2012-02-15

7 ways to be a better team leader

Drake Editorial Team

As a team leader, do you insist that your team adopt your ideas, or do you encourage them to participate and contribute? Find out seven things you can do to become a better team leader.


7 Ways to be a Better Team LeaderLeading a team on the face of it looks really easy. In reality, it can be extremely challenging. As well as having the eyes of your boss and peers looking at how you are performing, you have to deal with all the different personalities and characters in the team you lead. Given these pressures, it would be easy to crack and really struggle as a team leader. Yet in truth, there are things that you can do to become a better team leader.

 


Here are 7 things you can do to become a better team leader:


Increase your self-awareness
If you are going to lead a team effectively, you need to have a high level of self awareness. Being self aware is not about identifying all of your faults but about understanding your motivators, your impact, what you do well and where you struggle. When you are armed with these insights you start to build your team from really strong foundations.


Be clear about what is to be delivered
Every team exists for a reason, and ultimately it is to deliver some result or contribution to business results. As the team leader, you need to understand totally what is expected from the team and be able to effectively communicate it to your team members.


Involve others
Imagine there are two teams. In the first team, all of the ideas, ways of working and plans are developed by the team leader and imposed. In the second team, the team leader fully involves team members in coming up with ideas, creating plans and deciding how to achieve them. Which team do you think will deliver most? As the team leader, focus on involving others more.


Have an effective decision making process
Every team member might not agree 100% with every decision that is taken, but on the other hand, they will find procrastination even more frustrating. Make sure that for significant team decision there is a clear process and criteria for reaching that decision so that things keep moving forward.


Don’t ignore the deficiencies
It is incredibly difficult to deliver results through a team if you have deficiencies in terms of resources, skills and expertise. At the same time, it can be incredibly tempting to make do, especially if you know that the organization is facing challenging times. Don’t fall into the trap of ignoring deficiencies in the hope that they will go away. Tackle them so that you keep progressing.


Encourage and support others
It is so easy to forget just how difficult it was when you were doing something for the first time or operating in a new set of circumstances. Some just deal with this without any problems while others will have a crisis of confidence. As the leader, make a point of encouraging and supporting others through the good, and not so good times.


Remember to recognize team effort
It never ceases to amaze me just how few leaders take the time to recognize the delivery efforts and contributions of the team. If you are someone who falls into this category, do something to create a habit of looking out for good things that the team has tried or done, and acknowledge them for their efforts.


Bottom Line: Becoming a team leader is a career-long learning process. So what steps can you take to become a better and more effective team leader?


Reposted with the permission of Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements (G&A). Goals and Achievements works with professionals, teams and organizations to develop their management and leadership capability. With 25 years’ business experience in a range of sectors, he understands firsthand the real challenges of managing and leading in the demanding business world. www.goalsandachievements.co.uk

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