This is a challenge that faces any new leader in a professional commercial environment – managing your team but at the same time, building strong and positive relationships. As a team leader or manager, you will often find yourself facing challenges and there is a lot of learning that takes place.
One of the ways you can quickly become an effective leader is by getting to know your team well and building strong relationships with both the team as a whole, and as individuals. There are several ways you can do this, and it is a lot easier thank you may think.
1. Learn to Recognise Emotion and Praise Others
Emotional intelligence is a major part of managing a team. The ability to see and respond to peoples’ feelings, even when they are not openly talking about or displaying them, is an essential trait in any leader. Often, people will not let their emotions get the better of them in a professional environment and if these people are left to cope on their own, it can detract from their work. If you can recognise emotions, you can step in before problems arise.
In addition, you can use praise as a motivator for your staff; it is an authentic way to create positive emotions within your team.
2. Organise Team Building Activities
Leading a team is not just about your relationship with your team members, it is about the relationships between individuals within your team, too.
Team building events are a key way to bring everybody together outside of the commercial and corporate environment and allow them to let their hair down. If your team members only see each other in work and never get any time outside of the office to communicate with each other and spend time together, there is not going to be much chance for friendly relationships to develop.
These activities can involve a wide range of things e.g. team meals out, paintballing, drinks on a weekend, trips out to a new city etc. There are no limits here, and it’s really down to you, your imagination, and what you can fit within the company’s budget. One popular idea that is quickly catching on is organised treasure hunts from companies like Team Tactics, as they are both fun and interactive. Check out their site for more ideas on team building activities.
Try to avoid making your team building activities too corporate, though; the whole point of them is to be fun and to allow your team members to communicate with each other in an environment not related to work. If your team building event is too corporate, people will act the same as they do in work.
3. Always Ask Questions
When you ask questions a lot, you are signalling to your team that you are interested in them both personally and professionally. It also shows that you are curious about their work and professional development. Questions, when appropriate and asked at the right times, can encourage your team members to think about their work in whole new ways.
In addition, it also encourages members of your team to ask questions back at you or of their colleagues. A team that asks questions is always going to be more open to change and trying out new things. By doing this, the team becomes more susceptible, open, and responsive to failures and learning from their mistakes. By asking questions, you encourage your team to consider new avenues and this not only strengthens relationships but also improves overall quality of work.
If you are a brand-new team leader or manager, it can be very difficult when you are just finding your feet. There are many things that you can do to make the task easier, but the three suggestions above are tried and tested methods.