6 must-know tips for effective team management

All of us at monday.com
All of us at monday.com

    Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

    He also said “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team,’ but there is in ‘win,”‘ but we’ll ignore that one…

    He’s right — trying to go it alone rarely results in growth, either of a basketball franchise or a business.

    Which is why effective team management is so important.

    Without team management, you have a bunch of “I’s” running around haphazardly completing tasks. You have ball hogs and benchwarmers when you should have set plays and accurate, behind-the-back passing.

    In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of effective team management, what a well-managed team looks like, and provide 6 actionable tips for good team management to help you get the slam dunk (okay, I’ll stop).

    Why is effective team management important?

    Good team management leads to an organization where employees are productive, collaborative, and motivated to reach their targets.

    Let’s take a look at 3 crucial benefits of effective team management:

    1. Good company culture

    A team leader focused on finding and implementing the best methods for their employees to work together will boost teamwork, morale, and productivity.

    A recent survey highlighted this with a majority of respondents stating that support from leadership and management was the most important element of a company’s culture.

    2. Boost productivity and efficiency

    In a survey, 77% of US workers said culture has a strong impact on their ability to do their best work.

    3. Reduce employee turnover

    81% of business owners in a 2019 survey agreed that “turnover was a costly problem.”

    How costly, you ask? The survey states that US businesses spend $1.1 billion per year looking for replacement workers!

    The survey reports “poor interpersonal relationships (conflicts with managers or colleagues, etc.)” as the second-most stated reason for employees quitting.

    With this context, it becomes more evident that managers must build a good work culture to retain their best employees.

    What makes a team manager good?

    While there’s no single metric to define a good team manager, there are several defining aspects of a well-working team that showcase effective leadership:

    • Everyone within the team has a clear understanding of their responsibilities.
    • All team members are motivated to achieve team and organizational goals. A goal can be short-term, such as project delivery, or long-term, like increased revenue.
    • There are regular check-ins by managers and supervisors to ensure that all team members are satisfied with their workload and the work culture. This also enables employees to ask for support when needed.
    • Managers are open to receiving feedback from team members and work towards implementing any necessary changes.
    • Regular team-building activities are held to promote collaboration and bonding.

    Many of these elements are subjective, but effective team management makes it easier to assess crucial factors affecting team members and their productivity.

    6 essential tips for effective team management

    1. Communicate directly and transparently with your team

    monday.com's example of a project communication template

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    A manager who cannot properly communicate with team members might win a battle or two, but has already lost the war.

    Employees dread miscommunication because it causes confusion and stress. During 2019, 80% of surveyed US workers stated that they experienced stress resulting from ineffective or poor company communication.

    Effective communication ensures team-wide clarity with regards to tasks, deadlines, and goals. This transparency allows a team to focus on their productivity and collaboration.

    On the flip side, poor digital communication lowers employee morale and productivity. This, in turn, negatively impacts customer satisfaction and the bottom line.

    A workplace platform, like monday.com, can help managers and team members communicate better. For example, a manager can utilize a project communication plan to dictate meetings, assignments, and progress openly.

    2. Offer a clear vision

    In a 2019 survey, a majority of managers stated that keeping their team on track to achieve goals was an important part of their role.

    However, a manager who doesn’t have their eye on the ball can’t ensure their employees move in the right direction.

    Managers can often get side-tracked from their original goals by their own daily tasks and everyday team problems, be they big or small.

    A manager that loses track of their own path can confuse employees. A 2018 report revealed that 44% of employees were unaware of business goals.

    Setting a clear vision that highlights short-term and long-term goals for projects, teams, and the overall organization, is the best way for managers and employees to stay focused.

    Managers can use team management software, such as monday.com’s OKR (objectives and key results) template, to list and track goals. Templates can help them maintain focus while also directing their team towards achieving goals.

    monday.com's example of an OKR template

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    Employees will also have clarity on their work and how it impacts projects, teams, and the business.

    3. Encourage team and inter-departmental collaboration

    Employees who say they feel like part of a team are 2.3 times more likely to be engaged at work.

    So if teamwork leads to engaged employees, then what builds teamwork? The answer is effective collaboration.

    Good collaboration among team members ensures projects are delivered on time without interpersonal conflicts.

    Managers must capitalize on software to boost collaboration. It’s almost expected of them, with most Millennials (85%) and Gen Z (79%) workers saying they wanted their direct reports to use technology for problem-solving.

    Platforms with a customizable project tracking template can be used by managers to set-up a project. Everyone involved in the project can then track tasks, deadlines, and changes quickly.

    A screenshot of a project tracker board

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    This transparent approach also enables employees to receive feedback and flag any issues almost immediately. Overall project management is also improved.

    4. Delegate intelligently and conscientiously

    A manager is expected to assign tasks to employees based on skill, experience, and competency. They must trust that every team member can complete assigned tasks on time.

    Ideally, every team member should have a fair workload.

    But many managers are failing at proper delegation. In fact,  21% of employees feel overwhelmed with their workload “most of the time.”

    Improper delegation causes employee burnout. A Gallup survey found an “unmanageable workload” is the second-leading that employees state for being burnt out.

    So how does a manager ensure that they aren’t giving a team member more than they can handle? 

    The answer is having an overview of task assignments for each team member and their deadlines.

    A task management template that allows oversight of these factors can help managers delegate tasks better. They can easily identify and make changes to reduce heavy workloads:

    5. Give feedback and recognition

    Constructive feedback sessions provide insights into areas where improvements are needed, both for employees and managers. It gives employees clarity on where they stand and where they are headed.

    Changes influenced by these sessions can help employees, managers, and the overall team perform better as well as build rapport and trust.

    Effective managers must make time for consistent feedback sessions. Research shows that employees want regular feedback, with 92% of participants saying they want more than just an annual performance review. 72% want at least monthly review sessions.

    Another critical aspect of feedback sessions is recognition.

    Appreciation of team members’ efforts and achievements has a significant impact on employee morale and engagement, while a lack of recognition can lead to burnout. A recent study states that reducing both giving and receiving recognition increases the odds of burnout by 45% and 48%.

    Scheduling feedback sessions while handling many other responsibilities can be challenging, but a dynamic feedback tracker can help managers immensely:

    monday.com's example of a feedback tracker

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    6. Overcome remote work challenges

    Remote teams are the way of the future.

    It’s estimated that by the end of 2021, 25-30% of the US workforce will work from home more than once a week.

    To efficiently handle a remote team, managers must identify and solve the challenges of hiring and managing virtual team members, before doing so.

    Some common problem areas include scheduling and miscommunication. A remote work plan template can alleviate these problems.

    WFH remote work template monday.com

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    Apart from using software to overcome operational challenges, managers must also recognize their remote workers’ other needs.

    Feedback sessions, for example, are crucial for remote workers. Research shows that fully and nearly fully remote employees that received good feedback in the past week were 4.6 times more likely to be engaged with the team.

    Effective team management is essential for both team and organizational success.

    A manager that excels in fundamental areas — such as setting goals, delegating tasks, and providing consistent feedback — is more likely to have engaged employees working under them.

    Effective managers can keep tabs of their employees’ engagement levels by taking advantage of monday.com’s employee engagement template.