Managing a team can be a lot like raising a puppy. Both require patience, dedication, and a lot of hard work, but the end result is a loyal, productive team or dog that can accomplish great things. I’m running on two hours of sleep this morning due to my own new puppy, so bear with me.
When you first bring a team on board or you first get assigned a team to manage or lead, it can be like bringing a new puppy into your home. You are excited and eager to get started, but you soon realize that there is a lot of work to be done. Just like when a puppy has no idea what is expected of them, a team may not understand their roles and responsibilities.
One of the first things you need to do when managing a team is to establish roles and responsibilities. This is no different from setting rules and boundaries for a puppy. You need to let them know what is expected of them and what their job responsibilities are. This includes things like project commitments, team working agreements and performance expectations.
In order for your new team to understand their roles and responsibilities, it is important to be consistent and to use clear communication. This means clearly explaining the expectations and providing regular updates on progress, rather than leaving your team guessing. Just like with a puppy, it is important to encourage and praise good behavior, rather than focusing on the negative. Negativity in either situation breeds more negativity, and that is not what you want in the office or in the house.
Just like with a puppy, guiding your new team takes time and patience. It is not something that can be done overnight. You need to be consistent and to spend time with your team every day, teaching them new skills and reinforcing the roles and responsibilities that you have established. Dogs want strong leaders to follow and so do employees in most cases.
One of the most important things when managing a team is to be patient. This is also true when raising a puppy. It takes time for a new team to understand their roles and responsibilities, just like it takes time for a puppy to learn and understand what is expected of them.
Another important aspect of managing a team is to provide them with the right resources. This includes things like providing them with the necessary tools, equipment, and software to perform their jobs effectively. This is similar to providing a puppy with the right environment, including a comfortable bed, plenty of toys to play with, and access to food and water.
Finally, when managing a team, you need to be prepared for unexpected challenges. Just like with a puppy, things may not always go as planned. A team member may struggle with a certain task, or there may be communication breakdowns. It is important to be flexible and to adjust your management plan as needed.
By establishing roles and responsibilities, using clear communication, being consistent and patient, providing the right resources and being prepared for unexpected challenges, you will be able to successfully manage a team. Just like how patience, dedication and discipline can really pay off when raising a puppy, any team can reach their potential given the right inputs. You just have to be vigilant.