Leading a team is never easy – whether you’re managing 5, 10, or 100 employees. However, the strength of your leadership strategy has a huge influence on productivity and engagement, making it a crucial focus of your role. Here we list our top five management tips for business leaders:
#1 – Identify your employees’ changing expectations
As a business leader, it’s important to understand the changing expectations of your employees. If you fail to meet these through your management strategy, you’ll likely see engagement rates fall, and staff turnover rise.
Sit down with employees regularly or use workforce surveys to identify where your leadership strategy is and isn’t working. This will help you to counter any engagement issues before they begin to impact your team’s success.
Act on employees’ feedback; develop your management strategy to meet their needs and show them that you’re listening.
This may include reviewing things like your Employee Value Proposition – the incentives given to your employees in recognition of their hard work. It’s important to give back to your employees, and ensure their expectations are met consistently.
#2 – Use SMART targeting to streamline colleagues’ workflows
SMART targeting is a popular method used by managers to organise their team’s workflows. The structure stands for:
Targets are focused around one specific goal, making objectives clear to employees, and helping them focus their efforts.
Smart targets must be measurable – meaning their success can be observed directly by employees and their managers. This helps to track success, progress, and any challenges faced in achieving the goal.
Targets must be achievable given the time, resources, and skills within your team. This means considering other tasks, as well as the capabilities of individual team members.
Similar to the above, targets must be realistically achievable to the point of completion. This means avoiding ‘the sky’s the limit’ thinking and focusing on what your team can realistically produce given their skills and resources.
Targets have a clear deadline, giving your employees a timescale for project completion. This helps your team to prioritise certain tasks and ensure that goals are reached within the necessary period.
#3 – Facilitate autonomy; don’t micromanage!
Employees need to be given autonomy to develop their skills and take an innovative approach to their work.
For this reason, it’s important to avoid micromanagement strategies when leading your team towards objectives. Don’t become overly involved in the workloads and tasks given to each of your employees – avoid ‘over-the-shoulder’ management strategies.
Giving employees autonomy shows that you trust in their abilities, giving them a valuable confidence boost towards critical targets and objectives.
#4 – Put employee wellbeing first – targets second
Employee wellbeing should always come before targets. While your business goals may be crucial for short-term success, disregarding their wellbeing will have a much bigger, long-term negative impact.
Make sure your employees feel comfortable in seeking support for personal wellbeing challenges. Work with your HR team to develop clear policies and provide resources and training for colleagues in need of advice.
Well-being and productivity go hand-in-hand – if you disregard the first, you’ll very likely see a dramatic fall in the second.
#5 – Use mistakes as learning opportunities – don’t reprimand!
We’ve all seen the stereotypical image of the red-faced boss – furious at the apparent incompetence of their team. However, such reprimand is almost always counterproductive and can cause long-term damage to your employer brand.
Instead, use mistakes as an opportunity for your employees to learn and develop. It’s much more productive to approach challenges with sensitivity and understanding, helping to make sure similar mistakes are prevented in the future.
As well as creating friction in your relationship, reprimanding employees may also harm their personal wellbeing. As mentioned before, this goes hand-in-hand with their productivity, making it crucial to place logical leadership before emotional reaction.
Team leadership comes with a lot of responsibility. Not only are you responsible for your team’s success – you’re also responsible for the support and wellbeing of each of its members.
Developing a productive leadership strategy takes work and an understanding of your employees’ unique expectations.
Here are five management tips for business leaders to consider:
- Keep your leadership strategy in line with employees’ expectations
- Use SMART targeting to structure your team’s workflows
- Facilitate autonomy within your team; avoid micromanagement tactics!
- Put employee wellbeing & support before any targets and objectives
- Use mistakes as learning opportunities, and avoid reprimand/emotional response