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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.

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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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Last Updated on June 1, 2021

7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy (And Need to Change That)

“Busy” used to be a fair description of the typical schedule. More and more, though, “busy” simply doesn’t cut it.

“Busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy”, or “absolutely buried.” It’s true that being productive often means being busy…but it’s only true up to a point.

As you likely know from personal experience, you can become so busy that you reach a tipping point…a point where your life tips over and falls apart because you can no longer withstand the weight of your commitments.

Once you’ve reached that point, it becomes fairly obvious that you’ve over-committed yourself.

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The trick, though, is to recognize the signs of “too busy” before you reach that tipping point. A little self-assessment and some proactive schedule-thinning can prevent you from having that meltdown.

To help you in that self-assessment, here are 7 signs that you’re way too busy:

1. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Took a Day Off

Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. As Sydney J. Harris once said,

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

2. Those Closest to You Have Stopped Asking for Your Time

Why? They simply know that you have no time to give them. Your loved ones will be persistent for a long time, but once you reach the point where they’ve stopped asking, you’ve reached a dangerous level of busy.

3. Activities like Eating Are Always Done in Tandem with Other Tasks

If you constantly find yourself using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on emails, phone calls, or calendar readjustments, it’s time to lighten the load.

It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.

4. You’re Consistently More Tired When You Get up in the Morning Than You Are When You Go to Bed

One of the surest signs of an overloaded schedule is morning fatigue. This is a good indication that you’ve not rested well during the night, which is a good sign that you’ve got way too much on your mind.

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If you’ve got so much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when you’re laying in bed, you’re too busy.

5. The Most Exercise You Get Is Sprinting from One Commitment to the Next

It’s proven that exercise promotes healthy lives. If you don’t care about that, that’s one thing. If you’d like to exercise, though, but you just don’t have time for it, you’re too busy.

If the closest thing you get to exercise is running from your office to your car because you’re late for your ninth appointment of the day, it’s time to slow down.

Try these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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6. You Dread Getting up in the Morning

If your days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them, you’re too busy. A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement. Scale back until you find that place again.

7. “Survival Mode” Is Your Only Mode

If you can’t remember what it feels like to be ahead of schedule, or at least “caught up”, you’re too busy.

So, How To Get out of Busyness?

Take a look at this video:

And these articles to help you get unstuck:

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Featured photo credit: Khara Woods via unsplash.com

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