15 Team Management Skills To Have For Shift To Shift Success

October 21, 2019 by Jacey Lamb

team management skills for effective managersTeam management skills are crucial to run efficient and profitable shifts day to day. Sadly, many managers don’t see the value in these skills and neglect to practice them. Here’s one good reason to improve your team management skills - employee turnover. Poor management also leads to poor employee health, decreased productivity, reduced morale, and a damaged company reputation. Remember, employee’s don’t leave jobs, they leave poor managers. So, here’s 15 team management skills to focus on that will improve overall performance every shift! 

1. Effective Communication

The cornerstone of any business is quality communication between managers and employees. If communication is struggling - chances are so are sales, customer satisfaction, and employee morale. 

How to work on it: 

Learn your employees’ different communication styles and start tailoring your own communication to meet their individual needs. Wondering how to do this? Here’s a Guide for Effective Team Communication.

2. Navigation of Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations are bound to happen in your management career. Whether it involves letting someone go or performing a write up - it can get awkward. As a manager, you need to have confidence in your conversational skills to be successful. 

How to work on it: 

Have a game plan for common negative work related conversations - such as write ups. Write out (or think of) a few key points to use as a guide. Do your best to stay calm and keep the conversation slow and steady. Remember to actually listen and understand the other side. Always keep the goal of resolution in mind, as your main objective should be finding a solution to the problem. The more you practice preparation, the easier it will be!

3. Spotting Skill Sets

As a manager, one of your responsibilities is directing a team of employees to do the best job possible. In order to do this, you need to see what each of your employees are good at and make sure they’re in the right position. 

How to work on it: 

Keep communication frequent between you and your employees. Listen to their ideas and solutions, give them some authority to do their job in their own way. Recognize their strengths and give them tasks that align with what they’re great at. 

4. Proactive Problem Solving

Want a highly productive team? Then your mission as a manager and leader is to find and eliminate team problems before they fester.

How to work on it: 

The best way to seek out any potential team problems is to have weekly one on one meetings with each of your direct reports. That way you can hear about any problems and detect issues that your employees might be overlooking. Communication is key when it comes to problem solving.

5. Functionality

As a manager, you need to have a skillset that aligns with your industry. How can you effectively manage a retail store when you don’t know how to work the sales floor? How can you manage a restaurant when you don’t know the first thing about waiting tables? You need to have the basic skills of the industry to be an effective manager.

How to work on it: 

A good way to start is taking a class on leadership and management. The next step is to study and understand the roles of each position in your industry. After all, each and every employee is vital for your company's success. So learn exactly what needs to be done by each position, each shift. Lastly, communicate key tasks to all of your employees. 

6. Team Centered Mindset

Does the cliche “there’s no I in team” come to mind? While you may be the leader, you’re also part of the team. Always put the team’s needs before your own. This could mean picking up the slack for a late employee during a busy shift or going to bat when someone asks for a raise and you need to speak with one of your own managers get it approved. 

How to work on it: 

To have a team focused mindset - think of yourself as a team member before thinking of yourself as the manager or leader. Be willing to do things outside of your job for the sake of the team. Just because you have more power as a manager, doesn’t mean you’re better than your team members, aka employees. Remember - everyone starts from somewhere!

7. Strategic Thinking

Taking on tiny projects without thinking of overall strategy is frustrating for yourself and your team. The best managers understand bigger picture company goals and find ways to achieve them or work toward them each shift.

How to work on it: 

Take time to reflect on company goals and initiatives. These can be shift to shift short term goals, or long term. Then look at how you can improve or add to your current processes to help reach those main goals. That way employees are never doing mindless, pointless work. Everything is done with reasoning behind it. 

8. Adaptability

In any shift based industry like a restaurant, hotel, or retail store - things are always changing. As a manager and leader, it’s important to adapt to any changes in your business and keep the team steady.

How to work on it: 

Be optimistic toward change. If someone suggests leading team meetings in a new way, don’t shut it down. Consider the options and be open minded about a new way of doing things. The same goes for new company attendance rules, dress codes, or even just change because of seasonality. Be ready to adapt and keep your team going. A positive mindset is a successful mindset!

9. Respect

A good manager and leader will treat others with respect and kindness, even when employees disagree with something. You must show respect before you can be respected!

How to work on it: 

Instead of being defensive when an employee disagrees, ask them why. Respect their opinions, even if you disagree yourself. Remember everyone is entitled to their opinion, as long as everyone is being respectful.

10. Fairness

Favoritism is harmful to teams in any industry. If we’re being honest, of course there will be employees that you like more than others. Maybe some are much harder working or have never been late to a shift. But favoritism can actually demotivate your other employees and hurt your team. 

How to work on it: 

Create boundaries and keep your professionalism in check. Treat all employees equally - especially when it comes to disciplinary actions for attendance and other work related policies.

11. Confidence

A manager who lacks confidence will have a hard time getting employees to follow along. Understand your strengths and leverage them for success. Learn to be confident in your leadership abilities, so you can build a strong team of employees.

How to work on it: 

It’s usually a good idea to take a personality test like Myers-Briggs or DISC assessments. These help you understand your strengths and weaknesses so you can apply them to your job as a manager. Practice your manager skills every shift, and you’ll gain confidence in yourself quickly. 

12. Organization

Being a manager gets hectic, to say the least. But if you’re an unorganized manager……. That’s just a nightmare. Organization is essential to running efficient shifts. 

How to work on it: 

Set up systems for everything that feels cluttered. Messy desk? RTO requests on sticky notes everywhere? Organize your documents and get a filing system in place. Or, better yet - find a system that makes organization effortless. 

13. Vision

A great leader and manager has a clear vision and knows how to communicate it to employees. Getting caught up in day to day tasks that have no real long term impact only leaves employees feeling confused about their purpose. Afterall, employees are essential to any company - so they need to understand WHY.

How to work on it: 

Take a step back from your everyday routine and think about what your vision is. If you’re in middle management, it’s a good idea to meet with people above you to help you understand the big picture goals that you can contribute to. If you’re top management, write down a plan. Managing a company isn’t the right time to “wing it”, you need to pinpoint achievable goals and make a game plan.

14. Delegating Effectively 

No matter how great of a manager you are, you can’t do everything yourself. It’d be impossible and you’d never stop working! Micromanaging is also exhausting. Delegation is key to reaching big, long term goals. Plus, a little delegating can make shifts more productive all around!

How to work on it: Trust your employees and their abilities to complete tasks for you, so everyone wins. The goal is to build and manage a team, right? So starting acting like a team and help each other every shift!

15. Mediating 

As a manager, it’s inevitable that you’ll face difficult conversations and circumstances between two or more employees. When employees aren't getting along with each other, what do you do to resolve the issue? Being a good mediator is an often overlooked, yet incredibly important manager skill to have.

How to work on it: 

Learn how to be an effective manager AND mediator. Have one on ones with each employee to try to pinpoint the underlying problem. Once you do, have a meeting with both (or all the employees involved) and communicate. Talk through the issue and help your employees resolve it. Or, it could be the case you need to make some scheduling changes. Either way, communication is key - as always. 

As you can see - there’s so much more to being a great manager than simply telling employees what to do every shift. Focus on these 15 team management skills and you’ll become an effective manager in no time! 

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Jacey Lamb

Jacey is the Inbound Marketing Specialist for ShiftNote and is passionate about helping businesses grow. She loves all things digital marketing - especially social media. She makes sure to continue learning every day to build on her knowledge. Outside of her career, she enjoys going to the gym, eating delicious food, and spending time with friends and family (and pets, of course).