During COVID time, people work remotely due to city lockdown, and this brings lots of problems for all business, especially startup companies. For that reason, we need team leaders to motivate team members and keep the job done efficiently. This blog will provide some management tips during the hard time for a leader. The presentation file can be found here.
The way we manage and arrange tasks affects the outcome. Let take the example below: We work in a laundry with only a washing machine, a dryer, and an ironing machine. Each machine requires 2 hours to complete the job, and we have 3 customers coming at the same time. How long are all of them served?
If we serve 3 users sequentially, it would take 18 hours. But it will be only 10 hours, if we arrange the tasks like a pipeline.
So, don't work hard, work smart.
I am in charge of more than 10 people, and most of them are technical guys. They are very young and have great hard skills, but they are introverts! And my targets is to make them "stronger" in both hard and soft skills. I really want to see my team members confident and admired by other teams.
Ideas and Tips
1. Let team members feel comfortable
In COVID time, many things come, and the worst thing is Corona. This virus takes people down, which make our team members have more thing to deal with. So, just start the meeting or conversation with funny things. This will boost conversion and bonding in team. And don't end the meeting with negative situation, because people will feel unhappy and stress until the next meeting.
2. Encourage discussion and communication
With remote working condition, everything will go badly if people keep silent. As leaders, we should motivate our team members say something for a decent amount of time, e.g. at least 2 minutes, even if it is not related to work. This makes people open to share anything, then, we guide them to talk to the right problems. The final step is "speak as a king" - confident and persuasive.
3. Help team practice critical thinking
When team members are facing to a problems, don't show them the final solution when they ask for help. Showing them a solution will make a task done faster but a bunch of tasks done slower. Because leaders are the bottleneck, and team members just bring leaders more issues but not solutions. We need to guide our members how to solve their problems, and the method is asking open-ended questions. Unlike close-ended questions, whose answer is only yes or no, open-ended questions make people think. We ask, they think, they answer, we ask more, they think, they answer, they find their own solution. Leaders can guide team members to do 3 steps before they bring to leaders: Define problems carefully, Try to find some solutions, Try to choose a solution. If 3 steps are done, the conversation between leaders and members are more effective.
4. Invest to your team members
There are multiple types of investment, e.g. crypto, real estate, gold, and investing in people is never lost. We can pick a topic and assign to a team members, so they can present to each other weekly. We may need have some quick training, and help them prepare content or even slides. This is "one arrow, two target". The topic will be related to our tasks, and this provide knowledge for the team. Moreover, our members have to present it to small group of people. This help them practice public speaking and build their confidence. Finally, we can buy them some gifts like books and online courses as a reward for their effort.
5. Love your team members
People are not machines. If all members are opened to sharing with leaders, all messages will be delivered easily. Each person has their own journey, listen to their thoughts and try to find a way that benefits for both company and their career path. Leaders and members should have 1-on-1 meeting frequently to give feedbacks for each other. Don't solve the problems when having the result, try to prevent problems during the progress.
6. Keep every thing up-to-date
Sometimes, there are a lot of things to do, but no one knows what to do. Beside the goal for whole team, leaders should give a clear goal for each member and sync up status. There are some type of management styles. Two of them are macro-management and micro-management. We should use these styles flexibly. For new or junior members, micro-management will avoid confusing them and keep everything on track - no one lefts behind. However, experience or active members may prefer macro-management, which gives the room for members' growth and saves leaders' time.
7. Debut team members with your protection
Try to connect them with other teams. This help members improve their cross-function working and build friendships with others. If we build friendly channels among teams in our organization, all processes will save tremendous time. Moreover, we can also let our team member present something in company town hall. Don't speak for their achievement, let them show up. But if there are any issues, just protect them and make them feel safe and confident.
8. Marketing your team
One of big problems during stress time is human resource. Finding a suitable people for our team is a difficult task. But why finding? why not let people finding us? We can show our team achievement, how strong we are, our culture and hot topics on social network like LinkedIn. People will know our team gradually. It may be slowly, but if they reach us themselves, they love us.
This is my own experience and my management type. It may not fit all company culture, but I do it with my heart. I hope my team love the job and love me :v