The Fundamentals of Leading a Team
Leading teams of any size can be a challenge, and the experience is unique to every different team, organisation and industry. In order to retain employees, satisfy customers, and improve company productivity, you need people who can effectively communicate the organisation’s goals, guide others, and influence change.
Due to the uniqueness of every business, there is no step-by-step guide to leading others in the workplace. However, there are a few fundamental concepts to keep in mind that can help leaders find their footing in their leadership roles.
Becoming an effective leader doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process, and growing as a leader comes from training, experience and evaluation.
The key ideas to keep in mind are…
When it comes to long-term team success, it’s important that every member of the team is performing to the best of their ability, and there will be times that they’re not.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to monitor how your team members are performing and address it when they may not be doing as well as they should. Many of us may hold back when offering feedback to protect the feelings of the individual, or perhaps to avoid any conflict. It need not be said that dishonest feedback is not beneficial in the long run, on an individual, team or organisation level.
With the right tools, it is possible to deliver honest feedback without being mean or making your employee feel attacked. This comes with strong communication skills. It is also important to offer positive feedback to team members when they succeed or perform well. This ensures that your team feel valued and are therefore more likely to receive any negative feedback well, should it be required down the line.
As highlighted above, honesty is fundamental to leading a successful team. It is a crucial aspect of building strong relationships with those under your leadership. It is also important that you foster healthy inter-team relationships.
Being open and honest with employees where possible makes you appear more empathetic and part of the team, rather than just a leader who is disconnected from everyone else. The more open you are about the organisation’s goals and challenges, the easier it is for employees to understand their role and the expectations on them in helping the organisation achieve said goals. It also builds trust, which means employees are more likely to communicate any issues. This helps you create a healthy culture and squash any issues before they become bigger problems.
Something useful that ties into the above discussion of feedback is how placing value on everyone’s contributions can build a more successful team. Celebrating successes and encouraging a culture of working toward a shared goal provides your team with a sense of purpose and inspires loyalty and togetherness.
There is of course a line, and relationships between managers or leaders and their team members should be different from inter-team relationships, but nonetheless, providing teams with a sense of trust and belonging by fostering healthy relationships serves the interest of everybody!
Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses.
Teams require leaders for a reason, and creating a strong team means there are times that you will need to be decisive and take control or action. Being decisive and relying on your unique understanding of the organisation’s goals and objectives is key to long-term success. This kind of behaviour requires confidence, which only comes from knowing who you are as a leader.
Leaders who know their own skillsets know when to reassess a situation and recognise when someone else’s ideas or approach may be beneficial. All of this comes with good communication skills. Leaders are there to be a guide and know which direction to take when others don’t.
The above-mentioned strong relationships aid in this process, if your team is effective at communication and is built on trust, how you handle situations and decisions becomes much easier. Trust between yourself and your employees allows you to influence them and guide them better!
Ultimately there is no one size fits all approach to being a leader but being successful in leading a team revolves around honesty and openness, creating trust, and being self-assured in your own ability. Any leadership role requires you to assess your strengths and evaluate who you are as a communicator and collaborator, and then on you taking steps to evolve and grow because you know your weaknesses.
You can improve and grow as a leader by working on your soft skills, asking for feedback on your own performance and simply by experience. Trainer Bubble offers a range of training materials and e-learning products, which can be used to develop your own leadership skills or the skills of leaders and managers within your business.
Explore our leadership e-learning courses, leadership classroom materials or the full range here, or contact us to see how we can help.