Team management 101

As posted previously, I’m about to take on a role that is managing a team. It looks like I will be responsible for 12 but directly managing 5.
This is not my natural skill set at all but my Dept Director boss is fully aware and supportive and there is a very comprehensive Mgt program within the org I am going to.

I know some of you are managers and I’m keen to learn. On top of this, I’m heading into a role that I have not done before ( purely commercial but relying heavily on my procurement and IT contract skills).

I’m really keen to rise the challenge but it seems a huge step up for me and will involve a lot of extra hours, impacting family and training time.q

I know I have to listen listen listen as a Mgr and give my staff the latitude to do their job well.

It’s the things like managing diaries, monitoring progress, resolving conflict I could use your advise on.

I’m all ears :wink:

Where to start! Firstly, people are like icebergs. Take time to get to know them; never jump in with both feet in the early stages, your assumptions could well be wrong.

I would recommend doing some online equality & diversity courses if you’ve not recently, that and unconscious bias. It’s very enlightening, and real food for thought. I find the unconscious bias stuff quite fascinating.

Loads more to consider of course, but these are a fine starting place.

2 Likes

Be humble, be transparent with your decisions but actually make decisions (!) and acknowledge when you made a mistake.

Plus the stuff that Jorgan mentioned. Manage each person as an individual, adjust your style to suit.

2 Likes

Thanks. Re the diversity, I’m pretty aware of this because at Voda we had to do these and a plethora of others as mandatory training every year and I’m sure where I’m going will be no different. (its Gov, so probably very Diversity heavy).

1 Like

It probably isnt, and its likely you are up to it. It shouldnt involve extra hours.

Rely on experienced staff decisions, even if you disagree with them unless its a catastrophic error of job-loss proportions. People need to be allowed to make mistakes.

Encourage less experienced staff and give them visibility of more senior meetings.

Measurement and reporting; balance between what the executive want to see and what the team members want to show. - You cant manage people or make them more productive by more reporting.

Explain whats happening at the executive level, but dont bore them to tears with it. People get frustrated by management decisions but its mostly because they dont know why theyre making them.

Diary management is a nightmare, if tou havent got a PA ask a junior to help if you can - one that is ambitious preferably. They will like the visibility of what more senior people are doing.

1 Like

Keep 'em coming. I have to mount these cabs I the garage but will read in detail later. :+1:

how did you identify your unconscious bias?

Principles of leadership

Know yourself and seek self improvement.
Be technically proficient.
Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
Make sound and timely decisions.
Set an example.
Know your team and look after their welfare.
Keep your team informed.
Develop a sense of responsibility in your team.
Ensure that the task is understood, supervised and accomplished.
Train as a team.
Employ your team in accordance with their capabilities.

2 Likes

Great advice re decisions. Nothing worse than an indecisive manager. The old “I’m new to this, I may make mistakes” talk is a great start to getting them on side.
Humble. Absolutely. An arrogant new manager is a failure straight out of the box most of the time.
If these are current work mates you’ll be managing it’s highly likely the “friendship/ team” dynamic will change. Your not work mates any more. Your their boss.
If you need to have a difficult conversation, have it! People will be expect it of you and it’s kinda your job. There is good training to be had on this subject. :+1:

3 Likes

I think this works for some managers, and for some employees nothing else will work, but for me I think friendship makes the team work and my leadership is the guidance and clarity they want…or Im not going to get very far.

:sweat_smile:. Well thats my self-delusion anyway.

Whether its people above, below, or some bizarre matrix reporting on the org chart, everyone has equal value and has their own goals and motivations. Once you understand those, you have a much better chance of getting along.

Interesting thread.

1 Like

My team of 11 includes people Id worked alongside for over 10 years and my wife.
It adds a whole new dynamic!
I’m definitely in the whole honestly, transparency camp… And that’s all built on good, regular, communication.
Finding that balance early is difficult, even with a team I knew. Wanting to be likeable, but getting the job done.
I was guilty of giving too much flexibility to people that hadn’t proven their reliability. Back to the trust is earned comment.
I think ultimately I wanted to treat my team “right”. I’ve had some abysmal, absent, self glorifying managers… And without a well performing team the manager can’t succeed.
So I’m aware of those doing their bit, the extra. Its acknowledged and rewarded when suitable.

