First time boss? Bases for good team management

Note published on August 3 in El Economista, Capital Humano [Human Capital] Section by Blanya Correal Sarmiento.



Your first job promotion not only entails a growth in your responsibility for results, you are now also responsible for managing a team of people. The skills that led you to grow in your position will not necessarily be the same ones that will help you to be successful in this new level. What do I require now that my job is to achieve results through others?

Change management in a human team is a task that is much more frequent than we perceive, almost every project or new challenge for a team requires a dose of adaptation that we often take for granted. Nevertheless, the ability of the leader to support and guide the team in this sense can determine whether the result is successful or not. This is because people need to address the topic of the natural programming that our brain has.

We have various brain mechanisms that for hundreds of years have helped us to survive, belong and evolve. These mechanisms have progressively adapted to the various challenges and realities that the advancement of technology, communications and in the way that we humans live in this era bring us. It is important, however, to know that these mechanisms have modernized, they have not disappeared.

Thus, the modern fears that affect our survival today, such as the lack of job stability, safety problems and even issues of treatment within organizations generate a natural response in our brain that now translates into stress, affecting the emotional and physical well-being of people.

As managers of a team of people, we can learn to use simple tools that help us manage these processes in our collaborators, achieving not only a greater productivity but also a better quality of life for all.

The first tool, and possibly the most powerful one, is the connection to the purpose, when we understand at an individual level that our contribution “saves the world”, that it is important and definitive in helping others or that it truly has a meaning without which the world would not be a better place, the world takes on another dimension. As leaders we need to dedicate time, first, to clearly defining these ideas, beyond the mission and the vision of the business, seeking to establish a connection with each person based on what motivates or moves them.

The second tool is communication. Communication is probably one of the most critical and difficult areas to manage effectively in teams and also throughout organizations. It is not a question of attitude because, surely, the majority of people want to interact appropriately and to achieve results as a team. However, when we analyze the most important obstacles to productivity, or the root cause of a work environment problem, communication usually emerges as one of the causes.

Among the most common causes of miscommunication is the lack of real listening, contents that are not well adapted to the reality of people and, particularly, the lack of connection of the messages between them, which is frequently made worse by inconsistent frequency.

Lastly, a third element that can help us in change management in companies has to do with psychological security. Changes themselves already present a challenge for people; therefore, the greater extent to which people can navigate transformations in a safe sea, the greater the possibility of their being able to adapt quickly.

In my opinion, psychological security is a concept that needs to be understood in a practical and pragmatic manner and, therefore, it is probably important to understand that it is based on respect. Respect in regard to differences, to individual points of view and needs, in regard to the limits, rights and duties of each member of the team, without forgetting that the leader must also be considered as a person and that he is not solely responsible for these conditions being present in the work team.

Facing the challenge of leading a work team for the first time is not easy. However, talent management connected with purpose, based on real communication within a context of psychological security creates a solid basis for a smooth transition when faced with changes and an optimal regular operation.

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