The meaning of large is different for each leader, but attempt to manage a span of control of more than about 7 and it’s safe to say you’re leading a large team. How do you do it? This Monday Moment gives you the steps and specific guidance to not only lead the large team, but lead them well AND simultaneously keep your sanity!
Scheduled meetings as a group need to be a part of your regular regimen. These meetings could occur via conference call or go to meeting with web cam supporting the interaction or face to face in your own conference room. However, they occur, bring everyone together if you want everyone to stay on the same page. A fast way to create duplicate efforts and redundant work is to only bring the whole team together once in a blue moon. The effective leader conducts all team member meetings once a month or once a quarter, depending on the logistics involved and technology available for use.
As the leader of this large team, you guide the primary direction for employee actions and work. In the meeting of the entire group, you want to lay out the plan to reach the desired outcomes or goals. Those with initiative will then take the lead of their own individual productivity, but without clarity on your expectations, they may not do what you want them to do or by when. Share your expectations and then schedule times to follow up. Everyone operates better when they know the deadline.
Whether 7 or 17 is the size of your span of control, having meetings with each team member one on one is like gold. Open the conversations with a recap of progress or follow up on action steps and be sure to leave time for a simple connection. Leaders who meet one on one with each employee spot problems faster, proactively prevent future damage control, and make much more rapid progress toward each of their goals.
When you have a team that is large in size, the potential for team mutiny radically rises. An issue left unaddressed, an employee problem that you choose to ignore, could rapidly turn into fodder for gossip and create problems, much less cause you to work more. Address issues, problems, challenges and questions fast. Then solve them or set a boundary for continued discussion. The last thing a leader wants members of a large team to do is spend their time and focus on complaining about you or something you did or didn’t’ do.
No leader enjoys the burden of a too hectic constant pace or having egg on their face when that mayhem caused them to inadvertently drop a ball. The key to preventing these kinds of mistakes is to put people systems in place. People systems are simple guidelines for what happens or what do I do when. For example, if you’re on vacation, who’s in charge and of what? If an employee has a system question, who can they go to besides you? Is there a team member who’s an expert on that system and might not mind being the point person in addition to their other roles? The use of people systems is like delegation on steroids. They are informal roles assigned to those you lead that build their skills and keep you from being the only person who works 24 hours a day! Even leaders need a little time to play!
Step by step data is often what I search for when looking for “how to do something”. It is in this approach that we cut through the fluff and are able to easily accomplish stuff. Are there more steps you could take to be the successful leader of a large team? Of course, but start with these, check them off of your list and make them a routine and then we’ll move on to more and more advanced things!