One of the challenges of being a manager (especially if you’re in middle management) is how you lead to what your people need in their working life and what the business needs from your team.
You might have heard of this concept as Leading to Team (which fits nicely with our view of always ‘thinking and acting human first’ in any organisation).
Leading to Team.
A deliberate oversimplification of what Leading to Team means is
…looking at your people and ensuring there is clarity in the ways the team work, recognition of an individual’s needs and assigning them work that is complimentary to the goals of the organisation.– Quantum Hr
You’ll also juggle hats when Leading to Team – such as being a:
- Manager (assigning work and ensuring it is in service of the organisation)
- Coach (knowing your people and helping them be their best)
- Counsellor (helping your people ‘be’ human at work)
- Lawyer (being aware of the laws around workplace employment and safety)
- Cat herder (this last one is made up…. but it sure feels like that sometimes right!?)
If you have already taken a reflective look at your own management style and practices (see our article here), you will already be considering ways to Lead Yourself first – which is a pivotal first step before you start to lead a team. 
We recognise from there, that there are many factors to consider when leading a team.
The following are the NINE KEY ways we know can help.
Nine ways to Lead a Team
1- Develop capability
- Coach your people often
- Provide even a simple development plan each year
- Use Job Descriptions as living documents for what is important, not as a standard operating procedure
2- Keep people in ‘flow’
There are numerous ‘flow models’ in existence, but in this context it means ensuring your individual team members:
- Know who they are (We know their current competencies)
- Can see who we want them to be (Their future Competencies)
- And are engaged with their work (Are flowing smoothly in their work)
Special thanks to James Bryant for some insights he brought to this particular model! You can visit him here to see more if interested.
3- Assign work in a S.M.A.R.T way
See our article here for what S.M.A.R.T means in practice.
4- Assess work outputs
- Be aware of the strategic direction of the Company
- Assign work / tasks to support this
- Assess outputs are on track
5- Recognise individual needs
Team members will have different needs if at different stages of the ‘employee lifecycle’.
- For example, a new team member will need more transactional support vs. an experienced team member who might need more room to grow (and fail safely).
6- Identify the seats ‘on the team-bus’
…. and who is best to sit in them
- Define the Role (and what it needs)
- Define the Person (will an individual under the spotlight fit that Role)?
- Use Job Descriptions for this (again, not as a ‘standard operating procedure’)
7- Encourage communication and ‘mini-Purposes’
- How do team members receive and communicate information?
- How do they use this to solve problems, share information, generate ideas, give and get advice and complete tasks?
- Help team members understand why their team exists (and their group role) in achieving organisational goals.
8- Align rewards to the person
Does the team member value the reward? For example, will money, a gift of similar value or Employee Of the Month meet their ‘value needs’?
- These can be formal, informal or even simple feedback.
9- Provide regular feedback
Coaching can often redirect an employee’s ‘negative performance’ before any real issues arise. Keep it:
- Informal (and keep a short note if it becomes a persistent issue)
- Address specific and undesirable behaviours.
- Do it at the time or very soon after
- Do it often
And a Final thought
Being a manager means you’ll fail from time to time, especially as you’re only human and you too are relying on your manager to be leading you.
The difference between the average manager and the *great* manager is the great ones always pick themselves up after a fall – having learned a valuable lesson for the next time.– a #robservation
And remember, you’ve got this!
And if it’s all still confusing?
If you need help or have a sense this might be a future issue for you and your business, please click the link below and we’ll be happy to speak to you about any ideas this article has raised for you (or your team).
 A friendly reminder that ‘leading-self reflections’ never end -especially if you are on your journey towards being a level 5 leader (read the Jim Collins article here).