Five Tips for Small Team Management

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article |Small Teams|Five Tips for Small Team ManagementIt is tempting to think that more manpower equates to more productivity at work. After all, jobs tend to get done right away when many working pieces are involved, right? That is not always the case.

In fact, studies now show that a smaller number of members in a team is linked to more engagement and accountability. At work, small teams tend to be more productive because leads can focus their time and attention to fewer members.

However, spearheading a small team is still no easy feat. Just like any organization, small teams also have their fair share of challenges. And it is in everyone’s best interest to keep even a small boat floating.

Here are five strategies on how you can bring in the best out of a small yet effective team:

Use time tracking tools

You can use a free time clock software to set deadlines and objectives to manage project time more effectively. Time management tools can assist you to keep track of your team’s work and any project advancement.

It provides you monitoring tools that can be used to record the time that is spent on assignments and projects, such as timesheets and project trackers. You no longer have to wonder where time is wasted and which projects are receiving a disproportionate amount of attention. This time, you now have objective evidence.

Communicate with the team effectively

Having effective communication skills is one of the key ingredients of a team with good governance. When you communicate well with your teammates, you minimize misunderstandings and encourage the exchange of ideas that can propel your team to success.

For first-time managers, this might be easier said than done. To start with, you must create a welcoming atmosphere where your team knows that their feedback and opinions are all valued. Encourage them to open up. In that way, no one can feel as though they do not have a chance to express.

Staff meetings are a good way to build an open communication line in your team. During assemblies, convey the messages that you want to impart with confidence. Your audience will not only hear what you are saying, they will also see and feel your enthusiasm.

Having a proactive behavior in every discussion will help your teammates retain the discussion better. And with better retention, you possibly get more valuable inputs from them.

After you have established good communication in your team, the process of setting expectations and goals in your tasks will most likely go by smoothly.

Encourage teamwork and collaboration

Teamwork or collaboration has a dramatic effect on organizational performance.

Just like establishing good communication, teamwork is not something that just appears out of thin air. It is hard work and dedication that create a culture of teamwork in the workplace. When there is collaboration, the tasks at hand become more fun and uncomplicated.

Effective collaboration does not mean delegating an equal amount of work among the team. It is about knowing and sorting out tasks properly according to the skills, interest, and availability of the members.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about teamwork:

  • Be informed about the team’s common goal and objective.
  • Learn when to ask for help, especially when you are in need of an inspiration or support.
  • Let your team know about the progress you are making.
  • Encourage the team to question things from all angles.
  • Appreciate the efforts of the team and celebrate achievements together.

Set realistic deadlines

It is easy to postpone work when you think you have all the time in the world to finish it. Without a sense of urgency, you can always switch to things that are more enjoyable than the work you are avoiding to get done.
To stop the team from postponing and avoiding work, set a realistic deadline that is near to the present. If you firmly believe that a task can be done in a week, direct the team to get it done in a week’s time. This will keep the team stay driven throughout the process.

Before you set deadlines, it is necessary that the team knows what is expected from them. Explain the objectives and goals in mind clearly so that you are on the same page with everyone in the team. Make sure that the team agrees to the deadlines that you set so that they would have a sense of accountability in everything they do.

Evaluate your team regularly

Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to identify whether or not a team is successful. But how do you repeat those successes?

Giving room for feedback can help you measure the effectiveness of your style of leadership. It will also give you the privilege of knowing if this specific leadership is well accepted by everyone in your team.

For personal and career development, it is important to regularly know each of your member’s strengths and weaknesses. An age-old aphorism goes, “a team is only as strong as its weakest link.” The team can either be brought down by the actions of an individual or be brought up by a particularly strong contributor.

Take the time to determine if a person is raising up or bringing down a team. Once you have identified the individuals, see if you can coach the other members of the team to take some of the same attitudes and practices.
Lastly, establish a baseline and clarify your definition of success so you can better judge and provide feedback on how successful your team is. Conducting regular evaluations significantly determines how great a team will be moving forward.

Final thoughts

The fundamentals of succeeding in managing small teams lie in the knowledge that managing these teams is just as hard as managing mid-sized or even bigger teams. People often believe that managing a small team is easier, but that is hardly ever the case.

