How do you build a management team that works well together?
Suppose you bring together a group of talented and proven heads of department, stand back and expect great things - and then find it doesn't all go to plan. These people are at the top of their game, yet suddenly they're behaving like novices - there's fighting within the ranks, egos and power struggles abound, things aren't getting done, decision-making is slow and, more often than not, overturned.
This has a knock-on effect on the rest of the organisation. People look to their leaders to provide guidance and direction, to inspire and motivate them, to be role models and create a calm, efficient and effective place to work. When that doesn't happen, they begin to question their own loyalty and wonder whether they should move on. It isn't clear what a good job looks like. They are fed up with last-minute decisions, with other people not delivering on time and on budget, and start to think it doesn't really matter. Before you know it, you have a disengaged, disenchanted workforce.
Soon, this has a knock-on effect upon customers who, expecting great things, are disappointed by poor service and lack of attention to detail.
This scenario highlights the importance of getting it right when it comes to your management team, about finding the right people who will thrive within your culture, then bonding them as a team and ensuring they are very clear about "the way things are around here".
Jane Sunley, chief executive officer, Learnpurple
FIVE KEY STEPS TO MANAGEMENT SUCCESS
1 Recruitment Look for the right attitude and for someone who will fit with your culture. Seek people who will succeed and flourish within your particular environment and who are likely to gel with the rest of the team. Make the selection process very robust, ask situational questions, for example, "Tell me about a time when you...". Consider psychometrics because, love or hate the idea, used well they lengthen the odds of success.
2 Induction Make sure this is comprehensive so that your new managers know what they are doing and to start the all-important engagement and cultural integration process. If you're working with existing team members, ensure they are engaged, a good fit for the organisation and clear about their role.
3 Team bonding Provide structured opportunities to spend time together, so managers learn to understand each other and can work on shaping "how we do things around here". The organisation is much more likely to succeed if people have a hand in shaping it. Psychometrics are extremely valuable here because people can start to understand others' motivational drivers and appreciate why they behave as they do.
4 Roles and responsibilities Make sure that who does what is clearly defined and how this will be measured. How do the various departments interact with each other, ensuring there is a seamless service without unnecessary cross-over? Communicate this clearly and ensure there is a regular review process in place - consider doing this online if it's one of those things that always falls off busy people's lists.
5 Make it simple To avoid tying everyone up in knots with various initiatives and complex plans, take time out to think about what makes your business and your people "tick". Think about how you can engage your people so that they do a great job because they want to, are in the right place and are led by fantastic managers who work as a team. Make sure there is clarity throughout.