Managing change in team leadership

What many managers miss when they take on leading is that a team of people takes on a life of its own, quite distinct from the one on one relationships that random groups of people have. And it’s at this point that many managers suddenly feel as the spider must feel when too many flies land on the web at once!

And you’ve got your own job to do, too! It’s almost as if the skills that have served you well in managing yourself and your work, and maybe in managing one or two other people, have suddenly deserted you. Don’t worry, they haven’t – but what you have missed is that there’s been a ‘state change’ in your business.

When a team reaches a certain size it begins to have a dynamic of its own. You can no longer sit in the middle of the web and manage the individuals. If you try, it’ll be a recipe for chaos and stress. You’ll also permanently restrict the capacity of your business to grow, as you simply can’t manage more than a certain number of people this way.

Some conversations are better held as a team. Questions like:

  • What are the basic groundrules around here?
  • How should we run our meetings?
  • What are our values?
  • What behaviour is and isn’t acceptable between us?
  • Who is accountable for what and to whom?
  • What does it actually mean to ‘be accountable’ anyway?

These are all conversations which you and the team should hold together. Negotiate the rules and thrash out solutions which work for everybody. That way everybody takes ownership of the groundrules and the behaviour, and you no longer need to pull the strings. Your role changes, freeing you up to do the things you know you need to do to grow your business.

Team leadership challenges

What do you want your team to achieve?