8 powerful tools to manage your team

Being a team manager is not an easy task. You do not become a manager overnight. In fact, the large number of tasks makes the manager role with an high level of complexity as said by Patrice Stern and Jean-Marc Schoettl:

Organize, decide, motivate, control and anticipate

Patrice Stern and Jean-Marc Schoettl, La boîte à outils du management (Dunod)

Moreover, during such a crisis and many companies require employees working from home. How to reinforce your team efficiency, improve your communication or even drive your business in accordance with your whole team?

You will find 8 simple and well-known tools which will allow you to be more efficient on a daily basis.

1. THE SMART METHOD

The SMART method allows to answer the following question here below:

How to convince your associate(s) to accept an objective?

The SMART method allows you to set goals in a very simple and clear way. This method will provide a huge commitment and stimulate your associate through an ambitious but achievable project.

Here below a little scheme because “One little picture says more than a long speech!”

Your objective has to be:

Objectif Smart English

2. DISC

The DISC tool allows to answer the following question here below:

How to effectively communicate with each associate?

The DISC tool will allow you to adapt your message depending on the behavior of each associate. The DISC tool is based on emotions and allows you to better understand how your associate find his energy, self-motivation and his answers regarding external pressures. Thus this method enables to decode our behaviors, interactions and the way we interact with others.

DISC identifies four main behavior styles: Dominant, Influent, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Each style has his own psychologic needs and specific values.

Disc English

Therefore, we should distinguish the different styles, recognize them for each associate and then adapt our communication based on the style of each one.

  1. The Dominant feels the need of taking decisions and achieving goals. He is leading by performance and responsability. He is sincere and frank but results are more important than feelings for him.

  2. On the opposite, the Stable, wants to be appreciated and accepted. Team work and discussion makes him motivated. He is tolerant but avoid saying “brutal” truths.

  3. The Influent feels the need to be recognized and congratulates for his job. Motivated by challenges and innovation, he is open, but could sometimes be less reliable.

  4. On the opposite, the Compliant needs especially to be safe and acquiring knowledge. Motivated by experience and expertise, he is reliable but wait to be solicited.

3. MASLOW PYRAMID

The Maslow pyramid allows to answer the following question here below:

How to motivate one of my associate?

The Maslow pyramid or “hierarchy of needs” is one of the most famous motivational theory in psychology. Initially stated in 1943 by Abraham Maslow, this theory was recently criticized due to the new generation of young people which is changing the game. The theory is often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid.

Pyramid Maslow English 1

simplypsychology.org

Maslow’s idea was that the achievements of these needs conduct to the motivation of the human being but it has to be in an hierarchical sequence which contains five steps. In other words, needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up.

Maslow looks at the complete physical, emotional, social, and intellectual qualities of an individual and how they impact on learning.

Applications of Maslow’s hierarchy theory to the work of the classroom teacher are obvious. Before a student’s cognitive needs can be met, they must first fulfill their basic physiological needs.

For example, a tired and hungry student will find it difficult to focus on learning. Students need to feel emotionally and physically safe and accepted within the classroom to progress and reach their full potential.

For many years, this theory was critized by psychologists that now conceptualize motivation as a pluralistic behavior, whereby needs can operate on many levels simultaneously. A person may be motivated by higher growth needs at the same time as lower level deficiency needs (Wahba & Bridwell, 1973).

However, during such a crisis like the covid-19/Coronavirus, we can recognize that people are running through supermarket in order to stockpile food at home which could be interpreted as the first physiological need. Also, they have and want to stay home all time. Again, that could interpreted as the fullfillment of the safety needs, and so on.

If we transpose this hierarchical vision of needs to the professional side, it creates the following representation:

Pyramid Maslow Work

Up to each manager to make sure the fulfillment of these needs in order to have fully motivated associates at work!

4. THE DEMING WHEEL

The Deming wheel allows to answer the following question here below:

How to continuously improve my
product/organization/communication/quality/business etc.?

The Deming wheel or PDCA method (Plan, Do, Check, Act) was created by William Edwards Deming.

This concept describes a Plan-Do-Check-Act wheel management model suggested by Deming. The model is used by companies to provide a systematic approach to achieving continuous improvement.

