As you advance in your career, the ball of leadership (for example, being named a Team Lead) is bound to roll into your court sooner or later. Being appointed to lead a team is a good opportunity to build your leadership skills so they can take you all the way up.
Beyond that, a chunk of a team’s potential for success is dependent on the team lead. So you see, you must be effective as a team lead, for your own sake and for the benefit of the team you are leading.
If you have already attained this position, this article is a must-read for you. If you are not leading any teams yet, you should also read on. It is best to prepare ahead of time to ensure you succeed in your desired leadership position.
These 6 tips will help you become a better leader who wins alongside every team member:
- Understand each team member: A team is typically made up of different people with their unique personalities. Strengths, weaknesses, talent, and even temperament differ. These various traits are bound to come to play as they go about fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. As a team lead, the onus is on you to harness each member’s individuality in a way that ensures their strengths and skills help the team get the job done, and their weaknesses don’t hold the team back.
As a leader, an understanding of your team members will also help you to show consideration and empathy when necessary. Always remember that people are first humans before they are employees.
- Be approachable: People have a natural tendency to limit their interactions with others in superior positions. Without a deliberate effort on your part to convince your team members that they are welcome to freely interact with you, they will most likely consider you unapproachable. A good way to convince your team members that you’re approachable is to initiate conversations and interactions with them. This helps to break down whatever barriers they may have created in their minds about their relationship with you. Being approachable is crucial to ensuring that there’s no communication gap between you, the team leader, and your team members.
- Communicate with impact: Effective communication is one of the most powerful weapons any leader can have in their arsenal. As a leader, being approachable can help you kickstart a cordial professional relationship with members of your team, but your ability to communicate with impact will ensure you make meaningful connections with them. Whether you’re emphasizing what has to be done to meet specified goals or communicating favorable or negative feedback from management to the team, your communication must be motivational and inspiring. Ultimately, it should also inspire action.
- Be flexible: Being in a position of leadership comes with a level of authority. You sometimes have to make the rules, set the deadlines, and define how certain things should be done. However, one of the attributes of great leaders is the ability to change plans to match the reality of any given situation. It’s okay to review deadlines or adjust targets based on what is obtainable for your team members.
- Do the actual work: A lot has been said about the advantages of delegating duties as a leader. The various schools of thought in favour of this are not wrong. However, it’s easy to over delegate to the point that you’re left with no work to do. This throws the whole ideology about leading by example in the mud. Not only can you inspire and motivate your team members when they see you work, this is also the best way to earn their respect. More importantly, doing your bit of the work guarantees that no one is overworked and that all jobs are finished on time to meet deadlines.
- Give praises: This is a simple yet powerful tip that can move you from a good team leader to a great one. A positive affirmation from you to your best performers can double their determination to outdo their best selves. Did you know that some of these top performers may be constantly second-guessing themselves and doubting the effectiveness of their hardwork and dedication? In essence, don’t make the mistake of assuming your team members know just how good they are at their job. Give them kudos, tell them well done, let them know just how much you value their contributions to the team and watch them continue to improve tremendously.
It’s also important that you don’t ignore the ‘upcomers’ in terms of performance. Ensure you take note of their little wins and celebrate them, as you encourage them to aim for more.
Being a team leader allows you to make a difference in people’s lives while simultaneously learning. Make the most of it!
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