I consider myself lucky, as I got opportunities to work with incredibly proficient managers who have been thorough professionals - who lead their companies through difficult times and it is something I respect them, even today. I also realized that we always shared a personal relationship. When I started recalling incidents and characteristics that made me think about what it takes to 'earn team members respect and lead them'. Here are my observations from personal experiences
Be technically competent to lead
Be competent enough to understand, manage and control team’s work areas. You need not be highest level of expert but you should be able to make sense when you assess deliverables and manage resources with differential capabilities.
Treat them with respect
Treat them with respect even in bad situation, respect their personal time but at times, if project demand, required remind them to devote more time for project work.
Empower team members, assign them activities to utilize their strengths, provide them opportunities to improve weakness, train them. For their work area, entrust them to do what they want as long as it aligns with overall objective at the same time, make them accountable for their actions
Be ready to learn from them and do it gracefully
One cannot be highly competent or expert in all areas; but one should always keep learning. You can learn from your team members, value their opinion, and appraise them for their knowledge.
Be a mentor, supporter as well as a critic
At times, your project team members may look for guidance; if you are good at it, be a mentor; if not you should redirect them to right resource. So you need to be their mentor, supporter; also when it is a right time, you should criticize them for larger benefit.
Be fair and transparent
Be fair and tactfully transparent while dealing with assessment of their work. Typically everyone thinks that he/she has done amazing job and deserves special stars in the periodic review. As a manager you need to be impersonal, impartial and fair to average team members.
There will be bad times, shield your team from adversities
Bad times will be there. If you are able to, think and try to shield your team from adversities arising out of the situation; if not, you can be transparent with them to let them know about what is happening in the company, about project or customer or whatever that may impact their career path.
Appreciate and give them higher visibility
Appreciate your team members in front of your higher management and customers. You should mention about their contribution to the project/deliverables and recognize it. Team will realize that manager is fair and transparent enough to pass on the credit, in front of management or client.
Get rid of those who play spoil sports
You need to be strong enough to remove a team member who could potentially take down team spirit, productivity. To me personally, there can be no room for unethical team members, but you should certainly consider taking tougher decision about someone who can hamper team’s productivity and performance.
Dhan is co-founder of Zilicus, the technology company that offers online project management and collaboration software: ZilicusPM. He writes for ZilicusPM blog about project management challenges, tips, trends, SaaS, Cloud. This post has been republished with author's permission for larger interest of PM network.