Updated: Dec 30, 2020
As entrepreneurs, we all know that efficiently managing your team inevitably impacts your business for the better. There are common bits of wisdom about team management and leadership that are important to consider. Building a great team is a necessity. You have to be a firm and fearless leader! You have to be able to give constructive criticism without deteriorating morale.
There are many books and manifests available about managing teams. Still, many of them fail to acknowledge that you are the very first member of your team and that managing yourself is the first and most critical part of the process. If you aren't considering how to manage yourself, your team-building efforts will continually falter, because your team members' direction and productivity stem from you––particularly on a small team. If you've never led a team before, it can be a bit difficult to know where to start, but here are three tips to consider.
1. Pick Great People for the Right Roles
The most critical step in management is selecting the right people to do the right things. Sometimes, you may meet a candidate or potential team member that you love. They are phenomenal at the administrative organization, but if you slot that person as your social media director, chances are, they will fall flat.
It doesn't mean that they can't have the potential to be an amazing and competent team member, but you have to have enough foresight in your management strategy to play to their strengths. Especially when it comes to onboarding individuals, and that goes for ourselves too. Don't involve yourself in activities and duties that you're not good at if you have another team member who excels in that area. Managing yourself as a part of your team means playing on your strengths and delegating through your weaknesses. Upwork and Indeed are excellent (free or low-cost) platforms that you can use as you build your team.
2. Build Your Team Into Your To-do List
A lot of entrepreneurs are taskmasters. You find yourself building out your personal to-do lists, and you frequently entangle them with your business to-dos. But when you're making your to-do list, think about the to-do lists of your various team members. Are there any outstanding team tasks that need your input?
Is there anyone who needs to receive something from you to cross something off their list? Be sure to factor your team into your personal to-do list, by organizing your time and prioritize the tasks you need to do first so that your team can efficiently collaborate while you tackle the rest of your list. Platforms like Trello are great for helping stay on top of who needs to do what to push tasks along.
3. Ask For Feedback From Your Team Quarterly
Sometimes we inevitably think we're doing a great job and crushing it, only to find out that actually, we were a little slow getting our critical part of a project completed, or we missed the mark in terms of explaining a task. Managing yourself as a part of your team means asking your team members to let you know where you're helping them move forward and where you could offer better direction and leadership.
Don't take what you perceive as unfavorable to heart. If your team members trust you enough to share constructive criticism with you, you're doing a great job. And your team will be all the better for it. But make sure you listen and attempt to implement changes based on the feedback, or else this will be just an empty exercise.
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Khadijah Robinson is the founder of theNileList.com, on TW/FB/IG at @theNileList. The Nile is a digital platform connecting consumers with Black-owned brands online. She is also a graduate of Spelman College and Harvard Law School, who practices law in Washington, DC, in addition to being a founder.