Great leaders are difficult to find, and who you select to lead a team will have positive and negative long-term effects. Not only does a leader need to drive a team to be successful, but their performance and efficacy tie directly to their team members’ level of engagement.
Successful organizations can credit their achievements and growth to effective team leadership. Influential leaders know that building up the individuals around them is the best way to achieve their goals. However, what goes into being a great leader? What kind of person is needed to take a team from good to great?
What are the Features of Good Team Leadership?
Team members often expect their leaders to wear different hats, and leaders must adapt their management style in certain situations. For example, a team leader may be accountable for the following:
- Guiding business strategy and execution
- Keeping track of project progress and ensuring members stay informed
- Building relationships by fostering open team communication
- Motivating people to reach their team and individual goals and milestones
- Coaching teams to get back on track when strategies go awry
- Supporting company culture and boosting team spirit when morale is low
Team leaders are expected to fulfil a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Project manager, motivator, mentor, role model, liaison. Finding someone who can juggle all these roles effectively can be challenging.
Interestingly, leadership roles all require the same fundamental characteristics. You will find the following traits in many high-performance leaders:
Implementing the company’s vision begins and ends with team leaders. Excellent leaders help their team visualize their shared goals and communicate the importance and impact of the team’s day-to-day work. When leaders align their team with the company’s business strategy and vision, they will find their employees are more engaged and have a more positive work experience.
When it comes to getting things done, time is of the essence, including the time it takes to make decisions. Decisive leaders make informed decisions while also considering timelines. The leader’s decision-making process sets the team’s pace and tone: a confident approach is critical to steady productivity.
Inspiring leaders who motivate their team members without barking orders or micromanaging them will quickly build a more collaborative work environment. Of course, a leadership title doesn’t always equate to influence; respect is earned, not guaranteed, and it takes consistency. In addition, influential leaders can be vulnerable, connecting emotionally with their team to build long-lasting relationships.
The less ego that exists, the better when leading a team. Leaders who check their egos at the door listen more effectively, reflect, and learn from the people around them. But they are still confident. Humility and confidence are a fantastic combination resulting in a leader who can act decisively and with empowerment while not being blinded by their pride.
Humility requires leaders to acknowledge that they do not have all the answers; they are able to admit when they are wrong, often a rare trait. Self-aware leaders regard team members as assets, not threats, which will motivate their team members.
To move your business to the next level, you should put your faith in leaders who take risks to achieve their goals. In turn, courageous leaders inspire outside-the-box thinking, take appropriate risks, and try new approaches. Still, there are plenty of times when a risk-averse mentality is just as valuable. For example, an influential leader who is risk-averse will understand when it is OK to push the boundaries when a decision requires more sensitivity.
Effective leaders practice what they preach. It is because of the leader that a team will believe in what they are doing. Passionate leaders care about their work, their business, and their team development. To them, it is not just a job.
Why is Leadership Important in a Team?
A team’s success and effectiveness depend mainly on the leadership, which, when good, will keep team members accountable, execute strategic plans and delegate duties properly. However, the overall happiness of a successful team also depends on good leadership.
You have probably heard the phrase, “People don’t leave jobs; they leave bad managers.” Likewise, it’s also true that “People don’t always stay for the job but will for a good leader.”
How do you choose a team leader?
Choosing team leaders is one of the most crucial decisions a company will make, as they will impact the overall health and success of the organization, both short- and long-term. In addition, a team that performs well reflects the quality of the leader. So, it’s helpful to consider the following when selecting a new team leader:
- A candidate who empowers others rather than flexes their power. A leader will bring the team together if they are both a guide and a mentor.
- A candidate who leads by example. A person who walks the walk and acts according to company goals is easier for a team member to relate to.
- A candidate who uses their communication skills and shares their vision, expectations, and directions. They will eliminate confusion and keep the team on task and meeting deadlines.
- A candidate whose core competencies relate to the business strategy at hand. The best leader is one whose skills correlate to the team’s goals.
In summary, when picking a great team leader, you should look for someone well-rounded who genuinely inspires and motivates people.
What Skills Does a Good Team Leader Have?
Team leaders naturally possess skills that inspire trust, collaboration, and respect from the team. They:
- Listen to others: Leaders with strong verbal and written communication skills listen respectfully to input from other people. They understand that having diverse viewpoints on their team is essential.
- Delegate effectively: By delegating important tasks to other people, they foster leadership and responsibility in their team members, enabling them to focus on higher-level responsibilities.
- Build strong team relationships: A team builder is good at developing and strengthening new and existing relationships.
- Facilitate with strength: Leaders must help their team understand their goals and strategic plans. Good facilitation and communication skills allow team members to recognize the importance of their work objectives.
- Are resilient when encountering adversity: Even the best-laid business plans can fall apart. The manner in which a leader responds to roadblocks influences how the team will respond.
What is an Effective Leader?
An effective leader has a purpose that goes beyond their own personal agenda. One with the personality and leadership skills to drive growth and innovation.
There’s no magic formula for what makes a great leader and, in turn, a great team. However, with the correct combination of skills and characteristics, a qualified leader can effectively empower and inspire a team and lead them to victory.
Our experienced team at ALIGN can help you find outstanding leaders and develop outstanding teams. Give us a call