You found our list of essential team management skills & competencies.
Team management skills are qualities that help leaders guide groups effectively. Examples skills include emotional intelligence, communication, and decision-making. These characteristics enable managers to guide employees with empathy, logic, and confidence.
This article includes:
- team handling skills
- performance management skills
- cross-functional team management skills
- sales team management skills
- team management soft skills
Here is everything you need to know.
List of team management skills and competencies
Here is a list of abilities all managers must master to harness teams’ true potential and achieve group harmony.
Delegation is one of the most important team management skills. The role of a leader is to find the best people for the job and utilize every collaborator effectively. While individual employee success revolves around personal performance, manager success hinges on holding team members accountable, yet trusting them to do their jobs.
Micromanagement occurs when managers struggle to cede control to teammates. When leaders constantly review or perform tasks that staff are capable of handling alone, employees’ confidence and morale drops. Not to mention, leadership duties often get neglected in the process. While the manager completes simple tasks, nobody fulfills higher-level functions like analyzing data and evaluating progress, evaluating and coaching employees, and making executive decisions that benefit the team. Plus, trying to do everything is a sure recipe for burnout.
Team management requires a shift in mindset, from a player on the field to a coach guiding the game. Skilful leaders identify teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, evaluate workloads, and split tasks among team members accordingly. If necessary, then team managers can reassign roles as the project progresses, but it is important for every team member to receive clear duties and sufficient workloads.
2. Emotional Intelligence
People managers connect and correspond with individuals of various backgrounds, responsibility levels, and personalities on a daily basis. These contacts range from teammates to executives to vendors to clients. Possessing a high emotional quotient and exceptional empathy enables managers to navigate situations with grace and dignity, ensuring mutual respect.
Emotional intelligence is one of the most pivotal team management soft skills. Defined as the ability to accurately identify and respond to the expression of feelings, emotional intelligence guides leaders in interactions with colleagues.
Strong emotional skills prevent conflict and accelerate relationships, helping employees connect with bosses and gain the psychological safety needed to thrive in the workplace.
You can learn more about your emotional intelligence by doing free online personality tests.
3. Boundary Setting
One of the most often overlooked team management competencies is the ability to set boundaries. Leaders walk a fine line between developing personal relationships and remaining professional. Team managers aim for relatable and respect. These leaders want employees to see them as human, while still recognizing them as the boss.
This balance between authority and authenticity is tricky to achieve and maintain, albeit possible with proper boundaries. Good managers show interest in employees’ lives beyond the office, but do not pry or discuss work-inappropriate topics. While team leaders might develop closer relationships or stronger rapport with certain team members, when it comes time to work, all teammates are on equal footing and receive fair treatment.
Though friendly and approachable, great team leaders set expectations and follow-through on results. Employees understand that an amiable relationship with the team leader is no excuse to under-perform.
Here is a guide on how to manage office relationships.
Organization is an essential skill for team leaders, and one of the most pivotal cross-functional team management skills. Projects and collaborations consist of many moving parts and individual contributions, and without a well-ordered system, leaders may overlook important details.
Well-organized team leaders keep teammates on task, executives informed, and operations running smoothly. Managers with a clear plan know when to schedule meetings, where to find critical information, and who to check in with for updates. The resulting sense of calm and control inspires confidence and puts collaborators at ease.
One way to organize teamwork is by using project management software. Another approach is to recruit a competent assistant to gather and manage information. However, each manager has a preferred organizational method, such as spreadsheets, to-do lists, or daily scheduled housekeeping rituals.
This list from Entrepreneur Magazine lays out more productivity and organizational tips for managers.
5. Team Building
Team building is an ongoing and intentional process, so it is important that managers have the know-how to build relationships, foster communication, and strengthen bonds between teammates. While some colleagues click and get along instantly, most groups need help communicating, coordinating, recognizing each other’s skill sets, and appreciating unique personalities and perspectives.
Great team leaders rally group members around a central purpose. These managers spotlight team members’ strengths and distinguishing factors while also highlighting qualities teammates share. Savvy team leaders establish common ground while also nurturing individual talents, meaningfully connecting teammates in ways that encourage further interaction.
The practice requires a great deal of upfront effort. However, the more teammates connect, the more they become each other’s support systems and cheerleaders. The more the team helps each other, the less coaching the manager has to do.
Communication is critical to team success. Regular communication builds trust and develops rapport between managers and employees. Since teamwork involves groups of individuals performing tasks simultaneously in hopes of reaching a unified goal, it is important that every collaborator know where others are in the process.