At the end of the day, the success of a team is only just a reflection of the combined efforts of each individual in a team.

Five Productivity Mistakes for Entrepreneurs to Avoid

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Productivity| Five Productivity Mistakes for Entrepreneurs to AvoidMost entrepreneurs are led to believe that successful business models prosper quickly and easily. However, in a study by Statistic Brain, “Startup Business Rate by Industry Business, the failure rate of all U.S. companies after five years was over 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years

Too many entrepreneurs may be focusing too much on their hopes and dreams of success rather than maintaining daily best practices to stay productive and healthy. Here are five mistakes entrepreneurs should correct in order to help them achieve a more productive day and a healthier lifestyle.

1) Don’t Ignore Your Own Well-Being:

Exercise, relaxation, and spending time with friends and family is key to having a healthy mind and body. According to the Gallup Wellbeing Index, 45% of entrepreneurs report being stressed compared to 42% of “other workers.” Entrepreneurs also report being more likely to have “worried a lot” — 34% vs. 30%.. Physical and mental healthcare the most important components for long term success at anything, especially the highly stressful project of building a successful business. Disregarding your personal welfare in favor of pushing yourself to the limit and beyond can result in a negative domino effect and usually compounds every other mistake you’re making. Most often these topics are unspoken and not confronted because there is a need to be perceived as confident and able to handle anything, but this is a real problem that takes down many entrepreneurs and causes them to fail. Neglecting your health and working yourself until you drop isn’t good for your business, even though that may be the kind of culture that is being promoted in the social media narrative. It’s not worth the damage you’re doing to your life, and it doesn’t produce good results for most people anyway.

2) Don’t Overthink Strategy:

It seems as if many of us spend way too much time thinking about what we should be doing instead of actually doing it. People assume that entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffett mostly think about their long-term vision because that is what you hear about in the media a lot of the time. What you don’t hear as much about is what they do every day to move towards those long term goals. They didn’t build huge businesses spending most of their time strategizing and dreaming about the future. Most of the time you spend working should be producing some kind of tangible results for your business. You can spend some time thinking about where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, but that should be a small part of your schedule. If you don’t produce results now, you will never get to your long term goals.

3) Avoid Distracting Communication:

Some entrepreneurs will spend a lot of time micromanaging and refereeing personality conflicts in the workplace or engaging in their own workplace drama with partners, colleagues, and investors. This usually leads to a destructive cycle that harms the business. If there are people on your team causing you too much stress or drama, you need to remove them from your team as soon as possible. Or if you can’t remove them, you need to think about removing yourself and moving on to something else with your life. Like a bad relationship, if you can’t fix it, you have to move on. Hanging around for the drama or trying to “win” a bad relationship is not productive, and it’s the same thing in your business. Nobody wins in these drama filled scenarios.

4) Lack of Prioritization:

Many entrepreneurs will find that they lack the ability to prioritize their time. They spend way too much time on things that may be interesting or happen to catch their attention even thought those things aren’t important for the business. You should not be spending much time on low value items that can be done later, delegated to someone else, or often completely ignored with minimal consequences. This seems obvious, but many entrepreneurs fall into this trap, obsessing over things like the corporate logo, mission statement, team happy hours, office space, employee complaints, or many other things that don’t usually produce tangible results for the business. One of the worst examples is working very hard on acquiring and keeping small, unprofitable customers. Another example is spending a lot of time trying to build a corporate culture long before the business has achieved any success or traction. Success and traction builds your corporate culture, not the other way around. Focus on producing good results and many of these other things will not matter or can be handled later when you have more resources.

5) Time-Management:

You should have an awareness of time, value, and desired results when planning meetings, events, or activities. Your time management is crucial to productivity and successful decision making. As you better manage your time, you will be more aware of your own productivity and results you are generating. The more aware you are of your own time management and results, this will also help you better manage your colleagues and help them to make the most out of their days. This will also allow you to have more time for yourself to relax, exercise, and lead a more balanced life. There are many good productivity tools for helping you accomplish this, but any simple calendar, timer, and alarm apps will do the job. The software won’t fix your time management problem or make you more productive. This is about taking responsibility for budgeting your time, staying aware of how you are spending time, and then holding yourself accountable to your schedule unless there is a compelling reason to alter it.

