Managing small teams can be relatively easy because there are usually fewer people to oversee and coordinate. However, managing a large team is extremely difficult. It is challenging to give each person the individual attention and focus that they desire and require. There may not seem to be enough time in the day to balance your work and team management simultaneously.
So, if you can effectively manage a large team, you can significantly impact the organization's growth. But going from managing a small group of specialists, perhaps two or three, to taking over leadership of a larger team with multiple specialties can be daunting.
However, every manager has to go through this at some point in their career. So it is essential to know how to go about managing large teams. This article will take you through a 7-step process that you can follow to manage large teams effectively.
So let’s get started.
Let’s have a look at the seven steps to managing a large team:
Connecting with each member of your team demonstrates that you value them. Consider scheduling one-on-one meetings with each of them regularly. With smaller teams, this may be weekly, but with larger teams, having an individual meeting bi-weekly or monthly can ensure you still hear their opinions and updates while still having time to manage your other responsibilities. These meetings can be useful in identifying potential managers or leaders among peers.
Building relationships with each person can also assist you in understanding their specific responsibilities. Understanding how each person contributes can help you create and adjust organizational strategies to improve overall performance and morale.
Delegating tasks is very important. It can help you manage the increased responsibilities of managing a large team. Delegate the small tasks to help you focus on the most important and highest priority tasks as a team leader. For instance, showing new employees how to use a system or describing the steps of a process is a good example of delegation.
As a team leader, you should prioritize your responsibilities and determine what you must do, such as manager performance reviews, and what you can delegate, such as report generation.
However, when delegating, always ensure you assign the appropriate tasks to the employees who can perform those tasks best. Delegating different tasks can help you determine who can take charge of new challenges and responsibilities successfully.
Requesting feedback is one way to improve communication and trust within a large group while also reflecting on your performance. Consider anonymous or open channels for people to provide feedback on their responsibilities, areas for improvement, or what they may require to perform better. If you want to use qualitative metrics, consider conducting regular employee surveys with scales ranging from 1 to 10 to determine where you need to improve.
More than simply gathering feedback, implementing changes based on it can help you earn your team's trust and demonstrate that you value their input. Though not all changes are feasible, you can communicate any progress on changes or acknowledge that you are researching potential changes. This can foster an open environment where people are encouraged to provide constructive feedback.
Independent working implies that your managers and employees are comfortable making decisions on their own while carrying out their responsibilities. Although open communication should be implemented, independency can help you manage your responsibilities as teams solve problems and think critically on their own. This can help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills and gain confidence.
While teams work independently, checking in with them to ensure they have everything they need to complete their tasks can be beneficial. This demonstrates that, while you trust them and their decisions, you also back them up even when they work independently.
Employees can learn from one another through mentorship while performing their duties. Collaboration and positive team relationships can be fostered when newer employees are paired with more experienced team members. You should have a small group of leaders who can help mentor team members, or you can try to pair employees so they can develop one-on-one relationships.
Consider instituting a formal mentorship program within your company. This implies that your mentors establish goals for their mentees and hold regular meetings to coach them on skill development and responsibilities. It can help mentors develop their leadership skills and encourage employees to set goals outside of their daily responsibilities.
As the size of your team grows, you may need to reconsider how you communicate. Though you may still have individual meetings with team members, consider providing options for your team to approach you or provide feedback daily.
For example, you could set up a virtual discussion board where anyone can ask you questions or communicate with one another. Open communication can help you build team trust and improve interpersonal relationships. Similarly, you must announce new initiatives, strategies, or results to the team. You can use this to create email distributions for everyone on the team to provide context for any updates and improvements.
Even if you've assembled the right team, it can be challenging to complete projects when you have more tasks than the team can handle. You may receive several time-sensitive requests from various clients. In such cases, you must identify and prioritize tasks accordingly.
Data is an excellent metric for making these decisions. This will allow you to ultimately provide real value to your stakeholders.
The type of industry your business is in should determine the approach you'll take to managing large teams. Some industries are more naturally suited to the aforementioned tips than others.
However, it is critical to understand that to create a thriving work environment, you must be patient, understanding, and willing to connect with your employees. Management can be challenging, but with some time and effort, you can figure out what system and tactics work best for managing people in your workplace.
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Mohit is an Engineer turned tech blogger. He loves diving deep into the tech space and has been doing it for the last 3 years. He calls himself a cinephile and plays badminton in his free time. For more information, you can connect with him on Linkedin or Instagram.
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