The difference between managing a team of 2-3 compared to a team that’s potentially in double figures can be drastic and daunting, but with the correct tools and methods at your disposal, learning to manage a large team can come easily to those willing to adapt.
Synthesising communication, guidance, organisation and a whole host of other tips, we’ll present useful advice you’ll need to succeed as a manager of a large team.
1. The importance of delegation
As a manager of a large team, your time could well be spread thinly throughout the day, leaving you without the opportunities to focus on your own duties. Delegating whatever you can to other people who are capable of doing the tasks themselves is an essential part of management.
Not only does this give members of your team an opportunity to step up and prove themselves capable of completing tasks that may be out of their comfort zone, it frees up your schedule so you can meet with your team, plan things such as training and makes you more approachable through the day.
You can’t be everywhere at one time, so learn to delegate with confidence and vision.
2. Leverage communications tools effectively
Tools such as Basecamp and Trello are there to organise workflows and neatly segment tasks into more manageable and easily assignable chunks. They put everything that needs to be done in one place, and lets you know exactly what’s going on through the day, which means more time doing work and less time in meetings assigning tasks to everyone.
Not only will things run in a smoother manner, it offers an opportunity to see who is succeeding and accomplishing what and when. At the end-of-year appraisals, it may clarify who could be in line for a raise or bonus.
3. Building strong relationships
In a large team, people can get lost in the shuffle and may see their manager as a distant, untouchable figure. It’s important to make everyone in your team feel valued, so even the smallest bit of communication through the day can go a long way towards building relationships between you and your team.
Do your rounds through the day and have one-to-one meetings when you can. Checking in with your team and how they’re getting to grips with their workload is good, stopping for a chat and genuinely getting to know them is even better. That mutual interest and respect is invaluable; showing that you care is important to their well-being, and encourages them to reach out to you. These open communication channels make staying on top of everything easier in the long term, and gives you more insight and information when it’s time to meet with your own managers.
4. Empower the middle managers
As a result of these stronger relationships and more open communication channels, giving certain members of your team the opportunity to make decisions should definitely be on your radar. Being the sole arbiter of decision-making is often a bad idea and stifles other members of the team.
Allow middle managers the chance to make key decisions; they’re in the trenches and are more familiar with the day-to-day of what the work entails. As a result, their suggestions could be massively beneficial, and at the least, the move illustrates the trust and confidence you have in them to work with a more relaxed guidance. It’s encouraging, intelligent and gives you more time on your schedule to get things done, too.
5. Implement an appraisal system
Gone are the days of informal meetings with your three-strong team. High-number teams will need a more structured, formal system in place. Whether it’s peer reviews or self reviews, employees want to know how they’re doing, if they’re succeeding and where they can improve. There are online evaluation tools geared towards larger teams that make things like this easier. Additionally, if they’re aware that performance is regularly monitored, they’ll have a necessary incentive to improve in all aspects of their duties.
6. Match the right people to the right project
With so many different people of varying skillsets and personalities, the mark of a good manager is being able to pair people to the task. Not only does this add to the company efficiency that will ultimately affect the bottom line, the division of labour could help to make your team happier too. For example, if certain people on your team are more introverted, then consider having them deal with research-based tasks. Likewise, the extroverts on the team will likely succeed in more outward collaboration or presentations.
This is at the heart of a core aspect of effective team management, whatever the size – bringing out the full potential of every member of the team who reports to you.
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