Frequently, I hear from my clients how busy they are, how they have so many demands on their time at work (and often at home too), how much pressure they are under and that they also have to run a team too.
It’s very interesting how often this is tagged on the end, the team as an extra responsibility and a burden – which is how it feels for many.
However, as your seniority increases, leading a team and managing client and prospective relationships are often the mainstay of the role. It shouldn’t be ‘doing the doing’. Yes, there are targets to hit and delivery to complete. However, the team should be the facilitator of those things happening, not an additional problem. That’s not to say your team won’t bring you challenges, where there are people, there are always a wealth of complications to deal with. However, when you have spent the time with your team and got them working well, it makes everything else easier.
So here are my top 4 simple tips for making sure your team facilitate your day-to-day, rather than the emphasis being on them being another ‘thing’ you have to do:
- Time – take time with each member of your team (assuming you have fewer than 10 direct reports!). This builds the relationship and enables you to understand what their strengths and weaknesses are, which will facilitate delegating later on. If you don’t know what they are competent at, it will cause more problems later on.
- Support – understand what support each person needs to best do their job. Some will appreciate regular check-ins, whilst others will prefer being left to it and coming to you, only when they specifically need guidance.
- Style – try to develop not just your own distinctive leadership style (which could account for several articles) but also a way of interacting as a team. One example: Is it ‘open house’ to be interrupted if you are at your desk? Or, are there set times of the day each of you is interruptible to assist others? What you decide will be decided by the type of work your team does and personalities.
- Responsibilities – make sure all are clear of who does what and were responsibility lies. When this is ambiguous, you either get individuals trying to ‘power grab’ or they step back and nobody takes responsibility.
It is really important to develop trust in your team, trust for doing the work, but also how you support and interact with one another and this needs to be led by you as the team leader. A recent client of mine was describing how poor the culture was at work – a culture of competition and blame. He explained how he needs to translate this sense of need to achieve things to the team, so they take action. We are working on how he can do this in a way that creates a more positive culture than the rest of the organisation and builds a climate of co-operation and trust to achieve the goals. This means he will feel less stressed and the team can work with him to achieve the goals he needs to.
Frequently, the team get put last, as working on the 4 areas above does take time, there is no doubt about that. Time that frequently leaders say they don’t have. How can you carve out a bit of time each week to work on these areas with your team and create a sense of trust, belonging and importantly motivation? It will pay off in the long-term.
If you are feeling stuck in your career and want to think more about your career progression, even if you don’t know exactly what is not working so well for you at the moment, contact me for a no obligation 30 minute call.
If you’d like to see more about how I work with individuals click here.
If you’d like to know more about how we transform groups of people in organisations so they can manage client and prospective client relationships well and reduce the burden on you, click here.