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Top 7 Tips for a Project Manager to Make a Dream Team

An effective team is several people who work on a project that is interesting to them. They constantly develop and achieve results not only “in the interests of the company” but also in their own. To build such an effective team, you need a leader. This is what he should be.

To Be or Seem to Be

To be a strict boss and only then make friends is better than to be a friend and then start behaving like one. A supervisor should be fair and considerate of his team. The team’s respect for the supervisor doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s necessary to be at a distance and to respect the chain of command.

Onboarding

It’s important to do onboarding for new team members. It’s divided into two parts, preferably on the same day. This is so that the manager knows what the new employee has and has not been told about.

The first part: onboarding by HR.

  • Sign documents, give out passes, show the workplace and equipment.
  • Give the employee a tour of the office and introducing him to his colleagues;
  • Tell them about the company, their cases and current projects.
  • Show how a coffee machine works and how to make a frothy cappuccino.
  • Tell them when and how their paycheck is paid.
  • Share information about in-house activities, such as team-building events, Friday night get-togethers or participation in annual marathons.
  • Outline the number of vacation days, from whom to coordinate dates, and how many days to write a vacation request.

Second part: onboarding by the supervisor.

  • Introduce the newcomer to the team.
  • Tell them who they can talk to and what questions they can ask.
  • Immerse your colleague in the details of the project: what the project is, what stage the project is at, what has already been done, what tasks need to be done in the future, how long the sprint is.
  • Give access to all the workspaces and explain how to use the software if the employee has not worked with it before.
  • Tell how the work processes are set up (task setting, status letters, reporting, time recording, etc.).
  • During the first two months of a new team member’s employment, meet with him once every couple of weeks to discuss one-on-one how the employee is adapting within the company.

Safe Space

Often a team is chosen by a manager so that everyone has a certain mindset and character, although this can be difficult to put into practice. Such a team will be in what is called Safe space, where there is trust and respect for each other. This helps to prevent toxicity in the team and create a cozy microclimate. The manager needs to understand people and whether they can work on his team or not. In such a team, no one will blame you for betting via the best sportsbook or playing mobile games during your lunch break. 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work with an already formed team where the leader himself comes in as a newcomer. In that case, you need to observe the team and understand what characteristics each member has, the mood of the team, and what factors affect team members in order to properly assess each as a fighting unit.

Overtimes and Where They Reside

If a team is working overtime, it’ll be helpful for the manager to notice and appreciate this, thanking the team that they are working overtime. Especially if this is a situation where a sudden request came in from a customer for extra functionality that is urgently needed and a decision was made to take the task on. 

But you have to keep in mind that human resources are not infinite, and you have to give the team a rest. If the overtime is more than 20 hours of the monthly norm, it makes sense to give the employee one paid day off. And when the project is completed, the manager can congratulate the team and order pizza, play board games, and go out to celebrate.

The Carrot and Stick

It is inadmissible to give praise or criticism in general chat or in the presence of other employees to a particular person. You can praise the team as a whole, but if you want to praise a single employee, it is better to address them in person or in private messages. Criticizing the entire team? No. And again, no. 

If the manager has a complaint about the team, you must first determine who it is and why. And only after that go to a team member in private messages and gently explain what went wrong and why. It is advisable to use a friendly and calm tone, to say something like, “Hi, I have a couple of questions for you on work issues, can we discuss?”

Working on Mistakes

If a team member makes a mistake somewhere or does something wrong, as intended, the task of the manager is not only to find the reason why it happened, but also to discuss with the employee how to avoid it in the future, something like a little personal retrospective.

If suddenly the customer doesn’t like something, there is some negativity, and he asks who did it, the manager will deal with the situation. The less information exchange points the team has with the customer, the better, so you can control the information flow and bring it to a single information field. That’s important because everyone should always have up-to-date information on projects, tasks, bugs and other things.

About Processes

Sometimes you have to implement new rules and adjust work processes. Optimization helps increase efficiency (coefficient of efficiency), here it is important to approach changes competently, and introduce them gradually. The manager must be prepared to first meet a wall of bewilderment and indignation because “it works, why change?” It’s important to adjust to reality, to learn new tools and techniques, to apply them in practice, to train the team, and most importantly – to show in practice what the profit of these changes is.

These tips may only be partially applicable, because every company has its characteristics. But in any team, it’s important to create a comfortable environment for the employees, to develop corporate culture, to hold team building events, to hold retrospectives. When the values and culture of the company resonate with the employees, a powerful team is assembled. Be attentive, avoid toxic personnel, pay attention to little things. These are the things that make up the atmosphere within the team.

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