Do you manage a specialist team full of experts in their field?
It could be in marketing, product development, digital developers, recruitment, HR, or workforce planning. Whatever it may be, they’re not customer-facing, and they were likely hired because they already possess the necessary skills to do the job.
Because they’re already experts, managing and leading them is a little different from other types of teams. You’re unlikely going to be spending a lot of time coaching and developing them on how they can do their job better.
So how do you manage a specialist team? Well, here are some tips on how you can keep them engaged and motivated, so they don’t jump on job sites looking for their next opportunity.
Keep Them Updated and Informed
Communicating with your team on what is happening in the broader company is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Everyone goes to work to serve a purpose. If your team is clear on what this is, they are not only more likely to better contribute to it, but they also may begin to think of new ideas that have not been considered.
There is nothing wrong with oversharing to manage a specialist team. Sometimes the more they know, the more engaged in the business they will be. Your staff may not agree with every decision that gets made, but they’ll be grateful for knowing what is going on with the company.
Advocate on Their Behalf
You need to remember that as the leader of your team of specialists, you are also their representative. When you’re in meetings, you’ll often be speaking on their behalf. When your team has complaints or issues that need to get raised, you are their voice to your peers and upper management.
Advocating on your team’s behalf is how you earn and maintain their respect. People talk, and if word ever makes its way back to the team that you didn’t stand up for them or get their point across, you’re going to have an uphill battle trying to manage them.
Explore Opportunities to Make Their Job Easier
There is always a better way of doing things. It might be by doing something faster or with fewer steps. You don’t need to be an expert in how your team performs tasks, but challenge them to find a better way of completing them.
Doing so will allow them to spend more time developing new skills or contributing to other projects within the organisation. So there is a benefit in them finding ways to automate or reduce the amount of time they spend on admin work.
Search for Upskilling Options
Even if your team of specialists are already experts in their current role, you should look for upskilling opportunities for them. It could be a refresher course or a certification they’re yet to acquire. Perhaps they want to learn a new piece of software or gain leadership experience.
Whatever it may be, look for ways to further develop their existing strengths or add new skills to their repertoire. After all, they may end up being your successor, and the more you can help them now, the better off they will be in the long run.
Create a Development Plan
Regardless of the team you manage, every single one of your employees should have a development plan. This gives them structure and purpose and something to work towards.
There are many ways to approach a development plan. It could be for succession, improvement in a current skillset, or to focus on an area that’s not a strength. You can gamify the plan or create a set of goals that act as a task list. No matter how you approach it, you should ensure you’re continually talking about it throughout the year and sticking to your commitments.
Need More Ideas to Manage a Specialist Team?
When you manage a specialist team, your key focuses are on continuous improvement and motivation. Understanding what makes them come to work every day will make managing them a lot easier. But you also don’t want them going stale either, so look for ways for them to continue learning and improving.
Do you need more help managing your team of specialists? Then make sure to add the Better Boss Blog to your bookmarks. You can also follow pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook for more tips, tricks, and advice on how to manage all types of teams.