When I take over a team or start a new team from scratch, I always want to make my management goals very clear from the beginning. These are general overarching goals, not the specific revenue, profit, and other KPI targets we will focus on hitting. While there are many goals I could mention, I try to keep to three themes that are immediately understood by everyone:
I remember a conversation I had with a friend many years ago in New York City. My friend said to me, “I hate my job, some days I wish my subway train would crash, so I wouldn’t have to go to work.” Yikes – if that’s how you feel you probably need to find another job, but first it might be worth having a chat with your manager.
As a manager, I want my team to be happy and excited about work. I don’t expect every day to be a party, but I do hope that my team has an overall feeling that their workplace is fun and happy. I believe this makes for a more productive team that is going to execute better and close more deals as both potential and existing clients sense that fun/happy vibe and want to be a part of it.
How do you ensure that your team is having fun? You have to drive some of that as a manager by:
Hiring happy people – Don’t hire someone who does not seem energetic and happy in their interview, their demeanor is not likely to change once they start working for you.
Make time for fun – 30-60 minutes every week should be dedicated to a fun activity whether that is games at the office or just walk around the neighborhood to get ice cream. It doesn’t have to be some huge event, but just a consistent time for the team to feel like they’re not at work.
Be a happy manager – You and your team will have hard times at work and in your personal lives, as a manager, you have to push through and keep the mood upbeat.
“The day you stop learning is the day you stop living” ~ Albert Einstein
I’m a big believer in the above quote and want to make sure my team is alway learning. This learning serves several purposes, but I’ll highlight two:
Staying on top of industry trends and techniques – I want my team to be the best at what they do and considering the world is moving faster than ever your team will have to be reading and attending conferences to stay on top of all the changes.
Personal growth – I want my team to feel that they are building a future at our company. I also want them to feel that if things go bad at the company, they will walk away with a great resume and experience.
How do you make sure your team is learning. Again I believe you have to designate time for it. Make sure your team has 2 – 5 hours a week for learning. This time can be formal training, reading (you should have a means for your team to share relevant articles and books), webinars, etc. I also make sure that each team member can get to at least one conference a year if budget allows. I think it is important for even lower level employees to have that opportunity. A conference can show them the much wider world of opportunity within the industry and also give them a lot of confidence.
At the end of the day, this is a for-profit enterprise, and we have to hit our targets and grow. Results tie the learning and having fun theme together because you could be learning a new sport and having fun with your friends on the team, but if you never win it can end up being a negative experience. How you get results is a large topic, and I’m not going to explore it in this blog post, but suffice it to say I’m a big believer in goal setting and prioritizing ruthlessly with those goals in mind.
Managing a team is not easy, but laying out some goals to set expectations for yourself and your team is a great first step in becoming a successful manager.