How to Manage a Growing Team

How to Manage a Growing Team

One of the biggest challenges for a growing project is the difficulty in managing a growing team.

It’s common to believe that if you just had a few more employees, life would be so much easier!

However, few anticipate the tremendous complexity each new hire brings with them. It’s more time, the development the integration of more skills and also training on the knowledge of the business. 

A team of 4 people has 6 lines-of-communication (each person has a relationship with each other person). In this case, it’s fairly easy to stay on the same page and share consistent values.

However, once that team doubles to 8 people, you suddenly have 28 lines-of-communication. That’s growth–but in ways you may not expect. 

How can you maintain a semblance of the original team as it grows from 4 to 8 to 100 people?

Here are our top 3 tips to help you manage growing pains like a pro.

ClickUp’s Top Tips for Managing a Growing Team

1. Weekly Coaching

Ah yes, the cornerstone of success.

Coaching is quite possibly the most overlooked aspect of management by team leaders and its results cannot be understated.

When onboarding new hires, coaching and development is uniquely important. We suggest onboarding meetings that are aimed at improving communication and productivity between new team members and leaders. 

By getting new employees up-to-speed on your communication and productivity practices as early as possible, you’re setting the right tone, accelerating the rate at which new hires are able to contribute.

Little things you take for granted (what qualifies as “worth sharing”, how much one is expected to dig before seeking help, how one ensures their boss knows what’s going on, etc.) often feel impenetrable to new hires. 

Make it easy for them to know exactly what they need to do, and exactly how it’s expected to be done. This could include a few small goals to help your coaching relationship. 

With that said, it’s crucial that you remember weekly meetings are not just for new team members. 

Waiting for quarterly or yearly reviews won’t cut it when your company workforce is doubling over the same period of time.

Meet frequently with your team, even if it’s just for 15 minutes to help them understand your company’s foundations, the business goals and how they may work on a cross-functional team. New employees will especially appreciate the extra attention to pave the way to success. 

This face-to-face coaching time prevents misunderstandings, provides feedback, strengthen relationships and helps develop new skills.

2. Use the Right Project Management Tools – Religiously.

Make each member of the team use project management software like their life depends on it.

Without a systematic approach, you cannot retain transparency and progress.

ClickUp is built specifically for such transparency.

First is a way to look at tasks from a ‘big-picture’ perspective.  With ClickUp’s 3 views managers can get a high-level view into every area of a project, even as their team scales.

Assigning comments ensures that tasks can be broken down into micro-segments, without things slipping through the cracks.

Meetings are easy to track using Box view, so you can see what each person worked on for any given period of time.

“Me” view gives each individual user a focused way to concentrate on what needs to get done without confusing or cluttering their interface, making it easy to stay on track.

3. Hire Right, Fire Early.

This is one that everybody hears all the time, yet it fails to sink in.

Firing people sucks.

However, if your project has even one employee draining energy or productivity, it can easily be the kiss of death for a growing team.

It’s not enough to hire “all-stars”. You could have the best kidneys in the world, but they won’t save you if you have lung cancer.

This doesn’t mean getting all trigger-happy and firing anybody who looks at you the wrong way, it means being thoughtful and deliberate about what your standards are – and then enforcing them.

One bad apple can ruin everything.

Don’t get stuck scrambling trying to hire people, you’ll make the wrong hires that will cost you down the road.

When push comes to shove, hire for culture over accolades, and then train them for excellence.

4. Accept Change

Remember, you’re bringing on new team members to help your business do better. These new employees will probably have some different ideas, new skills and different strategies that may be slightly different than what you have been doing.

As a team leader, you have to sort through the misguided ideas and the truly great ideas that align with your mission, culture and values. The new team members won’t inherently know this, so it’ll be up to you in your coaching and communication sessions to point them the right way.

Conclusion

If your project is blowing up, you’re probably pretty happy.

You are trying to develop another set of leaders and committed employees to take your company up a notch. Overall, investment in a growing team should be a worthwhile investment, not a hassle. Initially, the ROI may be lower as your team members get acclimated, but if you’re doing it right–the investment will be immensely valuable.

But by failing to prepare for the growing pains you’ll undoubtedly face, that happiness will likely transform into anxiety before spiraling into an uncontrollable sense of schizophrenia.

  • Taylor Harrell

    Could not agree more! We hire for culture as well. It’s so much easier training someone who is fresh-eyed and motivated than someone who is stuck in their ways or in their previous company’s ways.

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