Although you may be a successful business owner, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re a great team manager. As your business grows, so does the importance of managing the growing team. Regardless of how well your business is run otherwise if you can’t attract and keep top talent, it will be difficult for your business to continue growing in the future.
When managing big teams
From the moment the first employee comes on board, managing the team becomes a new, important, and increasingly valuable task for you as the owner. As the business grows, you’ll have more people to manage and more opportunity to prompt outstanding performances from the team. But there are also more possibilities for challenges to arise. The value of overcoming these challenges effectively and creating high-performing teams can’t be overstated.
At a recent conference, attendees with large teams shared their learnings and tips on how to manage larger teams. The key lessons include:
Maintaining a strong culture is essential
Creating a strong workplace culture (one that is consistently demonstrated by all staff and is aligned with the specific needs of the business) from the beginning ensures all your employees are exposed to this from the moment they come aboard your business. This helps set a precedent around expectations, behaviour, and performance.
Some of the ways the conference attendees achieved this included using online recognition platforms to acknowledge great behaviour in line with the culture and providing rewards for such well-aligned behaviour, such as overseas travel, weekly culture celebrations, and explicit culture-based training. One attendee even wrote a book about their business including its history, purpose, and culture, which was given to all their employees.
Focusing on the basics means nothing falls through the cracks
Simple management techniques like weekly team meetings, one-on-one meetings with employees, and providing consistent feedback and recognition are essential regardless of the size of your business. It’s important to focus on these basics even as your team grows. In some cases, it may be necessary to find new ways of maintaining these practices, such as using online communication tools to bring disparate teams together. This will help to keep all your employees engaged, feeling connected to your business’s purpose and on track to the plans of the business.
Training new managers effectively are crucial
At some point in the growth of your business, it will become clear that training needs to move beyond functional skills and personal development. As teams grow, you and your managers need to reach a new level of capability. The higher management standard needed for larger teams is due to increased complexities and risks which can arise in larger groups. And, as more layers of management are introduced, it’s important for all managers to be suitably capable of executing their roles.
For example, analytical rigour becomes important as teams grow. This is so managers can diagnose the team performance across the large group, analyse it, and plan accordingly. This approach helps managers get the best performance from their teams regardless of size.
Systems and specificity help maintain quality
As you become more removed from the daily operations of the business and entrust its performance to your managers, it’s essential to have systems and processes in place to maintain consistency and control. The larger the team, the more important this becomes. Furthermore, it’s essential for managers to be absolutely clear and specific when communicating with teams to ensure there is no room for miscommunication or mistakes.
This extends to internal training, which is an integral aspect of ongoing high performance. Systematic and high-quality training programs need to be developed and formalised to ensure employees develop in line with their aspirations and with the requirements of the business.
Having a large team is a sign of business success. However, it can present an enormous challenge and can even be the downfall of a business if that team isn’t managed properly. Taking these factors into consideration can help you to improve in your approach to managing a large team. And, if people-management isn’t your forte, consider hiring an experienced HR manager to help make sure this part of the business runs smoothly.
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