Avoiding these five common productivity mistakes won’t make you a billionaire. But avoiding them will give you a much better chance of success than the 70% of entrepreneurs whose businesses fail.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Christopher GreyChristopher Grey is the co-founder and COO of CapLinked, an enterprise software company offering an information control and risk mitigation platform for the sharing of confidential or sensitive documents and communications outside of the enterprise. Previously, he was a senior executive and managing partner in private equity and corporate finance for 15 years and directly involved in the deployment and management of billions of dollars of debt and equity investments in various industries. Christopher founded two companies, Crestridge Investments, a private equity firm that made debt and equity investments in micro cap and middle market companies, and Third Wave Partners, which made debt and equity investments in distressed situations, and was managing director of a subsidiary of Emigrant Bank, the largest privately owned bank in the country. Most recently, he is a co-founder of TransitNet, a platform for security token issuers offering title verification, chain of ownership tracking, and other post issuance tools for improving the security and reliability of security token ownership.

Fall in Love With Your Career all Over Again

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Choosing a Career Path|Fall in Love With Your Career all Over AgainOne of the things so many people crave these days is a career that they love. There are a lot of factors that you need to keep in mind if you are serious about this, and it is crucial that you do as much as possible to look at how you can make the most of your job. There are so many different factors that can impact our careers and the way we enjoy them, and it is important to keep this in mind moving forward.

Think about the different elements that play a role in helping you adapt to your chosen career path better. Being fulfilled and happy, and getting the most out of your career is so important, and you need to make sure you look at what you can do to make the most of your job. These are some of the factors that can help you to fall in love with your career all over again, starting today.

Rethink What You Want

One of the first places to start is to rethink what you want out of your career. If you can understand this, you will be well-placed to be able to get more out of it. Finding your job as fulfilling as possible is something you need to make sure you get right now, and there are a lot of factors that play a role in this. Make sure you look at reassessing your career path and focusing on what you want to achieve from your job moving forward. By shifting your focus, you are able to be more productive at work and work toward achieving your long-term goals.

Look to Progress

You need to think about where you see yourself in your career path for the next few years. There are a lot of things that play a part in this, and you need to consider what your aspirations are for the future. Progressing in the business is so important, and it is natural to want more out of your life. In a career, you want to see progression and work toward being as successful as possible. This means you need to pursue success and look for opportunities to progress in the company, by way of promotions etc.

Ensure You are Getting the Right Treatment

It is important to make sure you are getting the right treatment in your career. When trying to determine if your career or the company you work for is right for you, it becomes important to look at the way in which they treat you. As a valuable member of staff, you should be valued and treated with respect by the business. You could hire a workers comp lawyer to make sure you are legally protected, and that you are getting the compensation you deserve. Taking steps to make sure you improve your career is so important, and this is one of the most essential parts of the process that you need to think about right now.

Be a Team Player

Being a team player is one of the most important things you can do in your job. The fact of the matter is that you want to make sure you work in a friendly and harmonious environment. This means looking at the best ways of becoming a team player as much as possible. You have to make sure you are focused on improving and enhancing the work-related arena, and being a team player makes you much more likely to be able to enjoy your career more. You want to find somewhere that is pleasant to work, and that plays a massive part in the process of helping you achieve more and work harder. This is why it is important that you do as much as possible to be a team player and work together with your colleagues to really enhance your working relationship.

It is important to have a career that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. While money is important, it is not the be all and end all of the business world, and this is something to keep in mind. When it comes to loving your job, you need to think about what elements of the business you can benefit from, and what it takes to improve your career path. Come up with ideas that are going to help you rediscover the way you approach your business, as well as thinking about how you can go about enjoying the different elements of your business that little bit more.

4 Small Business Tips To Save You Stress

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Tips for Small Business Owners|4 Small Business Tips To Save You StressOperating a small business is no easy feat and certainly not for the faint of heart. There are employees to hire, train, and keep on top of, expenses to cover, meetings to plan, clients to acquire, and so many other day-to-day aspects of the business to stay on top of. With so many different elements of your company to consider on a daily basis, it can be easy to get lost in the stress of it all and be consumed by those worries. How great would it be if you could take some of that stress off your plate and save the headaches? Here are four tips for small business owners that you might not have considered yet, which can save you time, hassle, and hours of unproductivity caused by worrying or planning.

