In August 2018, Gallup reported a record high of 34% of the employee engagement in the US for the last two decades.  The organizational research shows that the increase in team engagement correlates with the quality of manager or team leader.

If you are currently managing a team, there may be times that you pause to reflect on how you handle your team. You know that managing people is always a two-way collaboration. If you expect your team to achieve your team’s objectives, they also expect you to be there paving the way.

There’s no one-size-fits-all type of management, and you need to discover your style that best suits for your team. Don’t ever strive to become a perfect manager because no one is. Just remember not to step into the minefield these three of the worst team management mistakes.

Lack of Trust

Most managers would say they trust their team, but their actions say otherwise. Lack of trust is quite apparent in micromanaging. If you agree on a milestone, believe that your team is capable of achieving it on their own. Constantly asking on how and when they do it is an obvious lack of trust. Trust that they will deliver and wait for the results. Schedule weekly meetings to know the current issues and collaborate in achieving a resolution. If you want to know the status without badgering your team, improve your project visibility by using project management tools.

Build trust by delegating authority to your team. Sometimes, doing it all yourself get things done faster. However, the small chunk of time spent on the things you can delegate could add up and eat your time. Delegating does not only lessen your workload but develops the abilities and leadership skills of your team. Document the process before delegating a task. Know when it’s time to be “hands-off” and better spend your time in more critical tasks.

Great teams trust each other, and that trust is well manifested by respecting the voice of every member. When somebody is not confident in speaking the truth, then you know it’s a signal of mistrust with you or with the team. In a Google study of their employee engagement, they found out that no one wants to put on a “work face” and leave part of his or her personality and inner life at home. When people feel “psychologically safe,” then they are comfortable sharing the truth and face the hard realities of work head-on.  If your team is just free to go to you and tell you directly that you are driving them nuts, without feeling fear, then be happy they can do that in front of you rather than stabbing you at the back.

Continue building trust by encouraging people to voice out their opinions and ideas. Assure them that their ideas are good for the team and it won’t be taken against them. Inculcate in your team a culture of trust and openness, where everybody feels safe in contributing ideas to achieve your goals.

To continually evolve trust in your team, strive to be consistent and objective all the time. Don’t play favoritism and be level-headed with your decisions. Reward the same commendable behaviors whether the person is a legend or a newbie. And don’t hesitate to point out something out of line when needed. Treat all your team members equally.

Lack of Proper Feedback Mechanism

Team management always involves giving and receiving feedback. If you allow your team to share ideas freely, then it’s fair that you do the same. An insincere appreciation or a sugar-coated performance evaluation lowers morale and demotivating.

As a manager, never miss an opportunity to give feedback. People feel valued when you do.

As a manager, it’s best that you view feedback as part of employees growth and development. Most would like to hear that they have done an excellent job and it is your responsibility, as the manager, to appreciate excellent job publicly and privately when they need to improve. However, do remember that public appreciation is great but the most effective reward of a job well done is done in a personal and face-to-face manner.

If there’s trust, your team values your opinion (no matter how direct it is sometimes). They know you care enough to tell them to straighten up. It’s not easy but be courageous enough in giving honest and sincere feedback. Always remember not to insult people and use uplifting words to motivate.

Your impact as the leader of your team is more effective when you decide to speak the truth, no matter how uncomfortable. It’s difficult, but people remember leaders who strive to live up to their values and dare to make difficult conversations to transform an individual or a team. Rest assured your courageous authenticity is something that will be appreciated.

Even with your hectic schedule, remember to check in with your team regularly. Have weekly and monthly meetings. Be sensitive enough to see who needs your attention. Make sure you spend time building connection with each member of your team. If not possible monthly, then schedule to meet individually every quarter.

Lack of Empathic Listening

Most managers are guilty of not having an authentic way of listening which is crucial in developing trust within a team. This concept is as simple as seeking to understand by seeing things from another person’s perspective.

There’s nothing more frustrating when a manager listens but don’t hear what the team is trying to say. Demanding from your team to deliver without acting on their concerns is one way to break their trust. Remind yourself that since your people are the ones who execute the processes or faces the customer, it is necessary to hear their inputs and recommendations.

Make it a habit of listening to your people attentively. Don’t hesitate to clarify things when something is not clear. When they ask for a meeting with you, be focused until you fully understand their views. Summarize in your own words their concerns to avoid miscommunication. In this way, they know you indeed hear them.

And one more thing, never assume that someone’s concern is similar to yours. When a female colleague whines being too busy and having no time to cook for her kids,  you will never fully comprehend why she needs to cook instead of just buying food if you are not a mother yourself.

Empathic listening doesn’t end by hearing your team. When you truly listen, be sure that you act. When you agree on an issue resolution, be sure that you follow through.

Closing Thoughts

Managing a team is a privilege given only to a few. According to Gallup, only about 1 in 10 people are naturally talented to manage. Whether your team management is inherent or acquired, it doesn’t matter. What matters is you care about your team, and you aim to develop a great one.

Sidd Pagidipati, a founder of several businesses, emphasizes involvement in hiring and not rely on recruitment agencies. Be sure that you hire people that you can trust. It’s the first step in developing a great team.

Developing people involves helping them grow not only as professionals but as individuals. Grow together with your team.  In success or failure, be at their back. And, in as much that you want them to enjoy work, they too want you to enjoy leading them.Managing them is part of your journey. Your team doesn’t expect you to be perfect. You may blunder from time to time, but a team who trust each other is always willing to understand and forgive.