8 Effective Team Management Skills Every Manager Should Know

Updated March 10, 2023

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A collaborative team gathers around a colleague’s laptop and are seen smiling at what appears on the computer screen.

Team management skills are something every manager should have and strive to constantly improve. Effective management skills are beneficial to both managers and the teams they oversee. These skills can ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page and help each team member know what’s to be expected of them in the workplace. Having the skill set to manage a team enables managers to successfully lead.

In this article, we discuss what team management skills are and provide examples of quality team management skills you can implement today.

What is team management?

Team management is a manager or organization’s ability to lead a group of people in accomplishing a task or common goal. Effective team management involves supporting, communicating with and uplifting team members so they perform to the best of their abilities and continue to grow as professionals. 

Precisely what constitutes effective team management, however, may differ depending on the work environment and the people. Some managers do well with an authoritative approach, while other managers prefer to manage their teams in a more casual way.

Some team members may also respond differently to certain management styles. Understanding your own leadership style and what works best with your team is an important part of team management.

Related: Guide to People Management: Definition, Tips and Skills

Why is team management important?

Team management is important for a number of reasons within the workplace:

  • It promotes a unified approach to leadership within a company or team, especially when team building is implemented.

  • It makes it easier to solve problems through the implementation of negotiating and critical thinking.

  • It encourages open communication between managers and team members and emphasizes good communication skills and active listening.

  • It ensures managers and team members are working toward a common goal that has been clearly defined.

  • It helps managers clearly outline the roles and expectations for their team members.

Understanding the importance of team management and working to develop your team management skills can help you be the most effective leader possible. The more effective you're at managing your team, the more successful your team will be within the workplace. 

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples

8 examples of effective team management skills

Effective team managers tend to share certain skills, attitudes and tactics. Although good management involves more than merely applying a list of tried-and-tested methods and approaches, you may benefit from considering practices that have worked well for other managers over the years.

If you're new in management or wish to grow your management skills, here are a few ways you can hone your skills as a team leader as well as real-life examples within the workplace.

1. Focus on serving rather than managing

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, effective managers focus on serving rather than managing their teams. As a manager, you should at all times have the best interests of your team members in mind and should strive to assist and support them in achieving both individual and team goals. 

In addition, a good manager leads through actions, as opposed to merely giving orders and delegating tasks. If you want your team to act professionally and deliver excellent work, you should act accordingly and set an example.

Example: A team member has phoned to say she is ill and not coming into work. Instead of adding all of her outstanding tasks to the workload of other team members, you offer to complete some of the tasks yourself.

Related: 7 Skills of Effective Team Leaders

2. Don’t always assume you’re right

If you want to be a good manager, you have to be open to continuously learning. While as a manager you may occupy a more senior position than the team members you manage, you should keep an open mind as to what your employees can teach you on a daily basis.

Apart from learning from your team, you should also ensure that you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments and invest in your own ongoing professional development.

Example: During a meeting with your team, you give your opinion about a technical issue that one of your clients is experiencing. One of your senior technicians responds to your analysis with a different point of view. Instead of immediately assuming your viewpoint is correct, you listen attentively to what he has to say and then have a constructive discussion on the matter.

3. Make transparency a priority

A transparent workplace can help employees feel more connected and encourage creativity and accountability. Practicing transparency through open and consistent communication allows your team members to feel a sense of respect that is important for overall job satisfaction and productivity.

This can also help your team members have more confidence when it comes to contributing ideas and solutions to the workplace, which can ultimately benefit everyone involved.

Example: Rather than distributing team tasks on an individual basis, use a project management system to assign and display tasks and overall goals for a particular project. When team members can clearly see their role in a project and know exactly what their responsibilities are, they are more likely to hold themselves accountable for producing quality work.

Related: Importance of Project Transparency and How To Improve It

4. Set boundaries 

Although you want to treat your team with kindness and respect, it is also important to set boundaries and assert your authority at times. Team members should know that your job is to ensure their work gets done efficiently and that, when necessary, you will take disciplinary action. There should be a very clear understanding of responsibilities and roles within the workspace to discourage team members from challenging unclear boundaries.

Example: A client has informed you that one of your technicians has not been attending to the necessary maintenance tasks on a regular basis as per their service agreement. Rather than sending an email to let your technician know they need to update the maintenance tasks, you meet with them in person to clearly outline your expectations and discuss the employee’s recent unsatisfactory performance. By meeting in person, you show your team member that you take their performance seriously and that not following through on work assignments will not be tolerated.

Related: 16 Ways To Set Healthy Boundaries at Work

5. Provide a positive workspace

Although the business world is a serious place that often involves profit margins, risk assessments and performance evaluations, studies have shown that a bit of humor and light-heartedness in the office can have a remarkably positive effect on productivity.

If possible, organize fun work outings or liven up the office environment with some plants and bright colors. Even if you just bring a bunch of flowers to work or tell a joke every now and then, this can brighten your team’s day and foster a culture of happiness within the workspace.

Example: The morale in the office is a bit low after losing a big account. You decide to lighten up the mood by hiring a mobile massage therapist to give everyone a shoulder and neck massage. When everyone is a bit more relaxed you sit them down with doughnuts and coffee to discuss lessons learned and how the team can improve on service delivery in the future.

Related: Positive Working Environment: Definition and Characteristics

6. Emphasize constant and effective communication within the workplace

One of the most important aspects of effective management is communication. As a manager, you should provide your team with all the relevant information at all times as well as encourage feedback from your employees.

As effective communication starts with attentive listening, you should set an example to your team members by really listening to them and considering their opinions and input. You should also strive to foster a work environment where team members have the freedom to express themselves in a polite and respectful manner.

Constructive and positive communication does, however, not always involve talking in person. There is an array of social media apps available today through which co-workers can stay in touch with each other and exchange ideas. 

Example: You realize there is a lack of communication in the office, which is negatively affecting service delivery. To address this issue, you call a meeting with team members where you discuss processes and where the breakdown in communication is taking place. To assist team members, you provide them with a mobile application on their phones where they can input the necessary updates when they are working outside of the office space.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

7. Encourage and nurture your team’s growth

As a manager, you should support and nurture your team. Your staff should know you have their personal development and best interests at heart and that you're supportive of their goals and dreams. This means that you should always be on the lookout for ways to develop and enrich your team, such as providing them with opportunities to attend workshops and conferences and stay up-to-date through training and certification.

Apart from encouraging your workers to continuously expand their knowledge, you can also nurture and motivate them through positive feedback for good work or improvement in performance. However, you should also provide constructive criticism at times, as this can assist team members in their professional development.

Example: An exciting conference is taking place which involves new technology. Although only senior engineers and management typically attend conferences, you have a talented junior engineer in your team who can benefit from going to the conference. You decide to raise this matter in the next management meeting and request that they allow the junior engineer to attend.

Related: What Are The Different Types of Workplace Training?

8. Be open to change

To be an effective manager you need to be open to change. This involves adapting your management style when necessary and realizing that different team members may have different approaches and ways of doing things. Be open to trying new technologies and to changing your typical method of management when it no longer produces the desired outcomes.

Example: Although the office rules stipulate that all employees should report to the office in the mornings before visiting clients and attending to call-outs, you realize that this has a negative impact on productivity and causes team members to lose valuable time. You decide to let team members visit clients first thing in the mornings as per their discretion and when it will benefit their overall productivity.

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