Were you born a “natural” manager?

Team management expertise is critical to success of any manager since a manager is expect to work with a group of members to get things done. However, if you are a new manager, it could be a frustrating experience. You constantly asking yourself why your team members don’t think like you, have the same values, interests and behaviours.
Also many people make the mistake of assuming that technical excellence would lead to great team management. It’s not that straight forwards. But no one is born a natural leader/ manager. So what could you do?
You actually need to “learn” to work with other people, how best to organise them into efficient units, share your vision/goal and work with your team to realise it amongst many other things. The best way to learn is  through on the job training, reading and coaching. So it’s critical that you have a role model to emulate from, preferably your direct line manager because he/she shares the same context with you daily.
Some managers think that team management is all about having drinks/fun with your team or to train your team member to do certain tasks. It’s a lot more than that and with this post, I hope to raise your awareness about some of the key aspects:
  • Team mission/goal: Understand or build a business case on why your team should exist? How does your it fit into the larger organisation? How does it help to fulfil the organisation mission?
  • Team structure and size:
    • How big should your team be? and how do you justify that?
    • What should your team structure be or ways of working: single location vs multiple offices/timezones? How often should you change these?
  • Build a team
    • Do you have necessary interview skills or follow a written interview process to ensure that you have the right team members joining your team?
    • Have you consider your team dynamics, different personalities/ways of working within your team? Are they complementing or competing with each other?
    • How do you build trust with your team?
    • Do they follow your ask because you are their line manager?
  • Team progression:
    • How do you approach training and development?
    • Do you have a training plan? Is it scalable?
    • Do you give performance feedback to your team member regularly?
    • How do you set KPIs/conduct performance review?
    • What is your approach regarding team member progression? How do you know if a team member is ready for promotion?
  • Making mistakes: we learn through making mistakes however, not all mistakes are equal and not all managers are the same when dealing with mistakes. What is your approach? Could you remember the last time you handled a serious mistake?

The list could go on and on but I hope you get the picture. If you are keen to be a better manager, one of the most important thing is to develop “a deep, driving desire to learn, a vigorous determination to increase your ability to deal with people” (Dale Carnegie in his classic book “how to win friends and influence people“). In addition, I would recommend reading “High Output management” by Andy Grove.

Do you agree/disagree? Feel free to share/comment below.

Chandler

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