Set up an LLC

If you haven’t done this already, the first thing you should do is keep your business finances separate from your personal self and set it up as its own taxable entity. Even if you’re a self-funded, self-employed business of one employee—yourself—this is still critical. Registering your business as an LLC involves a cost, yes, but it’s not as much as you would expect, and it will protect your business from any legal trouble that might come your way. Also, you won’t have to worry about company finances creeping into your personal finances, which is a huge plus come tax season.

Use accounting software

A good number of small businesses don’t have the capital to hire an accounting department, which is fine but can also lead to trouble if the accounting isn’t taken care of properly. If your business is looking to save money in this area, consider buying accounting software instead of hiring a team or person to take on this task until it’s necessary. There are a wide variety of software programs available at a number of price points; it wouldn’t make sense not to take advantage and utilize them fully.

Have a lawyer on retention

As much as you might not want to think about it, sometimes dealing with other companies and clients can get messy, especially when it comes to payments. If your small business relies on contracts with clients, or clients paying for work that has already been completed, or both, you might feel better knowing you have a lawyer on retention to escalate and sort out any issues. has top-rated employment lawyers who can help protect your business.

Invest in quality marketing

Many small business owners can think they can get away with cutting corners and saving costs on marketing efforts because “how hard can it possibly be?”. That is until they try to do it themselves and get little to no return. Unless you are educated in the field and stay on top of marketing trends and strategies, marketing is best left to the experts and professionals.

How small businesses can advertise is constantly changing, between Google algorithms and social media playing a huge role, it can be challenging to understand and keep re-educating yourself on successful strategies. Is that something you want to add to your to-do list when there are probably a hundred other tasks you should be worried about already? Invest in a freelancer or small marketing company (depending on the size of your business and your marketing needs) to take this off your mind and get the results you want.

Creating An Office Space For Happy, Productive Employees

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Office Environment|Creating An Office Space For Happy, Productive EmployeesHaving happy, productive employees is one of the greatest assets your business can have. When your employees feel valued and comfortable in what they do, they can help some amazing results for your company.

Creating a happy and productive workforce involves many actions, with one of them being a workspace that’s fit for purpose. Look at ways you can transform your workplace and help create a positive working environment for your employees.

Be open

Many modern workplaces are embracing open plan office space. There are several advantages of open plan offices that can make them worth having, especially in creative and tech-based companies. Having an open plan office can break down barriers and help teams work closer together, which will help to develop a more positive workplace.

Focus on creativity and collaboration

Putting an emphasis on creative thinking and collaboration can help your teams work better together in order to achieve company goals. A workspace that has breakout areas and space for thinking can be a real asset to employees and helps them take a breather from their desks to recharge. There are several collaboration options for businesses to pursue that should be explored to see if you could enhance your teams’ ways of working.

Keep it clean and green

Having a clean and neat office space can make people feel more positive, while also making it easier to work. Hiring janitorial services will help to keep your office looking great, while also making sure issues and barriers to work are taken care of. Encouraging staff to clean up after themselves is also important, and there should be clear desk policies in place to help maintain an organized workplace.

Adopting green practices is another way you can bring more happiness to your workplace. By encouraging employees to recycle, consume less energy and think twice about their waste, you can help create a greener workplace that brings something positive to your community.

Remember to think about life outside the office

As well as making improvements to the inside of your office, you also need to give some thought to the outside. Helping your employees achieve a better work/life balance will help them to be more productive during the hours they are in the office and will help them feel happier in their jobs too. From flexible working to better home working facilities, you can show employees that you care about their wellbeing and make your company a great place to work.

The right office space will help transform things for your employees, helping to make your company one that people enjoy working in, and make others aspire to work for. You’ll not only benefit from a more upbeat workplace but will experience better retention rates too. Simple changes can help make a significant difference to the attitudes and effectiveness of your staff. Why not put a plan in place as to how you can transform your workplace and help develop happy, productive employees who achieve great things for your business?