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14 Principles of Management for Effective Team Management

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14 Principles of Management for Effective Team Management

Managing a team effectively isn’t easy. Although it can be learned through entrepreneurship, there’s a reason business leaders spend years in school studying how to manage people. There are many principles of management that one needs to learn to effectively manage people.

One of the key management thinkers is Henri Fayol. Despite having died more than a century ago, Fayol spelled out 14 principles that managers swear by to this day.

Beginning in the 1870s, Fayol published articles on mining topics.[1] But as he took on administrative responsibilities, he became more interested in management methods. Fayol proposed that there were five functions of management:

  1. Planning: According to Fayol, a manager’s first role is to put together a plan. How will the job get done?
  2. Organizing: To work efficiently, teams must tap the strengths of their respective members. Fayol realized the importance of putting the right people in the right roles.
  3. Commanding: Teams need directives from managers, Fayol understood. Managers must confidently command their teams.
  4. Coordinating: Fayol knew that any team must work as a unit. Effective managers help employees work in concert with each other.
  5. Controlling: Fayol didn’t think of controlling people in an authoritarian sense. He simply meant managers need to make necessary tweaks to processes and analyze results.

To fulfill those functions, Fayol pointed to his 14 principles. His approach—often called “Fayolism”—revolutionized how managers work.

Fayol’s principles of management aren’t rocket science, but it’s not always clear how to put them into practice. Let’s dig in.

1. Division of Work

The first principle of Fayolism is that specialization promotes efficiency. Workers will always be better at some tasks than others. They should focus their attention on tasks where they perform best.

As a manager, you’re responsible for distributing your team’s workload. Assigning tasks according to each team member’s strengths will allow them to accomplish better work in less time. Distributing work evenly also creates efficiency. Make sure one employee isn’t feeling overloaded or overwhelmed.

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2. Authority and Responsibility

Managers need the authority to delegate, impose consequences, and provide rewards. That authority derives, ideally, from the respect of the manager’s team. Managers must possess the skills and values that their team members admire.

With authority comes responsibility. Whether the team succeeds or fails, blame ultimately rests with the manager. That responsibility must be reinforced with accountability. The employer can reward or punish the manager, just as they can with their team.

3. Discipline

A manager must be able to teach and correct team members when warranted. Discipline should not be metered out solely as a punishment but as a way to improve the team member’s performance. When proper discipline is given and received, teams can grow and move past their mistakes.

Different teams will respond to different types of discipline. It’s up to the manager to discern what approach is best. A warning system can be implemented, with punishments laid out at each stage. Make your employees aware of any punishments they might receive as extra incentive to follow guidelines, and be prepared to keep your word.

4. Unity of Command

Unity of command means there can only be one manager on a team. Answering to multiple superiors can cause confusion and conflicts of interest.

While there will typically be various levels of management in an organization, team members must know who’s directly in charge of them. When questions or concerns arise, knowing who they should approach right off the bat makes team members more efficient.

5. Unity of Direction

Every team needs a common goal. What that is—and how it’s achieved—must be determined by the team’s manager. Teams with too many goals struggle to see the manager’s desired end.

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Think of it as a tug-of-war: When team members pull against each other, they typically get nowhere. Managers have to get everyone pulling in the same direction to make efficient use of their team members.

6. Subordination of Individual Interests

The interests of the group as a whole must be more important than those of each individual. With a group mindset, teams can reach greater heights than if everyone was working for themselves.

Managers must recognize that the team’s interests come before every member’s, including their own. Self-dealing or favoritism undermines the respect the team has for its manager. While individual rewards are important management tools, they must be given only when it serves the wider team.

7. Remuneration

Managers who expect loyalty and hard work from their team members must pay them fairly. Fair wages show employees not only that they’re appreciated but also that a certain quality of work is expected from them.

Offer wages at least equal to what your competitors do to their employees, but don’t stop there. Use benefits and personalized perks to sweeten the pot. Don’t try to cut corners: Consulting group Giftology argues “cheaping out” sends a worse message than giving nothing at all.[2]

8. Centralization and Decentralization

Centralization refers to who makes decisions for the wider team. A small company may be very centralized, with the owner and CEO making all the moves. A larger company with numerous branches will have to decentralize, allowing managers of each one to operate with greater autonomy.

There’s no one-size-fits-all degree of centralization. Determine what’s best by looking at the size of your team, the CEO’s preferences, and the individual managers’ strengths. Finding the perfect balance will boost team effectiveness.

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9. Scalar Chain

The management principle called the “scalar chain” refers to the idea that communication must run in an orderly fashion. It starts from the top, continues through the company’s managers, and eventually reaches individual contributors. This chain of command holds everyone responsible and ensures that each level of the company receives the same instruction.

Some modern managers question this principle. For example, Elon Musk told his employees at Tesla that they can bypass the chain of command to make communication quicker and more efficient.[3] He authorized even the lowest employees to contact leaders directly.

If in doubt, experiment. Authorize employees to contact executives directly about certain topics—such as new service lines or harassment—and check in with managers. Are they confused, or do they see their teams working more efficiently?

10. Order

In management, organization is everything. Everyone on the team needs to understand what tasks are and aren’t under the purview of their role. Defined roles minimize overlap and ensure that all tasks are being completed.

Try this: Ask each employee to write down their job duties. Are they on the same page as you, their manager? If not, decide what should be added or removed from each list of duties.

11. Equity

Can you think of a manager or supervisor you had in the past who you didn’t like? You’re not alone. A recent survey found that 57% of employees who left their job did so because of their boss.[4] That’s why Fayol urges managers to treat their employees with respect and kindness.

While there will be moments of discipline and tension, managers should always strive to treat their team members as equals. Leaders who value loyalty and dedication should express those sentiments to their employees before asking them to do the same.

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12. Stability of Tenure

Constant turnover is inefficient because employees need time to master their roles. Add in recruitment expenses, and turnover costs employers an average of $15,000 per worker.[5] Allow that cycle to continue, and you’ll be out of a job yourself.

Don’t wait to work on retention until you see signs of disengagement. Reward loyalty, and build the sort of culture you’d want to work in. Give feedback regularly so workers know where they stand.

13. Initiative

This management principle isn’t about managers taking work from other members of the team. In fact, it’s about encouraging team members to speak up and start on projects of their own volition.

While team members do need guidance, supporting their autonomy and critical thinking helps them grow. A speaker in my network, Jay Baer, talks about this all the time: Being helpful is more beneficial than being pushy.[6] Use rewards and discipline to point employees in the right direction.

14. Esprit de Corps

This French phrase translates literally to “the spirit of the body.” What Fayol meant by this is that team camaraderie matters. If a team doesn’t get excited about working together, it’s tough to bring out the best in them.

Use company culture events, such as picnics and happy hours, to nurture team spirit. Take time to get to know each other as people, not just as members of the team. Celebrate wins whenever you can.

Final Thoughts

Different people follow different principles of management. Some people even formulate their own. However, the fact that Henri Fayol’s principles of management are still being talked about today speaks to their value.

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Implement them, and you’ll see: Henri Fayol never fails.

More Tips on Effective Management

Featured photo credit: You X Ventures via unsplash.com

Reference

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John Hall

John Hall is the co-founder and president of Calendar, a leading scheduling and productivity app that will change how we manage and invest our time.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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