Many large companies, such as Microsoft and Apple, had modest beginnings that started with a close-knit group of people congregating in a garage to create a product they were passionate about. Then, after years of hard work and perseverance, these companies grew to become some of the most successful businesses in the world.
However, this rapid success wasn’t immune to countless hardships. One of the most difficult aspects of running a high-growth business is properly managing employees. As a business owner, manager, or team leader, it’s important to maintain a transparent management team before expanding. This includes outlining a clear trajectory or idea of where you want your team to be after expanding. Doing so will ensure your team is aligned and on the same page with each other in order to reach the company’s goals.
Below we discuss five different ways you can manage your growing team for ultimate success. Continue reading or use the links to learn about the best strategies leaders should use to manage their team.
Make an effective road map that is available to everyone
As your team begins to grow from a handful of members to dozens of employees, it’s crucial to have an effective road map in place that outlines objectives and the standards of each position. When introducing new members to the team, it can be difficult to keep tabs on the responsibilities and functions of the position. To ensure new members assimilate onto the team smoothly, a road map that outlines their role can be used by new hires and seasoned employees alike by serving as a reminder of the standards that should remain consistent while still expanding.
To create an effective road map, it must be accessible to everyone on the team. Accessibility will allow team members to use the road map to stay on track if they ever lose their momentum while delegating out tasks. When creating an effective road map for a team project, keep the following tips in mind:
- Have a direction: Roads are meant to get you from point A to point B. If you have no directions to reach your destination, you will never get to where you need to be. Having a discussion with your team on where you want to end up will allow everyone’s voices to be heard to reach common ground. Having direction will give employees a sense of purpose and focus that will motivate them to reach the end goal or objective.
- Define success: Properly defining success will help your team reach the objective. When defining success, never be vague. Instead, clearly state the schedule, budget, evaluation criteria, and tasks each team member must complete.
- Actions to take: Once your objectives are stated and guidelines are set in place, outlining the steps or actions your team needs to take is next. Doing so will give each member a succinct understanding of how to meet the objective.
Regroup and communicate
Information can be lost in translation when teams expand rapidly. Employees may become stressed and frustrated as more and more people are being hired. One of the most important qualities a leader should have is being communicative. A transparent leader who consistently communicates with employees will establish a sense of trust, resulting in a positive team culture.
To successfully lead your team, take time to regroup and communicate to allow employees to express their thoughts and ideas. To properly manage your team, you can try:
- Hosting weekly team meetings so members can collaborate with each other.
- Hosting individual meetings to ensure everyone is still able to hit their marks and be reminded of their responsibilities.
- Involving people in decision making to establish commitment and engagement.
- Providing rewards to give people a sense of purpose and recognition. Setting up weekly meetings will create time for people to suggest more efficient processes, new ideas, and potential plans for the future. Additionally, coming together as a team will provide support and establish camaraderie between each team member. This way, mini successes will be celebrated and people can be recognized for their hard work and dedication to the team.
Managers should create a clear ask for deliverables
Deliverables are a key aspect of every project and business. There can be product deliverables, which are the products and services of a company. Or, there can either be project deliverables, which are the tasks each member is responsible for in order for a project to be completed. When expanding a team, both types of deliverables should be clearly defined so each team member knows their responsibility. Additionally, as new people join the team, team leaders should be able to walk new hires through their daily tasks. Properly training new employees will align the team and produce more efficient results. To align new members, team leaders should slowly delegate small tasks out to new hires so they can begin to see how to entire process operates.
Not only should the types of deliverables be thoroughly explained to new hires, but they should also be properly documented. Documenting deliverables with assigned tasks and due dates to each employee will allow them to set goals for themselves while ensuring the project is completed on time. This will also allow you to organize the personal success of each employee. Staying organized and dedicating time to train new employees will help your expanding team work effortlessly together.
Be receptive to growing pains
Growing pains are inevitable for a business that is expanding. While growth is a sign of success, not taking care of the growing pains can escalate into a more harmful injury. By anticipating and being receptive to potential problems, you and your team will be able to tackle them head-on before they occur. Some of the most common growing pains companies face are:
- Not enough time: As a company expands, employees may begin to have more tasks on their plate. If employees are being dished more assignments than they can handle, they will begin to stress out. Actively hiring experienced professionals and delegating enough time for tasks to employees will ensure they remain satisfied and productive.
- Lack of integration: Companies have multiple teams comprised of specialists who work together to get the job done. However, if there no communication between existing departments, a divide can occur where teams work against each other, not for each other.
- Unproductive meetings: Meetings that become a waste of time will leave people feeling angry and confused. At every meeting, make sure each person knows why they’re there, what they need to do, and what decisions are being made. This will help the company move forward as it expands.
Team leads should have a strong follow-up
Growing a team can be chaotic but having a strong follow-up with each employee will make sure no work is lost or forgotten. During weekly meetings, refer to action points highlighted on the road map and encourage team leaders to schedule their own follow-ups with their fellow employees. It’s also important to remind team leaders not to micromanage, which adds unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation. In weekly meetings, team leads should always go over the strengths and weaknesses of each employee. However, meetings should always be positive with constructive criticism that helps the employee grow. This will keep each team member motivated and informed on what they need to accomplish in order to succeed.
The Bottom Line
Managing a growing team can be difficult. Starting with a small team that has been together since day one and expanding to a large team with new hires is stressful. However, staying positive during transition periods will ease the frustrations of you and your employees. Taking time to plan a road map, communicate with each team member, organize deliverables, handle growing pains, and following up with each employee will lead your business down the path to success.
Emily Banks is a Bay Area native who got tired of San Francisco’s cold beaches and decided to move to San Diego. She is currently the Editor for the HR section of a small business blog as well as a digital marketing strategist at Inseev Interactive. When she is not typing away on her keyboard, she can be found eating street tacos in the sunshine.