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All about leading your team

Updated on April 6, 2011
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I think it was Sam Walton (founder of Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart) who said – “Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel.  If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish."   This quote is as true now as when it was first spoken and if you’re in a management function it is one that you need to keep in mind at all times, as while KPI’s and metrics are undoubtedly important – if you manage your people properly the big problems tend to go away and the small problems simply do not become big ones!

The New Manager

Companies are always looking for talent and if they can find it with by promoting someone on the trenches into a leadership and management role all the better.  Generally I agree and applaud this as it is without a doubt one of the best ways to keep and retain staff, however it is absolutely essential that the person promoted into this position knows the difference between managing and doing.  To some extent while the axiom holds that Managers do not “do anything”  - the truth is rather different in that they do everything by providing guidance and support to their staff.  If the manager tries to actually perform every single task, the company will see that it is a quick download slide to nowhere.

Knowing what drives your team

As a manager or leader it is essential that you know and understand the triggers that motivate your staff.  This could be simple things like a pat on the back for a job well done or something more complex involving a paintball or laser tag outing to keep the whole team focused.  The key here is that it does not have to be about splurging and spending money but should be tied to your staff and what they want.

Grow your people

Just like you once received mentoring from someone else, you need to see if there is anyone in your team that you can grow in a similar fashion.  Primarily this is done by delegating responsibilities to them to see how they get on, but at the same time keeping an eye on the overall project to ensure that they are not getting inundated and can handle the pressures.  The one thing though is that once you have grown your employee – let them go and do not stand in their way.  You might be surprised how much of an impact this will have in your job prospects in the future too!

Be SMART

Whenever you are setting goals for your teams (and for yourself for that matter) utilize the acronym SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realist and Timely) to develop these goals. By keeping this small phrase/idea in mind your goals will not only get accomplished properly but you will easily be able to align them with company and corporate goals.

Communicate

While this is the last point I will raise, it might actually be the most important.  As a manager it is essential that you communicate with the people working for you.  There might be times (probably will be for that matter) when you cannot tell them something due to the information being restricted – however if at all possible do not lie to them as this will damage your veracity in any future encounters you might have with that employee and when the word gets out the rest of your team.  Talk to them at all opportunities, get out on the floor and sit with them where they are working.  Do not just manage them – LEAD THEM!

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