Team management is an intrinsic part of organizational success. Unless employees and teams are given the right direction and managed effectively, the work is likely to fall back with little or no concrete progress. Invariably, the major onus of robust team management falls on line managers and reporting leaders. The logic is fairly simple. As they are the ones in direct communication with the employees, they understand the pulse of the employees and are best suited to provide the guidance and way forward. Invariably, the string towards boost employee performance lies in team management.
Boosting employee performance: Where do managers go wrong?
While the importance of team management and the role managers play in boosting employee performance is well acknowledged, there are several roadblocks in the way. This refers to the fact that managers today struggle with team management which has its base in a variety of underlying problems. To begin with, most employees contest that they have seldom received any mentoring or guidance from their direct reports. While they receive the tasks and the way to do them, there is rarely a conversation on how to navigate challenges by oneself. In addition to lack of mentoring, a significant portion of managers struggle with offering constructive feedback, which is crucial to team management.
According to a study by Interact, 37% of managers claim to have a tough time while offering direct feedback to their employees. Whereas, 72% employees claim that their performance would improve if they receive feedback from the managers. On a broader level, any form of employee communication is a challenge for managers across different levels. The same study shows that 69% of managers find it difficult to communicate with employees. This lack of mentoring, feedback and communication reflects on employee performance as they seldom have an idea of what is expected of them. Additionally, such managers fail to leverage employee strengths, while working on long term goal alignment.
Bridging the gap towards team management
There are several practices for organizations to adopt to make team management more effective and in turn boost employee performance. To start with managers must focus on SMART goals for their employees which can be measured in a timely manner. This adds to accountability which promotes team management. Next in line is the need to use performance management and productivity tools. These enable managers to track real time progress and augments responsibility and ownership. At the same time, personalized employee management is integral to robust team management. This generally requires a few practices of its own.
Great managers usually start with a needs-expectations analysis. The objective is to understand the long-term goals and vision of the employees and map it to the work allotted, instead of simply focusing on short term tasks at hand. The latter leads to a lot of dissatisfaction as employees feel their potential is being underutilized and their strengths are not at play. For comprehensive team management, managers need to understand the different employee personality traits and have a personalized approach to each one. This might involve investing in tools and platforms like SuperBeings which enable personality based management coaching. In addition to effective allocation, managers also need to focus on providing constructive feedback with exact points of what worked and what did not. Team management also requires offering employees with needs based learning to further leverage their strengths and offer support for their weaknesses.
Invariably, team management is all about effectively directing, mentoring and guiding the employees in a way that enables them to navigate through the challenges and set up a path to success resulting in boosting employee performance.
Preparing managers to boost employee performance
The above practices are starting points for organizations and leaders to align their team management efforts towards boosting employee performance. However, it also requires preparing the managers to play the role that employees expect. This involves investing in right performance management tools and other digital platforms. Additionally, organizations must encourage mentoring and coaching at the managerial level to equip managers and leaders with the right leadership skills that can boost team management and employee engagement for managers account for about 70% of variance in employee engagement!