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Moving into a leadership role can be an exciting career development. But it can also be daunting if you’ve never been in charge of a team before.
Qualities to be a good team leader
One of your responsibilities as a team leader will be communicating instructions, ideas, strategies and targets to your team. This information is important because it helps people understand everyone’s responsibilities. It also tells them who to go to with questions or issues.
Communication is a two-way process: getting your message across is one side, the other is being an attentive-listener. For example – there may be a time when a team member comes to you because they’re unhappy. Instead of seeing it as an attack on your management style, view it as an opportunity to listen, learn and improve.
As the team leader, there’ll be times you have to provide constructive criticism to your team members. How you deliver this feedback will impact how the person receives it. Focus solely on the negatives, and the likelihood of a positive outcome will be reduced. Praising the person for their contributions and then mentioning areas for improvement could result in a positive outcome for all.
Integrity is an important quality to possess as a team leader because people who have it are seen to be honest, reliable and trustworthy.
People who work for a team leader with integrity know their leader sticks to their word, acknowledges their mistakes and respects the people working for them.
A leader with integrity is able to build trust with their team. When trust is built, open communication is also often established. When employees feel they can speak openly and be listened to, the team and the entire business benefits; ideas are shared and workplace issues are addressed and sorted quickly.
Do you spend time researching all the facts and analysing how each part affects the rest, before making a decision? If so, then you fit the description of an analytical thinker – a quality that could help you be a great team leader.
Analytical thinkers can weed out the necessary information from the rest, which speeds up decision making. Analytical thinkers are also skilled at finding information from trustworthy sources. For example, if you believe your team’s productivity can be improved by using a certain software, using your analytical thinking ability you can make a strong business for it.
Delegating tasks to the right people takes analytical thinking as you’ve got to match the task to the person with the required skill set.
Let’s face it, leadership is about people. Which is why empathetic individuals often make great team leaders.
As an empathetic leader, you can create strong bonds with your team. A bonded team trusts each other, encourages others, communicates well and can work through issues without conflict.
Empathetic leaders are also often great listeners. They make sure that they’re present in the ‘now’ and aren’t distracted. They don’t jump in to put their point across or to offer a solution. Instead, they wait and listen to understand what the person felt in that situation and, when it’s the right time, they offer support.
The benefit of this approach is that team members feel valued and, by understanding how people react to situations, you can be more prepared if something similar arises in the future.
As a team leader, you’re tasked with motivating your team. Yet, this isn’t always easy. That’s where a motivated team leader really shows their value.
By understanding the strengths of each team member, you can delegate tasks to them that they find interesting, which match their skillset or that will challenge them. You’ll listen to feedback from your team, see where skills gaps exist and work with HR to put a training and development plan in place to plug these gaps.
A good team leader also recognises that self-motivation is an influence in motivating their team. If you’re lacking motivation, it’s likely your team will too. It’s important to set your own goals as a team leader and recognise and reward yourself for doing a good job.
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