Managers have a lot more pressure than ever before to have high-performing teams. More teams are tuning in remotely, which gives managers the challenge of measuring performance from a distance. As well, budgets seem to be smaller and workloads seem to be increasing. Effectively balancing all of these things is hard—and all these challenges are wrapped up into a skill called team management.
What is team management?
While our first guess is to assume this is all a manager’s responsibility, team management also includes the responsibilities of every individual team member to communicate, coordinate, and support the rest of the team. As such, team management can also be looked at as everything that keeps the team organized and on track, such as defined goals, communication frameworks and reporting templates. There’s also a big focus on how teams collaborate, check in with management, and handle conflicts.
Why templates can help team management
Team management can be tricky, especially if you’re new to team ownership or if you’re overseeing a large number of people. Templates can be used in synchronous or asynchronous meetings and they bring a lot of benefits to your team by helping you:
- Improve collaboration between individual contributors
- Determine communication workflows that are appropriate and productive
- Align on common team goals and tasks (and align these with the company-wide goals)
- Manage the workload of projects across team members
- Build trust and accountability, which are important relationship builders
- Foster team management skills like decision making, strategic thinking, and self-awareness
500+ Meeting Agenda Templates
You don’t have to start from scratch. We’ve distilled everything you need to know about meetings into ready-to-use templates. Try a tool like Fellow to streamline your meeting productivity!
11 team management templates
Giving a new hire a proper and complete onboarding experience is a top way to ensure the individual’s long-term success with the company! A typical onboarding checklist covers a ton of areas such as learning company culture, meeting the team, and getting set up with the company’s technical systems. Employees who learn these things early on will feel less confused and will ultimately become highly productive employees much sooner. Depending on whether you’ve employed an onboarding buddy program, your checklist might also need to provide some information on who this person is and how they’ll help the new hire succeed in their first few weeks.
The first one-on-one conversation between an employee and their manager is important as it sets the tone for the rest of their professional relationship. It’s important not to dive too deep into very specific details about the team’s operations or only talk about upcoming work projects. This can make the new hire feel overwhelmed and unsure if their manager is a good emotional support person in the workplace. Instead, let this meeting be a fun way to connect and gently guide the new employee to what’s coming up next for them!
Goal setting is a great practice to get new employees engaged right away. Not only does this help the new hire to have confidence in what they should be working towards in their first few months, but it also sets an expectation for accountability on the team. Building this behavior from the get-go will ensure that future projects are measurable, are achievable, and have realistic goals set for them. When setting goals, it’s a good practice to also mention why each goal is important, as this gives context around how the employee’s work contributes to the greater company or employee experience.
Objectives and key results (OKRs) are goals that teams can use and include two components: the objective, which is a higher-arching strategy; and the key results, which are the more tactical approaches that will help achieve the strategy. Career OKRs are helpful as they help an employee envision where they need to improve to seek growth in their career, with very specific expectations set between the employee and the manager. To help track these over time, you can also include OKR tracking in your collaborative meeting agendas!
A few times a year, department-level leaders will conduct performance reviews with their teams. The purpose of these conversations is to identify where the employee is exceeding expectations and where they need to improve. Try to set up the talking points so they focus on constructive feedback for the employee. This feedback can then be documented in the meeting notes and used to build an action plan to improve on the employee’s weaknesses. If you’re ready to assign action items for the growth plan after the meeting, you can also assign due dates for career growth milestones right from the meeting agenda, too!
If an employee is underperforming, you might choose to implement a performance improvement plan (PIP). The purpose of the PIP is to help an employee see where they aren’t meeting expectations and build a plan to get them back on track. Some key details to include in your PIP include the context for the PIP being instated, measurable objectives that you’d like to see the employee achieve, and a deadline by when they need to achieve these goals. PIP check-in meetings should also take place every few weeks to see if the employee needs additional support to help them achieve their goals.
When project workloads become a bit too full, task reprioritization meetings are helpful to determine which activities should be prioritized now, and which ones can be put on hold or delegated to someone else. In Fellow, you can make talking points about all the issues that might need to be reprioritized and assign action items to new team members who will take the projects on. For managers, this is extremely helpful as you can see all your team member’s action items in one place so you can effectively manage workload balances!
Staff team meetings bring together colleagues for collaboration and teamwork. In these meetings, you can share learnings about the week, do shout-outs for employees who are exceeding expectations, and make company-wide announcements. Many teams practice this kind of meeting weekly, at minimum. Because this kind of meeting happens more frequently, it’s a good idea to make the purpose and agenda for the meeting clear so employees understand why the meeting needs to take place.
It can be tricky to align hybrid teams in a meeting as in-person employees might have better opportunities to get to know other in-person colleagues than remote ones do. To help your team get over this challenge, try starting this meeting with some icebreaker questions and shoutouts for exceptional performance. This eases remote workers into the conversation and gives them a natural way to make friendships at work. You can also use this time for problem solving together, which allows team members to see into what other projects their coworkers are building and make use of new perspectives on the issue.
Virtual team meetings are becoming the norm these days, and most teams have found a way that works best for them—even if it’s not necessarily the most efficient meeting organization. To make better use of your time, start the call with some icebreakers to get participants engaged. Then, bring everyone’s attention to the bigger picture that you’re all working towards, as it can help guide later discussions about solution planning. Ending your meeting with a review of upcoming action items keeps everyone aligned on what to expect in the near future, and from whom to expect those results. This is great for building accountability when working remotely.
Leadership meetings happen regularly—that is, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly in most cases. These meetings are an opportunity for the highest level of the organization to identify market opportunities, talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the overall company, review the budget, and make strategic decisions about organizational OKRs. And when challenges occur, leadership meetings help leaders solve issues together since leaders may have experiences from their departments with solutions that have worked previously.
As new employees onboard and grow within your company, every bit of organization can go a long way in helping them understand the goals and expectations in front of them. And as a manager, you can make use of templates to guide your own decision making, measure your team’s performance, and get aligned with the leadership team. As you get started with different meeting agenda templates, you might find that you need to tweak them a bit to suit your team’s needs—and that’s quite okay! These are starting resources to help you lead more productive and successful meetings right away, and they can adapt and change as you grow, too.