How to be the best team leader

Many people dream of managing a team of people one day. And there’ll come a day when you don’t just look after yourself every day. You’ll be hiring a team of people and you’ll have to look after them and keep them happy.

Managing a team of people is one of the most difficult parts of owning your own business. All of those personalities and individual needs can be extremely difficult to manage. Here are some tips on how you can become a better team leader.

Take some time off

As the manager of a team of people, it’s important that you take some time off to keep yourself feeling refreshed and interested in your work. And it’s as important that you encourage your team members to do the same. Because, let’s face it, you team members don’t need to be behind their desks all day, every day. Could you offer flextime? Remember, you’re hiring a team of adults, not children and they can be responsible for managing their own time. If one person is unhappy with their conditions, they’ll start chatting to their colleagues and soon that unhappiness will spread. Says motivational author and blogger Beth Ramsey: “A bad attitude from a chronic complaining employee is like a cancer; it will only spread and infect others. This can take your business down in a nanosecond. You must cut out the cancer and invite them to seek employment elsewhere. Quickly.”

Pay your team members a fair wage

Confucius famously said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That’s might have been fine for Confucius but your team members have bills to pay. Make sure they’re paid what they deserve and when you’ve promised to pay them.

Treat them like adults

Remember that your team members are not there just to do exactly what you ask of them. They’re not robots. They have friends and family they need to spend time with. They have homes which need maintenance, groceries which need to be bought, doctor’s appointments which need to be kept and errands which need to be completed. Give them time to complete their tasks and they won’t spend their days at their desks, worried about ticking these items off their to-do-lists. Former Xerox chief executive Anne M. Mulcahy says: “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” And if your team members tell you they want to go on staff training courses, believe them. Trust that they need and want the training and that it’ll be a good opportunity for them.

Know when to lead and when to step aside

The strongest leaders know they need to give their team members the opportunity to take the lead in their work. This allows them to really learn and push themselves. A good leader will know when it’s time to give their team members space and when to step in and assist. Nelson Mandela, former South African President, said: “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”