Effective team management is an art that not everyone knows or follows. Good team management increases productivity, boosts employee morale, creates loyalty and also encourages innovation. Unfortunately, effective team management is a skill set that not everyone possess.

Even the best managers could be seriously lacking this skill set. Additionally, you don’t need to have the title of “manager”  or a “leader” to focus on building your team management skills. For example, you might be working in projects where you take the lead to help the team complete the project successfully.

This is why having effective team management skills is a must for everyone. Luckily, there are certain golden rules and standards that you can follow to improve your skills.

Jayson DeMers, CEO and writer of several leading business publications, lists seven golden rules that are effective and produce positive results every time. Adding them to your repertoire will give you a great deal of benefits. Here are the seven golden rules you can follow:

1. Be Consistent in Your Actions

One of the key features of managing your team is by being consistent in your actions. If you stated that certain actions will have consequences, make sure to carry out the consequences. Similarly, if certain questions will have rewards, then give rewards when your team meets them.

Inconsistency in treating team members is the major signs of bad management. Favoritism can cause resentfulness in the team and lead to inconsistency in your actions. It will also discourage those treated unfavorably from working harder. This is why you must be consistent and fair.

2. Encourage Clear Communication

Make sure that your team has open lines of communication with you, either in person, through email, chat or by phone. This is essential because adding unnecessary layers makes it difficult for your team to have a central person to turn to in order to get directions, ask questions or ask for feedback. This also opens doors for communication errors.

By being approachable and easy to reach, you also build trust from your team members. They know that if things ever go wrong, you are always available for them to talk to. It makes working on tough projects easier and also ensures that should they need any help, you are always there.

3. Set Clear and Achievable Goals

As  the leader, one of the most crucial things you need to do is break down into achievable tasks. You must be aware of your team’s capabilities and set goals and tasks accordingly. This boosts the team’s confidence as they can complete each task and ultimately finish the goal successfully.

If you’re setting unrealistic goals and tasks, don’t be surprised if your team is unable to meet their deadlines. This also shows that you aren’t aware of your team’s capacity and, in many cases, it can also build distrust or lower moral in the team as they will feel that you don’t know what you are doing.

4. Recognize Contributions Publicly

When a team member delivers or gives exceptional results, be sure to praise them publicly. It can be extremely gratifying for that person and will also motivate them to work harder. Something like a special mention in a speech, a gift, or even a small trophy will ensure that you show your team that hard work does pay off.

Be consistent and be balanced. Do not play favorites otherwise; you can seriously undermine the benefits of recognizing contributions publicly. Favoritism in public recognition can create a lot of resentment and dissent. It can also discourage the rest of the team from working hard since they will feel that their efforts will not be recognized.

5. Lead by Example

One of the most important of the golden rules of effective team management is to lead your team by example. Your team will mimic your work ethic and values. If you’re showing up late for work, your team will also be more likely to be late. Additionally, if you are going to be iffy about your work, your team will also behave in the same manner.

Instead, you should show them that you’re committed, handle tasks professionally and are not above asking for help. When you set a good example, your team will be inspired to work with you and work twice as hard to get all the work done.

6. Avoid Micromanaging Others

Make sure that you don’t micromanage or dominate the team. Keeping them on a tight rein will not get tasks done faster. When discussing ideas, be open to opinions and input from your team members. Additionally, encourage them to come up with ideas or discuss why certain ideas can be achieved or what problems you are facing. In micromanaging, you will build an unnatural reliance on yourself by your team.

They won’t be able to do any task without making sure that they have your approval first. By doing this, you are giving your team the chance to grow, mature and learn from the experience of the project. Often, a manager does not have the same skills that their team possesses. So, by trusting in your team members to do their job, you can show that you respect them, their ideas and their skills.

7. Listen and Ask Questions

When you are having discussions with your team, don’t be the only one talking. That just means that no new ideas, opinions or perspectives will come to light. Instead, encourage your team to actively participate in the discussions. Similarly, listen to them attentively when they are talking and ask them questions regarding their ideas.

Getting input from your team will ensure that you are aware of how the project is progressing and how you can grow. You want to make sure that your team also feels like their voice is being heard. When your team feels heard and seen, they will feel happier and more secure in the workplace.

Every manager has their own style of working. If your team is effective this isn’t a suggestion that you should completely change what you are doing. However, by adding these seven golden rules, you can fine-tune your overall management skills and have a happier and more productive team.