No matter what kind of small business, enterprise, or team you run, it’s essential that you take both a specific and holistic view of the entire organization if you hope to succeed. This is a nice platitude of course, but it’s harder to put in place. This is one of the measures of management that theory cannot fully explain and takes experience to ensure the right outcome is guaranteed.

Often what defines a good manager or leader, be they an officer in the military, the head of a charity or non-profit organization, or perhaps even a head chef, is being able to understand the people under them and taking full responsibility for the direction they take.

It’s also about removing friction from the team, and knowing how to identify that. Some team banter and jokes can be acceptable if they’re appropriate, but it’s also essential to know when they go too far. All managers will take a unique approach to team management. But with the following approaches to removing unwanted team friction, you’ll be able to adopt your philosophy more easily.

Defining Clear Roles & Collaborations

It’s essential to define clear roles and collaborations within your team. This can help you remove some of the overlap and competing collaboration that can actually turn quite toxic if not removed. This is especially important when members of the team leave, such as those on maternity breaks.

It’s important to define clear roles on a macro level in the organization as well as on a project-by-project basis. The best way to explain this is in the context of a sports team. Perhaps you’re playing football, and your right back should be marking a striker known to be a problem on a particular team, even if they’re usually known as someone who can penetrate the field deeply.

Defining clear roles also means knowing the strengths and weaknesses of every team, because no matter who you work with, they will be there. Using tools like BuildOps Field Service Management, you can make sure the entire gamut of daily duties are properly assigned, and projects are handled with each staff member optimized and ready to work.

Leverage Team Feedback

It’s important to remember that the friction within a team might not only occur within the people you’re managing but also between you and the wider group, as well as others responsible for their training.

That’s why it’s important to leverage feedback, anonymous or not. This might involve discussing what your team believes the difficulties to be and having a route to make complaints in a confidential fashion where appropriate.

This is because no matter how well you train your staff if they feel that your morning briefings are too short, vague, and unnecessary, they could start the day with a sense of confusion and worry. They may even stop listening to you altogether without even meaning the insult, which could in itself be a real problem.

By leveraging team feedback (giving and receiving it), you can more adequately understand how your team is thinking. If you’re able to ask for this feedback anonymously, then you’re better able to lead your team.

Outline Acceptable Friction

Of course, a certain amount of friction is necessary in all teams. This is because no team is comprised of the same people. If you wanted a team to work like a machine, you would use machines and not a human individual with their own thoughts and perspectives.

Diversity has been shown to be vital to teams all across the commercial sector (and even in organizations like the military) because the variety of perspectives, nuanced opinions, and discussions this can promote is certainly valuable for the agility of any team.

For this reason, acceptable friction, be that professional insight, opinions, instructions, and yes, even disagreements within the team, can lead to healthy outcomes. However, this also means taking time to improve team building and foster a healthy corporate culture.

Without that, you just had a team of arguing individuals who never achieve productive conversation. It’s also essential to make sure any sense of discrimination or identity-based dismissal is something you stamp out from your team on day one, even if some of this might be out of ignorance and not pure malice.

It’s also important to accept that sometimes, people make mistakes. That’s an acceptable part of team friction because without learning lessons, your team doesn’t grow.

Unify The Team

Teams that work toward shared goals tend to be more interested in working with one another, not against them. Again to use a martial example, in military settings, recruits are taught to look after the individual to the left and right of them at all times. That might involve preparing their kit, a word of encouragement during a difficult run, or helping one another iron shirts before inspection.

In a commercial setting, unifying the team means selling them on your vision, and giving them the right to have their voice heard in line with that story. In addition to that, you can add incentives that inspire them to work together. This might involve staff awards, bonuses if a project is completed to a certain standard, and more.

Unifying the team also means implementing appropriate praise and encouragement where necessary. If you’re the kind of manager who praises your team at every opportunity, they won’t listen to it. If you give praise where it’s due, then they do listen and will know what behaviours to repeat in the future. That in itself can be a good place to start.

Bonus: Seek To Grow

Many people say that imagination is often the main limit of any artistic endeavour, for example, the scope of worldbuilding when writing a novel often comes from the vastness of what you can actually picture, and how its limits may be defined.

Without a manager at the top constantly seeking to develop, it’s easy to see how a team can ‘top out’ if you’re not careful. So always seek to refine yourself professionally – it will help your team more than anything else.

With this advice, you’re certain to identify and remove team friction in the best light possible.