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Key lessons I have learnt about successfully managing teams

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Over the years I have both led and been part of some incredibly successful teams. All of these teams, although very different, have taught me some key lessons about effective management.

I was lucky enough to learn about management styles from a young age. When I was growing up, I worked in my family business and observed first-hand how my grandparents and parents were able to successfully manage a wide range of people of various ages, backgrounds and personalities.

When I left university, I secured a place on a graduate management training scheme and it was here that I received some of the best textbook management training of my career.

When I was released as a manager, brimming with management speak and ideas, I used all the knowledge I had gained to start managing my own teams.

The biggest lesson I learnt very early on is that having a shiny ‘managers’ badge and reams of textbook management training, whilst assisting you in your journey, simply can’t replace instinct and the fact that you are dealing with people and the complexities that surrounds them.

The experience I gained in my early management career helped shaped me into the manager I am today.

The best way to learn is by making mistakes

I like to think that over the years I have developed a positive management style (although you would have to ask the people I have managed). Although my management training has been valuable, the biggest lessons I have learnt have been by making mistakes in day to day ‘real-life’ management situations.

A key lesson I have learnt throughout my experience managing teams with differing ages, cultures, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds is that people appreciate and respond to consistency and fairness.

Here are some other key lessons I have learnt throughout my management career:  

1. Treat people with respect

No matter where they stand in the corporate hierarchy, everyone in my business is valuable and equally deserving of respect. I always ensure I am as friendly and courteous to the office cleaner as I am to the MD.

2. Give individuals specific tasks and goals bearing their skillsets and strengths in mind

Often managers focus on developing employees’ weaknesses, but in my experience people are far more successful when they instead focus on developing their strengths.

3. Set clear objectives, share what the end goal is and stress how important every individual in the team is in achieving this.

People want to know what they are working towards and feel that they are making an impact.

4. Create a safe, open environment

Enable people to share ideas without fear of being 'laughed at'. 

5. Build a diverse team, not mirror images of yourself

To create an inclusive, forward thinking team. 

6. Above all make it fun

And remember to praise people when credit is due and give the team the recognition they deserve. 

7. As a Manager, offer fair, strong leadership

Be loyal to your team members and they will return their loyalty and commitment to achieving the end goal.

No matter how good you are as a manager, a high performing team can only be successful due to the sum of the people in that team. When a team achieves this level of performance, what can be achieved is limitless.

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