How do you become an effective team leader? This seems like a question with an obvious answer, but it’s actually more complicated than that. There are many different approaches to being an effective team leader, and which one you take depends on your personality, the people you’re leading, and other factors like the size of your team and its members’ personalities.
Who is a good team leader?
A good team leader is someone who can provide guidance and direction to a team. To be a good team leader, you need to be flexible, open-minded, patient and encouraging. If you want your employees and co-workers to respect you as a team leader, it’s important that they see you as someone with high integrity. You also need to remain positive in order for your team members not only want to work with you but also believe in your vision for the company’s future. While it may seem easy enough, there are actually quite a few traits all great leaders possess. The below tips will give some insight into how successful business professionals achieve their goals of becoming effective team leaders.
Why is effective team leadership important?
It is important for business owners and managers because effective team leadership is at the core of a successful business. Teams are far more efficient than individuals working independently, and most businesses operate using a blend of individual work with team-based work. Effective team leadership helps teams stay organized, focused, and productive by creating trust and encouraging open communication among team members. In addition, business leaders have multiple responsibilities, they’re expected to contribute creatively and strategically, as well as manage schedules, budgets, and day-to-day operations. Good teamwork empowers these busy leaders by relieving them of some minor administrative duties so they can focus their attention on creative tasks or larger strategic projects. Successful business leaders keep in mind that good communication goes both ways; not only do you need to lead your team effectively but you must also be a receptive listener who gives honest feedback in return. If your employees trust you, respect you, and feel heard when they present problems or new ideas and believe that any resulting changes will improve their lives at work as well as off—your team will follow your leadership happily.
To start off your journey as an effective team leader, here are some tips on how to become an effective team leader using different styles of management and leadership…
Communication is key
Being a team leader can be quite difficult at times. You are responsible for managing everyone on your team and holding them accountable for their tasks. On top of that, you must keep everyone motivated and excited about working towards one common goal. Communication is key if you want to create a productive work environment. Try implementing some tools that will make your job easier as well as help you communicate more effectively with your team members. Here’s a look at three communication methods that have proven to be successful in business communication, video conferencing, email, and instant messaging software. Video conferencing is a great way to communicate via visuals such as presentations or websites you wish to show others. Email also allows individuals on remote teams to stay connected, especially when meetings aren’t always possible due to distance or time constraints. Finally, instant messaging software makes it easy for individuals within small teams (even just two people) to chat in real-time while they get things done. No matter what type of organization you run or lead, big or small, finding simple ways to better connect with employees is vital if your goal is efficiency and maximum productivity!
Motivate your team
The best team leaders don’t just sit back and let their teams do all of the work; instead, they motivate their team members. Try holding occasional workshops for your employees, where you focus specifically on identifying and addressing communication issues between group members. You could also establish goals, whether long-term or short-term, that employees can focus on as a team. Anything that brings your team together will encourage stronger teamwork from each member. Over time, you may find yourself with not only more motivated employees but more motivated clients as well!
Know how to solve problems
There are two very important skills that good team leaders need to learn. The first is how to build and manage a successful team, including encouraging people to work together and solving problems effectively. The second is basic business communication—team leaders must be able to communicate clearly with all of their employees in writing and during face-to-face meetings. Effective problem solving helps keep everyone focused on goals while excellent communication skills allow leaders to delegate tasks and inspire others. Remember, it’s better to give someone clear instructions and a list of things they should focus on rather than making them figure out what you meant when you said something like, keep working hard. For example: I’m noticing you’re having trouble getting along with some of your colleagues.
Strive for excellence
Excellent communication is a key skill for leaders. First and foremost, what does excellent mean? It’s about being clear and precise. It’s saying exactly what you mean. And it means you actually listen to people, said Tiffany Pham in Business Communication: Improve Your Career Skills, Become a Master Communicator (Ziff Davis Press). As a team leader, communicate with your team at all levels: bosses/subordinates, employees/co-workers, vendors/contractors and customers/clients. Just like there are different relationships in business and career situations, there are different forms of business communication that work best depending on which relationship you’re engaging in.
Don’t make excuses!
The most effective team leaders know that teamwork is crucial and will go out of their way to ensure good communication with others. You should be willing to hear all ideas, good or bad, from all your employees. One of the best ways you can lead is by example. Show them how you want things done and stay positive even when things don’t go as planned. Everyone makes mistakes; it’s how you respond that determines whether or not those mistakes become something bigger. Instead of making excuses for people who make mistakes in order to look better yourself, focus on pointing out their strengths so they feel appreciated and empowered – both things are great leadership qualities. Always remember that having strong leadership skills doesn’t mean being tough, but rather leading through a natural talent for boosting morale and getting things done. Good teamwork equals good business!
Help your employees grow professionally
Your employees want two things from you: a good salary and an opportunity for professional growth. In fact, 82% of millennials say they’re willing to change jobs if their current company isn’t meeting their career development needs. That said, not every job is designed with skill-building in mind. And there are instances where employers simply don’t see eye-to-eye with workers on what it means to grow professionally. If you’re looking for a new way of handling professional development within your team, consider using these four ideas as a guideline Help your employees take ownership of issues by encouraging them to voice concerns/ideas freely without fear of negative consequences or reprimand. Encourage open conversations about issues among teammates, both one-on-one and group settings will do just fine; group discussions allow more diverse viewpoints while one-on-one discussions allow teammates to unload feelings that can develop over time into something much more serious. If possible, set aside dedicated time (about 15 minutes per person) to let people express themselves freely about work issues; make sure everyone has ample chance during that time to speak up about any problems that may be affecting them at work.
Develop people, don’t just develop tasks
A vital part of being a successful team leader is to ensure that your team members are equipped with everything they need and know how to perform at their very best. That’s why making sure everyone has enough time for training, whether it’s in-house or external, is so important. What’s more, you can encourage employees outside of work hours by offering courses, whether in a group setting or one-on-one—to keep them engaged and equipped for success. This will also help them develop their business communication skills and sense of trust amongst each other. When it comes down to it, having great leaders who set good examples means people can relax in each other’s company because they have faith in their work colleagues. But it all starts with finding out what makes every individual tick. Understanding others will help you manage people more effectively and make clear decisions about who needs direction and assistance vs. who might be ready to take action on their own initiative. By communicating clearly from day one, make expectations known up front about your leadership style as well as your management vision (including future plans). It may not always be easy for some workers but nobody likes working under someone whose actions do not match his words.
Effective team leaders are not made overnight. It takes time, patience and consistent effort to really develop your leadership skills. Being a leader requires you to take risks and do things differently than you would as a member of a team. Hopefully, these tips will help you be more effective when leading a team. Good luck!