11 ways to build and manage a great team

Ashok Kannan, President IT, Sintex Industries, suggests strategies to create an effective, engaging and more productive team.

Of the 24 years Ashok Kannan has spent in IT management, 20 have been spent in building his expertise in SAP.  An assertive leader, Ashok is constantly looking for ways to drive performance and better manage his team. Here he lists out some proven team building strategies.

1. Lead by example
“It’s very important that a leader lead by example. You should showcase whatever skills or qualities you expect from your team. At no point should you give the team a reason to question your commitment. When you’re a senior executive, you need to be more of a leader and less of a manager.”

2. Have an emotional touch
“Remember that you’re dealing with human beings, not machines. That difference should be very clear. So have an emotional touch when allocating work and following up. Be empathetic towards the team and always promote the individual’s as well as the team’s interests. This will help them perform and reach the next level. It’s especially important to nurture individual performances to boost the team’s performance level. That way you are moulding them into the next set of IT leaders and CIOs. You need to keep these elements in mind for successful teamwork.”

3. Build a personal rapport
“Your team members are human beings not machines, which means a personal understanding of every individual is very critical for their success as well as for the overall success of the team. As far as possible meet all your team members face to face. Accessibility is key. Whenever there’s virtual leadership have video conferences. Slot personal meetings one a month, or twice a month as required, depending on the circumstances. This is very critical for better team building.”

4. Different situations require a different style of leadership
“It’s important a CIO know what style of leadership is required when. Suppose there’s a fire somewhere. You’re a democratic leader, but democratically you cannot control the situation. At that moment you have to be autocratic and start giving orders. It’s a ‘follow me’ type of leadership. So there will be scenarios that will require you to adapt and change your leadership style. Be ready for these. There are hundreds of types of leadership. You have to judge what is required when.”

5. Delegation is key to success
“Through delegation you are developing an individual as well as building a stronger team. Once you train a person how to do the work, you can also train the person on how to get the work done from others. That way you’ve taken the person’s growth to the next level. And you’ve started grooming a team leader. Those leaders who position themselves as individual performers are not doing right by their organisation. You see this most often in politics, but sometimes also in the corporate world. After the person is gone, the entire organisation crumbles. That’s to be avoided. Still there are some people who practice individual excellence, which is very unfortunate. But we have to learn from them on what not to do.”

6. Avoid micro managing
“Delegating doesn’t mean you step away completely. You should keep yourself on top of things and monitor the situation/project. Sometimes there’s need for close monitoring, and in exceptional cases you might need to micro manage. But try to avoid micro managing as far as possible. Mostly your team should operate on a trust basis, so that the next level of leadership is ready. And they in turn will build the next level, and so on.”

7. Learn what motivates your team members
“People have different levels of motivation. Use Maslow’s Hierarchy and identify the motivating factors in your team members. Are they looking for more money? Or more recognition? Or other non-monetary benefits? So a needs analysis is important. Then accordingly come up with the right strategy to motivate the person.”

8. Pay attention to attitude
“When hiring, look for someone who has the right attitude rather than all the technical skills required. Hiring someone is always partly a gamble, so at least if you’ve got the attitude right then half the battle is won. The technical skills can always be taught and built upon, but personality won’t change.”

9. Have a vision
“It’s important leaders have a vision; otherwise they aren’t likely to get far. You have to have a vision for whatever task you are managing. Based on the vision the team will have individual objectives that will zero in on the goal set out.”

10. Train your team regularly
“Set training schedules for one or two days every two to three months; include additional skills as well as on the job training. Continuous training is very important for growth. Once a person has been successful in a particular role then alternative/innovative skills and responsibilities can be added. Training can also be used to increase the productivity of someone who is lagging behind. Training for technical, personality-related, and motivation-related skills should be given at least once every quarter, as well as informally on the job. Most people want to learn new things. It’s a motivator, so CIOs should capitalise on this aspect.”

11. Be a coach not a teacher
“Most leaders know how to be teachers, not coaches. They are unable to see the difference. A coach is someone who enables another to do things, who brings out hidden talent. He/she is someone who will help you realise your potential and help you become the best version of yourself. A coach doesn’t just show you one particular path to your goal, but rather an idea of how to reach there; the path you choose is dependent on what you’re good at. Coaching is like an art, and CIOs should train themselves on how to coach so that they can improve individual performance as well as boost productivity.” 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


  • Posted: November 29, 2016 05:32

    K Ashok

    Please share the full article
  • Posted: November 29, 2016 10:17

    Dhananjay Mori

    Nice article sir.. worth reading....

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