Unconscious bias is very difficult to identify without an external prompt; like a course or talking with others on the subject and exchanging views. Hence the name!

How do the people you are talking to identify it as unconscious bias? How does a course prompt you to recognise it?

The course doesn’t, the courses are however extremely interesting, but basically completely rubbish for eliminating or even limiting unconcious bias.

Actually putting procedures in place to eliminate and monitor actual bias, is much better, and part of the educating that supports those processes to ensure that people follow them is unconcious bias courses. The courses themselves though do not particularly help you identify your biases - you’d’ve been able to identify them anyway, and it doesn’t help change things. They will help recognise why you shouldn’t be having one person evaluating teams.

the courses may well be interesting, but i would be very keen to understand how any presenter can differentiate (or help you differentiate) the unconscious bias that you need, and those they seem concerned to eliminate…

my advice would be that the hardest, yet most important thing to do is to provide honest feedback. if you feel someone can come across a bit abruptly, or lacks attention to detail when needed, tell them!.. its way too easy to avoid the harder feedback

Then, the nature of how you give that feedback is so important…

firstly prep the ground and make it clear feedback is coming, as it puts people in the right frame of mind to listen… “i’m going to offer some feedback… is now a good time for that?”

secondly, make the feedback specific… instead of “you can be abrupt”, “you were a bit abrupt with Fred yesterday when he offered an opinion”…and even better, state the consequence…”you were a bit abrupt with Fred yesterday when he offered an opinion, and I suspect you might discourage him from sharing his thoughts with you”

Lastly, ask for ideas from the person on how to improve… if its their ideas, or some version based on their ideas, they’ll more likely get implemented…

There you are, MC’s management 101!

PS… if it only were that easy, but by far and away the best managers i’ve worked for, and had working for me have all been great at feedback above anything else.

4 Likes

As I said, they can’t, what they help you understand is that it exists, a lot of people think they’re not biased, think they don’t have any unconcious bias. The courses are not about helping you eliminate it, or even helping you decide how you’re biased. They are simply about illustrating that they exist, and that you can’t actually eliminate them, so you need procedures and processes in place to prevent the unconcious biases of everyone in the business leading to explicit bias in the business.

2 Likes

Read Dilbert - and do exactly what the Pointy Haired Boss doesn’t

I once worked in a company that I’m sure used Dilbert as its management training manual, some hair brained scheme would appear in the cartoon and then 2-3 months later be implemented by our execs…

1 Like

So they are making the assumption that you have biases that are not welcome in the workplace. They don’t know this, they can’t tell you what they are, they can’t help you to identify them if you have them…but they can help you to create a procedure to do what exactly?

Who are these lots of people who think that they are not biased?

[quote=“explorerJC, post:19, topic:1831”]
So they are making the assumption that you have biases that are not welcome in the workplace. They don’t know this, they can’t tell you what they are, they can’t help you to identify them if you have them…but they can help you to create a procedure to do what exactly?[/quote]

No, we all know that people are biased, so to eliminate bias (because bias means you don’t do the most efficient thing for the business, perhaps in recruitment you’d employee a weaker person, or in choosing who to encourage to take more training or responsibility, that’s inefficient) Because it’s so hard to identify, we need to put in procedures and processes to limit it. In recruitment you might remove much of the identifying features on a CV, you might have an explicit scoring system with panels made up of a variety of people (who we don’t know won’t all have the same biases, but all you can do is increase the chances)

The unconcious bias course facillitators will not be the people who set up those procedures based on you. They’ll just help explain why you have to do things which might seem inconvenient.

People don’t think they have specific biases, even if everyone knows they are biased. “I’m no biased against men, why are we wasting time having 3 people interview the receptionist?”