An Effective Team Leader Is…

To be effective and to work efficiently, teams need a leader. But what steps can you take to ensure you’re an effective team leader that successfully engages their team?

1. Understand the role of team leader — an effective team leader brings people together to promote creativity, improve performance and support collaboration to deliver consistently strong results and high levels of engagement.

2. Remember that all eyes are on you — an effective team leader does not have the attitude of ‘do as I say not do as I do’. Your team needs you to lead by example, so if you’re disengaged and demotivated, your attitude and behavior is likely to be reflected in your team and their performance.

3. Accept that you don’t have all the answers — an effective team leader is open to ideas, contributions and suggestions from all members of their team. It’s important not to dismiss any suggestions or feedback from your people so be open to ideas and encourage two-way, constructive discussion.

4. Know when to back off — an effective team leader allows their team members to do their jobs, so show faith in your people. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on hand to manage your team, but there’s every chance your people will perform to a higher level if they believe you have confidence in their ability.

5. Get ready to get stuck in — an effective team leader realizes they can energize and engage their team if they show they’re prepared to get involved and get the job done, which is particularly important at times when the team needs to meet tough deadlines or targets. This doesn’t mean getting bogged down in the ‘day to day’ work of the team, but does mean being sensitive to the pressure and needs of your people.

6. Be prepared to coach your people — an effective team leader helps their people to learn and develop. Although deep down you may have the attitude of ‘if you want something doing properly, do it yourself’, it’s important you support your team to learn and perform to the best of their ability.

7. Appreciate the responsibility that comes with your role — an effective team leader accepts that they may ​need to take tough decisions from time to time. As leader you’re no longer ‘one of the gang’ so whether you’re managing performance or conflict, you’ll need to have a strategy in place to identify issues and negotiate a balanced, swift and lasting resolution, should the need arise.

8. Communicate in a variety of ways — an effective team leader encourages open, two-way communication within their team. It’s vital to ensure your team knows you’re approachable, are prepared to listen and are willing to offer constructive, reasoned responses. Alongside this though, it’s important to be open to the range of ways that your team will communicate with you. In addition to face-to-face, verbal communication, you’ll also need to get to grips with virtual and electronic communications, as well as non-verbal messages from your people.

9. Reward and recognize your team — an effective team leader invests time finding out the personal ‘needs’ of each team member so that you know what motivates your team and what doesn’t. Use this understanding to recognize or ‘reward’ individual accomplishments based on the needs of the individual. Regardless of the approach you take, there are many ways to reward performance and some of the best ones can cost nothing!

10. Have one eye on the future — an effective team leader looks to the future of the team and the organisation they’re working. Whether it’s developing talent within…your team or offering people opportunities to develop new skills, an effective team leader isn’t afraid of nurturing new leadership talent.

​​There is no “I” in the word “team”

It’s a popular business saying that is sometimes overused. Despite its overuse, the words are still true.  A leader does not exist alone. He must have committed followers to implement a shared vision of a better future. For this reason, the leader’s focus must be on facilitating his team’s success–not on fulfilling his own personal ambition and glorification. True leaders serve their followers with the best interests of the enterprise always above their own.  If you as a leader have made everything about you, then frankly you have lost your way!

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