Whether you are a first time people leader, or an experienced professional with a mature career, one of the most challenging parts of any role is managing other people.

It does not matter what industry or profession you are in, having the responsibility of leading others, of bringing people together to try and achieve some common goals and objectives is extraordinarily demanding.

In this article we will take a look at some of the best-practice suggestions on how to be an effective people leader and how best to manage a team.

Know your people

Whatever type of work that your team is focused on, you have to appreciate and understand that you are dealing with people. Get to know each of your team members on an individual basis. You do not have to be best friends with them, but you do have to build an effective working relationship with them. Ask them questions that show that you are interested in their lives and their passions, listen to their answers, and understand what motivates them.

Articulate a common purpose for your team

Your team members may not all be doing the same job, or even necessarily working on the same project, but it is important that everyone within your team understands how their work fits together, and how it interdependently all fits together to progress towards a common goal or purpose. Your team’s common purpose needs to be something that everyone in your team can articulate, that everyone in your team believes in and has some emotional stake in.

Prioritize communication

Your team members will all communicate in different ways and will most likely prefer different types of communication. Some people respond best to face-to-face communication. Other people prefer to see something written down, so may respond best to email. Some people need time to process things, so they might need to go away and think about something you have told them before they come back to you with any questions or queries. The important thing though is that you are communicating regularly. Collaborative communication tools such as Slack are particularly useful if you are all operating in similar time zones, or you may find value in more complex project management solutions such as Dynamics CRM solutions. Even if you have nothing particularly new to say, merely keeping the dialogue going and the two-way communication channels open is essential to ensuring that your team are engaged and focused on the task at hand.

Look for team-bonding opportunities

Team building is a phrase that is often over-used, but the underlying principle is the same. Your team do not have to be best friends, but the more that they understand each other, the easier it will be them to work together. Team bonding builds an emotional connection, it builds trust. What is essential that your team all see themselves as being on the same side, not competing with each other, but working together in an effective way. Try to choose team bonding experiences that your team will actually enjoy – that does not mean you can just use it as an excuse to go drinking, but make the team-bonding something that they look forward to, not something that they dread.

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