Leading a team is hard work! There are many important variables that can make the role as team leader challenging – but they don’t erase the rewards that are possible – including a boost to your own self-esteem and self-confidence as you enjoy their success.
It’s easy to get a little discouraged if you see that your team isn’t displaying the skills and strengths you thought they had when you originally chose them. You’ll probably even spend some time wondering if you picked the right people, and trying to decide whether to replace them on the team or continue to work with them. The challenge can even make you doubt yourself and your abilities, because after all – you put the team together!
However, before you make any drastic decisions, you owe it to yourself and your team to assess the effectiveness of your own role. Are you being the best team leader you can be?
Perhaps a new approach – tapping into your personal assets and qualities – could drastically improve your team’s results!
A key concept that many team leaders miss is that you have to be ready to be the team! You have to be willing to be the example that you want your team to follow. There’s no doubt you know what you want from your team members – now it’s time to show them, and give them a clear and focused “road map” to get them to the destination.
Signals That Team Members Look For
Anybody who isn’t at the top of a team always looks for guidance from above. There’s an unspoken expectation that you can and will guide them in the right direction – they are depending on you to do that.
Display these concepts to lead your team to the top:
1. Willingness to involve them. The first thing your team will look for is how open you are to including them in matters related to the operation of the business or project.
* Team members like to know that their input is appreciated. It encourages them to embrace the idea of being part of the team, and helps them appreciate you as the team leader.
2. Abide by your own rules. Another signal that team members pay keen attention to is whether you spit out directives but follow your own agenda when it comes to compliance with those same directives.
* If you want and expect compliance in specific areas from the team, you must be prepared to comply as well. “Do as I say, not as I do” rarely, if ever, works well.
3. Loyalty. Whether the team you’re leading is a football team, a special project group, company department, or an entire organization, your team will rely on you to show how loyal you are to the cause.
* If you’re not in agreement with every policy that’s in place, it’s important to avoid expressing your disagreement in the presence of your workforce. Policy discussions should be handled in a different manner.
* Keep leadership discussions among leaders. Every member of the team is not going to be a part of the leadership discussion, and that’s okay.
* Maintain a positive outlook on the organization even if you’re not necessarily happy with your circumstances. Never badmouth the organization, department or company to your team – it encourages them to do the same and brings your loyalty into question.
4. Recognize their contributions. There’s nothing team members like better than being recognized for their contribution to the success of the team. Giving your team members sincere compliments by saying things like “Good work” or “You did it” will show them that you truly value their efforts. You know how it makes you feel to be recognized – the boost to your self-esteem and self-confidence. Give that same benefit to your team members when appropriate.
* When they see that they are valued, your team members will step up their efforts to do an excellent job.
* By making each member feel important, you’ll have everyone on the team performing at a higher level, resulting in greater success for your team.
5. Value their point of view. One of the best ways to get the kind of results you want from your team is to really get on their level. Have consideration for their perspective and the things that make them tick. Learn about your team members and their personalities – what drives them, what their goals related to the project are, and what’s important to them.
* The sooner you embrace their viewpoint and show that it’s a welcome part of the organization, the sooner you’ll be able to build an effective workforce. Knowing more about your team can help you tap into their “hidden” skills and help them (and the team) to excel.
Use these strategies to inspire your team. They’ll be motivated to work harder to garner the success and accolades you seek as a top-notch team.