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Published on August 19, 2020

14 Principles of Management for Effective Team Management

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.

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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Last Updated on September 24, 2020

17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

In the movie The Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and his friends possessed to learn new skills in a matter of seconds. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize.

The current generation has access to more knowledge and information than any before it. Through the internet, we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. To become smarter, it’s more about the ability to learn faster, rather than being a natural born genius.

Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style learning experience in a short amount of time.

1. Deconstruct and Reverse Engineer

Break down the skill that you want to learn into little pieces and learn techniques to master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill.

For example, when you’re learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.

2. Use the Pareto Principle

Use the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80 20 rule. Identify the 20% of the work that will give you 80% of the results. Find out more about the 80 20 rule here: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

Take learning a new language for example. It does not take long to realize that some words pop up over and over again as you’re learning. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words,” for example, and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.

3. Make Stakes

Establish some sort of punishment for not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Or you can place a bet with a friend to light that fire under you.

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However, keep in mind that several studies have shown that rewards tend to be more motivating than punishment[1].

4. Record Yourself

Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistakes and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.

5. Join a Group

There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it’s a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.

6. Time Travel

Visit the library. Although everything is moving more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.

Whether it’s a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.

7. Be a Chameleon

When you want to learn new skills, imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Participate in mimicry and copy what you see.

Studies have shown that, apart from learning,[2]

“Mimicry is an effective tool not only to create ties and social relationships, but also for maintaining them.”

Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. YouTube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.

8. Focus

Follow one course until success! It’s easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do.

Ditch the whole idea of multitasking, as it has been shown to be detrimental and unproductive Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.

9. Visualize

The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing[3].

Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results. This is an important skill to help when you’re learning the basics or breaking a bad habit.

Take a look at this article to learn how to do so: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

10. Find a Mentor

Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made.

Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning when you want to learn new skills. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.

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If you need help learning how to find a mentor, check out this article.

11. Sleep on It

Practice your new skill within four hours of going to sleep.

Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, is a noted rapid learning expert. He says that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics are ingrained at a quicker level.

12. Use the 20-Hour Rule

Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magic number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill.

His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.[4]

Check out his video to find out more:

13. Learn by Doing

It’s easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to learn new skills and never actually get around to doing those skills. The best way to learn is to do.

Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are physically engaged continuously. Keep alternating between research and practice.

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14. Complete Short Sprints

Rather than to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks, so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.

One study found that, between two groups of students, the students who took two short breaks when studying actually performed better than those who didn’t take breaks[5].

15. Ditch the Distractions

Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Before you sit down to learn new skills, make sure that potential distractions are far from sight.

16. Use Nootropics

Otherwise known as brain enhancers, these cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements.

Many students will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide[6], particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.

Find out more about brain supplements in this article.

17. Celebrate

For every single small win that you experience during the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This positive reinforcement will help you keep pushing forward as you learn new skills.

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The Bottom Line

Learning a new skill should be exciting and fun. Whether you use online courses, real world experience, YouTube videos, or free online resources, take time to learn in the long term. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation.

More Tips on How to Learn New Skills

Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

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