrate that you can be counted on. My team used to go to other managers for help, and this bothered me until I realized I wasn’t taking the time to get to know them. Once I started to interact more with my team, they started trusting me to help. It is difficult for managers to build trust with their teams if they are not taking the time to build a team relationship.
2. Take Time to Listen
If your career mirrors mine, your position goes beyond just managing your team. I used to get so involved in other tasks, when team members would come to me for help, I would divide my attention between what I was doing and listening to them. I finally realized my team deserves my full attention, and now I take time to attentively listen to them.
3. Develop Your Employees
It is in my best interest to make sure employees are well-trained to do their jobs. I want them to be the sharpest tools in the shed, but I need to be their sharpening stone. Mentorship programs give managers opportunities to share experiences and knowledge with employees who want to advance.
4. Keep your team involved in changes
I involve my team in changes that directly affect them. I used to be a production worker before I became a manager, and the complaint I heard from coworkers was, “Why doesn’t management ask us for our opinion?” Involving my team when I make a change is beneficial, they provide some great ideas. They are the ones that have all the experience, so tap into it and gain some potentially beneficial advice before implementing a change.
5. Train Yourself
Experience can be a good teacher, but training will help answer questions you have. The best training I received was from college, but If this isn’t feasible, use mindtools.com, smallbiztrends.com and Harvard Business Publishing to get valuable insight for improving your management style. These courses and articles have created some great “AH HA!” moments for me.