When leaders fail to convey important details, adequately explain instructions, or lay out clear expectations, workers under-perform. Lack of communication is a common cause of employee frustration, but establishing firm lines of communication makes teams more efficient and team members feel more valued and confident.
Managers should check-in with staff regularly, even if only to verify that there are no urgent matters to discuss. Selecting the proper means of communication is also important. For instance, if there are no pressing updates, an instant message might suffice rather than a meeting. If a manager must pass on a great deal of important information, then a well-formatted email may be the best method.
A good leader sets standards for communication and models those behaviors for the team. Setting a professional tone in conversations and sharing information promptly encourages employees to follow suit.
7. Decision Making
The decisions a leader makes affect the rest of the team, and often, the company at large. Managers set the strategy for the team, settle disputes, and plot courses of action during crises. These leaders are responsible for choosing the most time-effective ways to complete projects while still ensuring the well-being of team members. Every decision must serve the business, the clients, and the team, and striking a balance can be tricky.
Managers must be able to project all potential outcomes and analyze options objectively. Good leaders do not only consider the immediate results, but also think about long term effects. Often, authority figures need to make quick and critical decisions with limited information. Knowing when to act and when to wait for more data is an essential team leader attribute. To gain the trust of colleagues, leaders must be able to explain their rationale and show confidence in their choices to gain the trust of colleagues.
Making choices is not an occasional occurrence, but a daily, recurring event. Leaders must develop the self-assurance and stamina needed to make constant choices, otherwise decision fatigue and doubt can take a toll.
8. Problem Solving
Problem solving is a crucial ability for any team leader, but falls under sales team management skills in particular. Clients often adhere to the axiom, “the customer is always right” or expect all companies to embody Burger King’s famous slogan, “have it your way.” As a result, leads request special accommodations and sales managers must strike a balance between satisfying the client while operating within the realm of possibility.
In an ideal situation, staff use good judgment to solve problems without managerial input, but realistically, most employees need to observe conflict resolution in action to identify the optimal approach. Plus, team leaders usually have more experience than teammates and exhibit the ability to consider issues from multiple perspectives, enabling them to choose more practical solutions.
9. Constructive Criticism
The ability to tactfully deliver constructive criticism is one of the most important performance management skills. Hearing feedback can make folks defensive, yet a skilled manager disarms recipients and delivers messages successfully.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the best employee evaluations are honest but not overly harsh. Instead of merely giving orders or advice, great feedback inspires reflection and experimentation.
HBR advises that the ideal formula for critiquing colleagues is:
- Mention the time and place when the behavior happened.
- Describe the behavior objectively, stating what you saw and heard.
- Note the thoughts, feelings, and consequences this action inspired.
Instead of passing judgment or saying “this was wrong,” good constructive criticism focuses on the effects of the action. The manager aims to both convey their perspective and understand the subject’s point of view, searching for a solution with the employee.
Also, while most managers focus on addressing flawed habits, recognizing and exploring positive performance is equally important. Not only does positive reinforcement make employees feel appreciated and make them more receptive to feedback, it also helps them understand which behaviors benefit the business.
For more feedback advice, check out our list of virtual one to one tips.
Leading a team requires more than a title. By expanding team management competencies, leaders build a toolkit capable of fixing any issue. Honing team leadership skills prevents problems and conflicts that cause delay and doubts.
The idea of a “born leader” is largely a myth. Most leaders mindfully develop expertise and abilities over time, either through practice or outside education. Either way, while some folks possess natural leadership inclinations, leadership is not a set quality or characteristic as much as an intentional action, and a repeated one at that.
FAQ: Team management skills
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about team management skills.
What are team management skills?
Team management skills are qualities and abilities that enable leaders to achieve group harmony and direct teams towards timely goals. Team management competencies include abilities such as problem solving, decision making, and boundary setting.
How do you assess team management skills?
One of the best ways to assess team management skills is to observe employee interactions within group settings. Most modern work requires collaboration and teamwork, and watching how individuals interact with colleagues can give a preview of how these workers will perform as managers.
Asking behavioral questions and presenting mock situations can be effective methods of assessing team management skills during interviews, while surveying a current manger’s team provides valuable insights into leadership style and effectiveness.
How do you improve team management skills?
One way to improve team management skills is to seek out leadership coaching. Leadership coaching is when professionals partner with a consultant to learn managerial skills and strategies and target critical areas of improvement.
Great leaders are constantly learning and improving through methods such as reading leadership books, asking for feedback, and seeking out mentors. However, most growth comes directly from experience. One of the best ways to improve team management competencies is to accept leadership roles and learn through trial and error.
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