It goes without saying that organizations have spent years perfecting their team management practices. However, the advent of the pandemic, disrupted every aspect of our lives, including the way we work. Invariably, organizations are being pushed to don a new avatar to keep pace with the changing conditions and adapt to the new normal. There are several hooks today which demand a reinvention of team management practices.
Transforming team management practices: The need
Firstly, the nature of work has transitioned from in person to remote. Most managers and team leaders have been trained to manage teams in a physical space. This shift to remote working requires new practices which focus on seamless communication and digital collaboration. Secondly, there is a need to change business priorities to adapt to market conditions and manage team tasks and strengths accordingly. Finally, the increasing ambiguity and uncertainty is having a negative impact on the mental health of employees. However, in most organizations, managers and team leaders don’t possess the requisite skills and emotional quotient to coach employees to success. Therefore, transformation of team management requires nurturing empathetic managers who can lead teams to success, albeit remotely.
Team management practices: The new playbook
The above section has briefly identified the challenges and now let us look at a few ways organizations and managers can write the new playbook for team management practices.
- Understand different personalities: Team management practices for the new normal need to adopt a personalized approach to management. Organizations and team leaders need to leave behind the cookie cutter approach of having a similar way of dealing with all employees and delegating work. Rather, the focus needs to be on different personalities and play on the strengths each employee brings to the table. A personality based approach to team management can help in offering the right nudges to employees with tools like the SuperBeings platform.
- Offer management training: According to a research by MDA Training, 58% managers claim to have not received any leadership training. Conventionally, most managers watch and learn from their bosses, especially about team management practices. However, with remote work taking precedence and other changes on the plate, it is important for organizations to invest in manager training. The focus should be on developing emotional quotient, empathy, etc. to offer the right mentoring and coaching to boost employee morale and engagement.
- Be open to feedback: In addition to training, managers need to widen their horizon by accepting and appreciating employee feedback. This new nature of work is different for managers and employees alike. Therefore, managers must actively seek feedback on what is working and what is not. For instance, managers need to continuously gauge employee pulse on whether one-on-ones work better or team meetings. Alternatively, what is the correct ratio for the two. Managers need to accept that sometimes they might not know the best and honest employee feedback can be a great corrective measure for transforming team management practices.
- Give adequate time off: When employees are transitioning to the norm of remote work, creating a work-life balance becomes difficult. According to a Polycom Inc, two out of three employees say that they are more productive remotely. However, the general notion is a virtual workforce decreases productivity. Invariably, this leads to an expectation of putting in more hours than onsite work. For effective team management practices, organizations need to give their employees adequate time off with paid vacation days if required to avoid work creep. In the absence of this, complete burnout will be the norm soon.
- Invest in coaching and other wellness practices: Finally, with mental health and wellness becoming a priority, organizations need to invest in coaching and other practices for robust team management. Organizations need to go an extra mile to showcase their care and empathy towards the employees. Coaching platforms and wellness tools can be effective solutions. They can help employees navigate the new challenges that come along the way with customized practices. This would be a boon for leaders when it comes to team management practices.
Opportunities in the pandemic
While there have been several challenges due to the pace of changes that the pandemic brought along, there is a bright side to it as well. It has definitely accelerated the long awaited move to remote work. According to a report by Upwork, 73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028. At the same time, this has initiated the much needed changes for team management practices. To be more precise, it has made team management practices more human, empathetic all of which is directed towards organizational efficiency and success.