Small businesses are the bread and butter of most economies around the world, which means there are a lot of small, mighty teams working together each and every day.
Teams with few members run a little differently than large, corporate teams. They’re intricate and tight-knit, so it’s important to understand their ins and outs.
Managers can struggle with leading their small teams for a number of reasons — that’s why we’ve put together five tips to effectively run a small team.
1. Have clear communication
Small teams always have a lot going on. Each team member juggles many different tasks and projects at once — and often wears many different hats.
Whether you’re managing a team of two or 100, executives need to be clear about tasks and priorities so that everyone understands what’s required of them. According to Project Insight, if top managers are not clear on priorities, then a domino effect occurs and the entire team is unclear about which tasks are the most important, what should be prioritized, and more. The result? Most team members end up being overloaded, which can lead to frustration and discouragement.
Having biweekly one-on-one meetings with your subordinates as well as team-wide meetings is a great way to foster communication and embrace clarity. One of the advantages of a small team is that you can get the whole company together in one room to discuss important matters.
Let your subordinates know that they can ask you anything that is unclear to them. Your team needs to be comfortable communicating with you about projects — be it good or bad.
2. Provide your teams with everything they need
Full-time workers spend at least one-third of their day at the office every day of the work week. Make the workplace as comfortable as possible. The environment should be inviting, friendly, and equipped with the tools they need to do their jobs. You should provide them with refreshments as well.
Besides the tangibles, career-development courses and conferences should be available for employees. When teammates feel that they’re cared for and their needs are met, they’ll be much more productive.
To support your employees’ desire to develop and grow, help them create personal development and growth plans for the year. Here are some other things you can do to make your coworkers feel comfortable at the workplace: offer an innovative learning experience, map out benefits, take on mentees and train mentors, and organize team-building activities.
3. Hold your team accountable
As Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
Making sure your team is held accountable for their wins, losses, and mistakes is of the utmost importance in running an effective small team. Accountable employees take responsibility for their actions, meet job expectations, and complete daily tasks.
It’s important that every member of your team understands their responsibilities, the goals you’re trying to achieve, and how they contribute to the success of the organization. A great way to ensure your team members are holding themselves accountable is to set clear expectations and communicate problems. Being open and transparent will solidify your relationships and garner more respect from your team.
4. Be generous with recognition and selective with praise
Recognition and praise are two very different animals. Recognition is when you acknowledge what someone has done. It’s vital to be generous with recognition and give teammates credit where deserved. Make sure to acknowledge each person’s contribution to the project’s success. No one appreciates a boss who takes all the credit.
On the other hand, praise should be given only when someone really knocks an idea or project out of the park. If you praise employees too much when their work is mediocre, then the bar will be set lower than desired and they won’t know any better. It may also boost egos too much and give employees an air of cockiness.
According to Huffpost and public opinion research, many employees value gratitude and kindness over money at their workplace. Everyone wants to be appreciated. When people see that their boss recognizes their efforts, they appreciate it and enjoy their jobs much more.
5. Support work-life balance programs
Having a life outside of work is key to having happy employees.
The trick is to ensure that your employees not only complete their tasks but also have sufficient time to rest. Schedule your team’s work so that everyone can go home on time. Time-tracking apps and other tools that optimize productivity can help you organize the workflow so that nobody feels like they’re being overworked.
Use these five tips, and you’ll be on your way to running an effective small team.