If like me, you have been gripped by the news of the Rosetta Mission lead by the European Space Agency, the one thing I have wanted to know more about was the incredible team behind this historic mission.

Like so many projects, regardless of their nature, the original launch of Rosetta has faced setbacks and postponements: Rosetta was initially scheduled for January 2003 but the launch was postponed due to a failure of an Ariane rocket in December 2002. The adventure recommenced back in March 2004 so the news this week was truly a 10 year landmark, hence the jubilation of so many at the ESA headquarters.

But it’s worth remembering that the ESA is an ultimately an international organisation with 20 Member States, so by coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. That’s a pretty big team to pull together!

So how would companies like the ESA manage a team that is spread across different locations and make them communicate effectively as one?

If you work for a multinational you may experience the same challenges or you may be a smaller company just with offices in different cities in one country.

Either way, how do you build and manage a team under these circumstances?

Here are 5 Top Tips to managing a team, many of which may ring true for the Rosetta team!

1. Recognise Potential

People in organisations are sometimes hugely underutilised.

Our team members would probably achieve more if only we had confidence in their abilities.

With this in mind, give them the opportunities to prove their true value and support and reward them accordingly.

2. Accept and celebrate differences

I’m sure the ESA came across differences during this 10 year mission from the people involved, but they probably also realised that every individual in a team is gifted with a unique set of talents and strengths.

A good people manager looks for diversity in a team so that members complement each other.

Don’t criticise people or waste time wishing they were different. Instead, try to understand and bridge differences.

Often people are not difficult, they are just different.

3. Unite people

Ensure that the whole team is working towards a common goal, just like the ESA.

Involve people in a set of shared values and in identifying how those values can be translated in to practices and behaviours.

Share as much information as possible; maintain an open and honest dialogue with them, particularly in times of change.

4. Be a CEO!

Be a CEO: that’s a Chief Example Officer.

Never expect more from your people than you can deliver yourself.

You cannot afford to be inconsistent and not be seen to ‘walk the talk’. You have to be seen to living the values of the organisation and the team.

Jean-Jacques Dordain is the ESA Director General and his background, experience, and achievements clearly show he is a true Chief Example Officer!


5. Tough love

If necessary, be tough.

Make sure you hire the right people and provide the right conditions for them to be able to grow and flourish.

When they trust being criticised or when employees’ actions are not consistent with the team’s or organisation's values, then say so.

Have the courage to make tough decisions.

For more top tops about Managing a Team and other workplace issues, visit the new Creativedge ‘Top 10 Tips’ App available for iPhone, Android and Windows smartphones:-