If you’re in charge of a small team, try these three Cs to help you manage people effectively.
There's a lot to consider when running your own conveyancing practice, including managing your staff. If you've never had any formal management training it can be hard to know where to start. Even if only a handful of people report to you, it's important that you’re able to provide them with leadership, guidance and support.
Here are three ways to become a better leader of your small team.
1. Communication: Choose the right approach
When managing a small team of conveyancers and support staff, a misunderstanding or unresolved personal conflict might lead to a decrease in morale and productivity. This can have a negative impact on your clients.
By choosing the right method of communication you can foster a team that operates smoothly and efficiently. Emails can be great for exchanging documents, but when nuance is needed, there's no substitute for face-to-face meetings.
For effective communication, ensure that you:
Listen closely without interrupting, and respect cultural differences;
Have an open-door communication policy between managers and staff;
Be clear about everyone's roles and responsibilities; and
Encourage questions if clarification is needed.
Whether it's daily or weekly, it's a good idea to hold team meetings whenever there are changes that affect the entire team. Some experts suggest 15 minutes is the ideal length for a team meeting – but be willing to try different lengths and formats.
2. Constructive feedback: Review and promote team members
It's important to have some kind of review system for all staff members – whether you manage conveyancers looking to grow their own client base or support staff who want a raise but not necessarily a role change.
You might prefer to introduce a structured, formal review every six or 12 months, or simply pull your staff aside for a casual chat when you feel they're ready.
Traditionally, team leaders conduct performance reviews by giving their perspective on the individual's progress, completion of specific tasks and performance against benchmarks. However, it can also be useful for you as the manager to get team members to provide you with feedback on their peers prior to each individual's review. This can help you to evaluate each employee's communication skills, leadership potential and team attitude.
3. Culture: Ensure it suits you and your employees
Culture can make or break a workplace. If your staff dread coming into work each day, it can have an extremely negative impact on productivity and employee retention. Employees should enjoy the challenges of work, the company of their co-workers and the workplace atmosphere.
The most successful workplace cultures tend to focus on a core set of business values. Knowing what your company stands for, and openly communicating this, will help to attract the right talent. It will also provide your team with guidance through difficult times.
It's also worth remembering that good ideas can come from anywhere. Empowering your team to actively participate in the development of their workplace culture will help to create a mutual sense of trust and belonging.
Managing a small team is no trivial task. By focusing on the three Cs – communication, constructive feedback and culture – you have a much better chance of accomplishing great things together.