Tips for managing a large team

Managing a large team is a very responsible and difficult task. A team of more than 1,000 employees is a kind of challenge since it is difficult to pay attention and focus on each of them.

Undoubtedly, every employee deserves, needs and wants attention from the manager, and sometimes it may seem to you that there is not enough time in the day for your personal work and to manage such a large team.

We have decided to share our advice and tips, which we use in our practice, on how to effectively manage a huge team of over 1,000 employees.

Building relationships with your employees is the key to success

It may seem strange, but simple communication with employees is an important component of building relationships with them.

Ask them during the day about their projects and difficulties they have encountered, discuss the details, share your experience and skills with them, help them by giving your advice, and, most importantly, just communicate with your team.

It would also be a plus to ask about their normal life outside of work. Their children, pets, holiday plans and so on.

It is important to make them feel your concern so that they trust you. This is extremely important for strong relationships.

In addition to simple communication, ask them to share with you the main news and project updates. Most likely it will be difficult for you to always remain informed of all updates that occur in the team.

Problems and questions which arise from time to time may escape your attention.

Ask your team to regularly share project updates. Such an exchange of information could help you in decision-making, as well as to be aware of everything that is happening.

Avoid sharing updates via email. Use more face-to-face conversation. If such live conversation is not possible, then use the telephone.

Also, do not neglect private communication with employees. It is important to devote individual time to each employee. Therefore, try to communicate with everyone behind closed doors, discussing issues relating to each person individually.

Distribute tasks

No matter how professional the team leader is, he is not able to do everything himself and he needs to delegate his tasks to employees.

This is the key to success and the way to manage a large team without losses.

Distribute everything you can. If there are tasks that employees can perform, give it to them.

Managing a large team is not an easy task, and you should have time to meet with the team, time to plan training for them, and time for individual meetings with everyone who needs it.

If you fail to delegate due to the fact that you fear the end result or that it might take too long to be achieved, then you are depriving your team of the opportunity to grow and acquire new skills.

New tasks for an employee are an opportunity to learn new things, gain useful experience and achieve recognition for success from management.

The first few times, you help an employee perform a delegated task or correct a completed task, and then an experienced employee will be able to complete the tasks on their own without your help.

So you help employees better understand what you expect from them, and also give them the opportunity to grow.

Time invested now is compensated by a huge amount of time released to you in the future.

Let the team make decisions

When all decisions are made by one person, this is extremely inefficient. Let your employees make the right decisions on their own.

To avoid risks, you must be well aware of matters going on within the team in order to react and correct in a timely manner what is not going right.

In fact, to prevent employees from expanding their capabilities is risky.

They are closer to the work and sometimes they may be more aware of which solution is the right one.

It is also effective in building relationships, because letting employees make their own decisions is a gesture of trust and a demonstration that you value their work.

Assign mentors

In any large team there are players of different levels. Someone is a beginner, and someone else is already a serious player who is able to teach others.

To teach someone yourself, you need too much time, especially if you need to combine this with other duties.

So, in this case, assigning a mentor is a good solution.

But the mentor should see the benefit in this, so that such a practice does not become a waste of time for him.

Thanks to mentorship, in the future the mentored employee will in turn be able to transfer some of his tasks to the employee he teaches, and this is an attractive possibility.

Also, the opportunity to become a mentor gives a sense of leadership and helps to gain managerial experience, which can later become a real opportunity to acquire a management position in the company.
You will also benefit from the fact that the mentors will be able to give you feedback, and based on this you will be able to make the team better.

Effective use of resources

For the effective management of a large team, it is important to balance the expertise of employees in different areas.

It is not a good idea to assign and dedicate employees always to the same tasks. Although this develops their experience, at some point you may find yourself without an experienced employee for a specific task, when the necessary employee is not available or has left the company forever.

A combination of employees with specific tasks not only helps them to develop new skills, but also increases the efficiency of the company, which can greatly affect the final result.

The main aspect of successful management of a large team is the ability to liberate the full potential of each employee.

Taking into account the talents, skills, experience, desires and personal qualities of the employee, it is possible to identify what each employee will do best.

For example, introverts can spend hours in research, and extroverts can excel in conferences and presentations.

But it is also necessary to change tasks every half year so that employees do not lose interest in their tasks.

Irina Firsova, CEO 4Service Group, shares her insights into the management of a large team

“Big business has a specific scale of operations. If in small business some issues can be solved point-by-point without thinking how this solution will work with an increase in the number of operations, then in large business such an approach is fraught with problems when scaling operations. For large businesses it is very important to establish management and control over numerous operations.

But this is possible only when all processes are described, maximally unified and digitized. It is important for any business to reduce the dependence of results on specific specialists. The larger the business, the more tangible are the risks of such dependence.

Today, all companies face a lack of qualified staff in the labor market. The larger the company is, the more time and money should be spent on finding, training and retaining a good specialist. On top of that,, there is no guarantee that this specialist will not decide one fine day to leave the company. For this reason, in addition to investing in the development and retention of people, more and more companies are investing in process management (whereby the result depends on the quality of the process, rather than on a specialist) and in partial /complete automation of processes (whereby the business completely abandons the labor force).

This approach also has its downside – it loses flexibility and it becomes increasingly difficult to satisfy the requirements of customers by a personalized approach to the provision of services. Therefore, before embarking on the unification of processes or automation, it is important for a business to visualize all the risks related to the possible loss of loyalty of some of its customers. If the business is not based on a strong idea that is difficult to reproduce, the risks of customer churn are significant, but you can work around them by offering customers speed, quality and many other benefits which come hand-in-hand with automation.

It is important to know and understand your client – his opinion and word (recommendation or anti-advertising) always influence business. The bigger the business, the harder it is to obtain, process, and respond to customer reactions. Any feedback (positive or negative) is sent to the company, and is met by a response from an employee, who thus forms the attitude of the company towards customers. And here we again return to the scale, the need to manage and control the huge flow of communications with customers.

In other words: one of the most difficult and important tasks of a large business is to strike a balance between process management/ automation of processes which dictate the scale and a flexible approach to working with clients”.

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