The Deming circle is a quality control program. It is a plan for management. Four steps: Design it, make it, sell it, [and] then test it in service. Repeat the four steps, over and over …

W. Edwards Deming quoted by The United States General Accounting Office, 1981

This looping model based on the principles of continuous process improvement includes four steps:

Pdca

medium.com

  1. Plan: plan ahead for change. Analyze and predict the results.

  2. Do: execute the plan, taking small steps in controlled circumstances.

  3. Check: check, study the results.

  4. Act: take action to standardize or improve the process.

5. THE EISENHOWER MATRIX

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important

Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th US President (1953-1961)

The Eisenhower matrix allows to answer the following question here below:

Which task should I do right now and which one next week?
What should I devolve to my team?

This quote from US former President Eisenhower seems to be at the origin of the creation of one of the simplest but most powerful organisational matrix. This matrix classifies tasks depending on urgency and importance.

Eisenhower Matrix

luxafor.com

As a manager, you have to organize and prioritize the tasks you have to do. In fact, stop doing non-important and non-urgent things and particularly, trust your team by delegating some urgent but less important tasks!

To delegate some work will increase the involvement and the understanding of your associates through your own work. It will guarantee respect from them, but, obviously, you should not abuse of that…

6. SWOT MATRIX

The SWOT matrix allows to answer the following question here below:

How to take a strategic decision?

The SWOT matrix give us the opportunity to better understand the situation and the environment of the company, product, service, etc. In fact, it is very helpful once you want to draw up the balance sheet of the strenghts, weaknesses, threats and opportunities in order to take a strategic decision!

Swot Matrix

marketing91.com

The strengths and weaknesses are often from internal origins, while opportunities and threats often come from external origins. SWOT is an acronym of the first four parameters :

  • Strengths : characteristics of the business or project that give an advantage over others

  • Weaknesses : characteristics of the business that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others

  • Opportunities  : elements in the environment that the business or project could exploit to its advantage

  • Threats : elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project

What is the relation with your associates team?

As a matter of fact, using this tool with your team could be very useful. Indeed, the contribution of your team to create such a matrix will make it even more precise and useful because every single person in your team is different, therefore the diversity of their opinions will make it right! Moreover, you can also apply this matrix to analyze your own team. In fact, it could be very intersting and useful to determine the strengths, weaknesses, theats and opportunities of your own team in order to improve it!

7. SHARED CALENDAR

The shared calendar allows to answer the following question here below:

What is the schedule of my associate this week?
Is my manager available Wednesday at 10AM?

The shared calendar is probably the simplest tool here presented, however it is certainly the most useful tool on a daily basis.

The shared calendar saves time and increases productivty inside a team. You will no longer need to exchange emails (which regard the schedule/planning), this tool shows in one-click the availabity of each of your associate in order to plan a meeting or follow the schedule.

Partage Calendrier 1

hoangquangdao.wordpress.com

8. ACTIVE LISTENING

The active listening allows to answer the following question here below:

How to respond to an associate which faces troubles?

Probably not the first tool we would expect but really powerful, though! Indeed, active listening is a real tool that has to be learn and practice in order to master it. Once you got it, it will give you the opportunity to better understand your associates’ problems. In addition to that, you will be able to make your associate feels safe once he decided to share his troubles with you.

The golden rule for a good active listening is to spend as much time talking as listening!

Ecoute Active

shutterstock.com

Several steps to keep in mind in order to do an efficient active listening:

  1. Listening: let the other person speak with empathy

  2. The clarification: ask him (her) questions

  3. The investigation: deepen the thought of your interlocutor

  4. The reformulation: make sure you are on the same page

CONCLUSION

You are finally at the conclusion! you made it! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

The 8 tools presented above are well-know and recognized by the most famous management experts around the world.
Unfortunately, sometimes we forgot them but it’s always good to keep them in mind since they give us the opportunity to make better choices with less risks, organize our time and ressources or even understand better our associates. A good manager is someone that has to master all these tasks at the same time and that’s why it’s always good to have little tools that help us on a daily basis.

During such a crisis (covid-19), it’s the right time to strengthen our usage of these tools in order to adapt ourselves and our organisation very quickly!

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Julien Mendez

27 years old entrepreneur engineer and passionate by finance, economy and business development.

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