Organisations rely on teams to execute and deliver results that drive the business forward. For those teams to succeed in this task, they need leaders who possess good management skills. Luckily, skills can be learnt and improved.
Here are a few skills that team managers can, and should, equip themselves with.
One good management skill an effective team leader can’t do without is emotional intelligence. It will help them recognise not just their own emotions but those of others and react accordingly. A person with high emotional intelligence will be able to quickly understand that an out of character outburst by a team member, for example, is due to a personal problem rather than disrespect.
Emotional intelligence goes hand in hand with empathy-the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. With this, leaders can make decisions that are favourable to their teams.
Emotional intelligence with teams can guide decisions like which employees can be paired to achieve the best results, when to push a team and when to table a project discussion for the next day.
Ability to delegate
Delegation does more than relieve a leader, leaving them free to tackle other tasks, it empowers team members. The knowledge that the boss trusts them can only serve to build the confidence of your team members.
Furthermore, it drives self-improvement. If employees know their manager is open to delegating, they will be willing to equip themselves with the skills that will put them in the position to take up more responsibility when the chance arises.
It is a good management skill because it tackles the growth of team members. When leaders delegate, they give their team a chance to gain new skills and experiences.
Communication is no doubt important for the workplace. It helps people know what they should do, if they are doing the wrong thing and how they can correct. And it encourages them to keep going if they are doing the right thing.
Communicating to a team is different from one-on-one communication and leaders need to keep that in mind. With one-on-one communication, there is time to dialogue and convey information in the best way for that individual to understand. In a team, different people might have different communication styles.
With a particularly large team, it can be impossible to talk to everyone alone. And because an effective team should be like one organism, a manager needs to communicate the same thing to everyone. Some managers work to develop a team ‘language’. A unique way in which to get a message across in a way that everyone will understand.
Team leaders are also required to communicate with stakeholders outside of their team. Good communication skills will come in handy particularly when it comes to having difficult conversations that might include advocating for their team with senior management.
Being decisive is a good management skill to have when leading a team. Strong communication skills mean that a leader is willing to listen to the suggestions of their team, weigh their input and implement it when applicable.
That said, certain decisions require a leader to make a judgment call, sometimes at a moment’s notice.
Decisiveness also means that leaders are able to discern when to say no.
Team leaders who think strategically are able to balance getting their teams to meet their goals while also thinking about the future of the team.
Strategic thinking involves leaders taking the time to make a plan for what the team needs to achieve. A leader needs to consider why the team is going after a goal at a particular time, where it will lead them, what will happen once they meet that goal and what resources the team needs to get there.
A plan is only good if it is executed so an effective manager will be able to translate a strategic plan into action.
It is inevitable that a team will run into some conflict along the way. If left unresolved, it can affect the productivity of the team, or worse, lead to loss of some members. That is why conflict resolution is one of the key good management skills for every leader to have.
Conflict resolution requires a leader to look at both sides of an argument and find ways to provide a solution that is fair to all the parties. Some leaders pre-empt this by instating policies to guide how people behave in the case of certain conflicts.
Conflicts can also come from outside the team; from suppliers, external partners and customers. Being able to resolve them and maintain relationships is the mark of a good leader.
Without collaboration skills, can a team even exist? Team members need to work together and that means not just respecting the input of everyone but encouraging everyone to contribute. Effective collaboration requires navigation of different personalities on the team, and sometimes some egos.
While collaboration can result in achieving more than a single individual would have alone, it also means sharing the glory when success is achieved. This might be an uncomfortable concept for some members.
Managers need to be able to handle such hiccups by effectively communicating the goal, prioritising the development of team members so that all members of any collaboration can bring something worthwhile to a project and also working on team bonding.
Despite what some people think, confidence isn’t just an in born trait. It is a skill that can be improved. Confidence is a good management skill to possess because a leaders’ demeanour affects their team.
When a leader is confident and can communicate this to their team through their actions, a team will be confident as well. A confident leader is able to motivate their team. They are also not afraid to share their weaknesses and fears, knowing that this will work to inspire their team.
To improve confidence, one should start off with an honest evaluation of both their strengths and their weaknesses.
Good management skills are essential for successful team leadership. And while one can’t be great at all of them, managers who are seeking to be better at their jobs can invest in improving any of these skills.