Team management is not exactly easy. You’re constantly navigating different schedules, habits and personalities, all while balancing your own to-dos and keeping wider goals in mind. Since many people fall into managerial positions, they don’t necessarily have particularly strong managerial impulses or experience. But getting team management right from the start is crucial for your own success and peace of mind. For those new to the management game, we’ve put together a simple checklist of actions – to help cultivate key team management skills, connect with your team and stay on top of all your responsibilities.
- Define communication channels
Whether you use Slack for quick updates, Basecamp for project outlines and email for client updates, you need to define how you use each communication channel. In the long-run, it will aid clear collaboration and ensure important notifications don’t get lost.
- Set availability hours
Invite people to set times for checking and responding to email and chat apps, which can otherwise distract them throughout the day. It sets contact expectations and helps people work together more productively, without constantly disrupting each other.
- Broadcast key actions
Not everything requires a meeting, but for the times when you do need them, always follow up with a quick Slack or email recap, clarifying the main actions and their owners. It keeps priorities clear and people accountable.
- Track all team hours
You can’t improve team efficiency, productivity or profitability without understanding how your team actually spends its time. For billable work, time tracking is a no-brainer, but it’s also essential for managing internal tasks. Get an automatic tracking tool that does it all accurately for you.
- Get a team planner tool
Desktop calendars aren’t sophisticated enough to manage the headache of team coordination. Instead, invest in an intuitive team planner tool which lets you visualize all commitments, sync individual schedules and plan resources effortlessly and evenly, in-line with your actual capacity.
- Get a task management tool
To keep all team work visible, get a simple task management tool. These help you create a backlog of tasks, plan and prioritize upcoming work, and track progress against them once they are live.
- Automate essential admin
It’s your job as a manager to get the most from your team’s diverse skillset. A huge part of that is cutting out all the unproductive, meaningless tasks that get in the way. Meeting scheduling, timesheet creation, invoicing and billing can all be automated with the right tools.
- Set employee KPIs
You can only assess team progress by giving them an actual measurable objective to work against. Employee KPIs keep everyone on the same page, while still retaining autonomy to reach individual milestones.
- Actually discuss team roles
As a new manager, it’s important you listen to your workers and find out exactly how they contribute to the team's success. Sit down with your team members individually to learn specifically what they do – and get to know them!
- Provide resource for development
While many managers realize the value of professional development, few actually prioritize it. Give your team a variety of learning opportunities, from regular courses, workshops and conferences, to networking and mentoring. Make sure you protect space for people to learn and apply new skills.
- Document overtime
For managers in EU countries, recording overtime is now a legal requirement to ensure compliance with labor laws. But doing it also makes a tremendous amount of sense for surfacing broken work processes, poor project estimation and unrealistic client expectations.
- Monitor employee capacity
It’s vital you check in on your employees’ workloads to ensure they are fair, healthy and consistent. Knowing how everyone is working against capacity helps you balance responsibilities and boost collaboration, as well as protecting employee wellbeing and engagement.
- Recognize and celebrate achievement
Recognizing achievement is essential for keeping your team feeling valued and engaged. Praise individual skills, explain how specific people have made a difference, share their work beyond your team, and introduce them to clients as the brains behind it.
- Schedule regular one-to-ones Especially as a new manager, it’s important you build a feedback culture that celebrates achievements and reflects on areas for improvement. The conversation goes both ways; schedule regular spaces for checking in with people on a one-to-one basis.
- Ask for regular appraisals
Whether you’ve come in as a new team member or you’ve gained a promotion, it helps to have an honest conversation with your own line manager (or your team) about how well you’re doing.
- Get a people analytics tool
Intelligent tools can dive deep into performance and help you set up ways to give feedback to your team. Refkektive is a well-known people analytics tool that offers holistic feedback based on check-ins, reviews and growth.