Practical tips on management are often focused on the day-to-day; conducting a disciplinary hearing, initiating a wellbeing project or handling an absence problem.
Those things are important to get right, but sometimes it can be useful to put the practical aside for a moment and consider fundamentally what you’re trying to achieve as a manager. It helps to take a step back and clarify what your role is; what it is you are trying to achieve as a leader of your team.
Defining your overall objective
Your ultimate objective as a manager can be summed up in one short sentence, and understanding that can lead on to a more detailed focus on how best to achieve it.
As a manager of a team, your overall objective should be to make sure your team delivers the best contribution possible to the objectives of the organisation.
That’s pretty clear, but to be able to make sure you can do that effectively, you need to clearly understand two things – what the objectives of the organisation actually are, and exactly what contribution your team should be making to those.
The objectives of the organisation could be long-term ones, and also shorter-term ones, but if you’re not completely clear on what the organisation is trying to achieve in the short, medium and long term, that’s something to address.
Similarly, if you know what the organisation’s objectives are over the coming months and years, but aren’t entirely clear how your team can best contribute to those, you should work with your own manager or the business owner, or whoever is appropriate, to clarify that.
Developing team goals
Once you clearly understand what the organisation is trying to achieve, and exactly how your team can contribute, you can develop specific objectives for your team; a focus on what needs to be delivered, and (where this is relevant to decision-making), in what way.
Involving team members in developing those team objectives can be useful, and the objectives should certainly be communicated effectively. If someone knows what the team is working towards, they can better understand their part in it.
Formulating the right team
Part of your aim as a manager needs to be ensuring that you have the right people in the right roles to effectively deliver what is needed. Obviously from a practical point of view, you rarely get the opportunity to start with a completely blank sheet of paper. But you should have at least some freedom to consider job content and skills needed, and to hone your team to be as you need it to be.
You may have opportunities to tweak within the roles and individuals you’ve got, or there may be an opportunity during a recruitment process to design the roles and select the candidates you need.
Maximising individual and team performance
Once you have clear organisation and team objectives, and have the right team in place, your role comes down to making sure each individual is performing as well as possible, and that the team as a whole is doing the same, and that’s where practical management tips are invaluable.
If you’d like some guidance on formulating objectives, or practical support on managing a team effectively, do get in touch.