Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey

>> back to list of newsletters

February 2004
10 Skills Necessary to Effectively Manage a Team

In last month's Newsletter, we looked at the 12 driving forces of motivation; the criteria that needs to exist for employees to feel motivated and committed to their jobs. In this Newsletter we will look at one of these criteria in depth  ... working for efficient managers .  Your employees watch you and see how you handle the various aspects of your job.  They will form their opinions of you as a manager based on what they see.  If they do not see you as someone who possesses managerial leadership skills, it will be very difficult for you to be the visionary of your team.  You will not gain the respect and authority you need to manage and lead a cohesive, innovative and productive team.

The following is a managerial leadership index of 10 skills necessary to effectively manage a team and lead them towards the vision you want them to achieve.  It is your opportunity to grade yourself as a manager.  If you answer this test honestly, it will give you a good indication of your strengths and weaknesses in some very important areas of management and leadership. Take the test, and then we will discuss a number of these skills.

Score each item using the following scale:

  1. Needs Development , not practiced by me at this time
  2. In Development , could use some sharpening
  3. Well Developed and practiced regularly by me in my role as a manager.

1- I possess a clear and precise understanding of the results I must achieve on a daily basis. 

2- I understand, and can explain in terms of results, the overall mission of my department.

3- My goals and my employees' responsibilities for supporting these goals are clearly stated.

4- My team members have a working understanding of my ability to reward them.

5- I am viewed as a consistent and fair manager and treat everyone with respect and dignity.

6- I keep my team members informed in a timely way about changes that will affect them.

7- I practice active, empathic listening in order to really hear and understand my team members.

8- I am comfortable with delegating work to others.

9- I am a lifelong learner and a teacher/coach for my team members.

10- I know the warning signs of personal overload, and possess the skills and discipline to create balance in my life.

How did you do? If you answered most of the items with "well developed" you are on your way to becoming the visionary of your team.  If you saw items that you need to improve on, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.  The items on this managerial leadership index fall into two categories: your understanding of what it takes to be an effective manager, and your inter-personal skills in communicating with your team.

Items 1, 2, 8, 9 and 10  look at your understanding of the responsibilities of management and how you handle those responsibilities.  In these uncertain and constantly-changing times that define business today, items 9 and 10 have become increasingly important for managers as they try to do their jobs. 

We live in an information age.  There is so much information out there, it is hard to keep up.  However, if you have a personal commitment to being a lifelong learner, there are a number of resources you can call on.  First is the internet and the vast amount of knowledge on it.  It gives us instant information on almost any topic we can think of.  The trick is to discipline ourselves to set aside a certain amount of time to take advantage of the information.  I am constantly fighting this battle myself.  There are terrific books out now that focus on innovative management and leadership, and I have promised myself to read one new book a month.  I've done great so far, but it's only February!  Newsletters such as this one can give you strategies you can implement immediately to help you in your management position.

Being a lifelong learner also means knowing the industry you work in.  Do you belong to any professional associations that are geared for people working specifically in your industry?  Attending their Annual Meeting and/or local meetings can keep you abreast of where your industry is now and where it might be in the future.  This will give you an opportunity to prepare for these changes now.  This also holds true for your position as a manager. Do you belong to associations that are geared for managers, regardless of industry?  If you attend their meetings you can learn valuable information to help you as a manager that you can take to any company or any industry.

Item 11 is a tough one.  We have such full plates today, it is easy to get into overload.  The trick is to know when "enough is enough" and learn how to say no so that we have a life outside of work.  I tend to be a perfectionist; I want everything to be just right.  I can drive myself and everyone around me crazy.  I also get resentful because I seem to have more work than anyone else. Of course, I make that happen by trying to be perfect. My seminar on "LOVE Your Work and LIVE Your Life, Too!" came right out of my struggle to get over my perfectionism and reign in my workaholic traits.  I was amazed at how many other people shared this struggle with me.  So ... this is my task ... to know when good enough is good enough so I can move on and create the time and space to have a life.

I know I am in overload when I start getting confused; I can't retain facts like I usually do and making a simple decision is a real chore. I also lose my focus when I am overloaded and don't know what to do first.  As a result, very little gets done because my energy is fragmented and I don't stick to one chore long enough to complete it.  When I get these signs, I know it is time to take a deep breath, sit back, think things out, and do one thing at a time.  I also allow myself to take a break when I need it without feeling guilty.  What do you do to prevent getting in overload, or if you are in it, how do you get out?  If you have any insights or suggestions, I would love to hear from you.

Items 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 look at your ability to communicate clearly to the members of your team, as well as treat them with respect.  Your goals and your employees' responsibilities for supporting those goals must be clearly stated so they can buy in and commit themselves to your goals. In these times of change and uncertainty, it is crucial (that is a strong word but appropriate here) that you keep your employees informed about what is going on.  The major complaint I hear from employees in every company I work with is that management does not let them know what is going on. Even if you, yourself, do not know what is going on at the moment, tell your employees so and let them in.  If your employees respect you and know you come from integrity they will take whatever news you give them better than feeling left out and anxious about what will happen to them.  Along with keeping your employees informed, if you listen to them with empathy and concern, they will go a long way to help you achieve your goals.  Finally, if you are consistent and fair with your employees, you are a manager/leader others will want to follow.

I have given you a lot to think about.  If you have any questions or comments regarding this Newsletter, please send them in. If you would like to pass this along to a colleague who may find this of value,  feel free to do so.  If he/she would like to receive this Newsletter each month, please e-mail me at and I will put the name on our database.  Have a wonderful month.

About the Author

Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and health care. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables at the same meeting...a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.

Phone: (805) 964-7546
FAX: (805) 964-9636

>> back to list of newsletters