How to become a successful team leader
From communication to innovation, the role of a team leader is one of the most important in any organisation. We’ve put together some key skills and qualities needed to motivate your team and achieve your business goals.
Communication is key
Every successful manager should know how to communicate effectively. As many team leader’s know, it’s not always just what you say but how you say it that has a direct impact on the people you work with.
- Be specific, direct and clear
- Give simple and actionable directions
- Be open and friendly to encourage follow up questions
- Listen more than you speak
Successful leaders also focus on non-verbal communication, aligning body language to their messages. Eye contact, gestures and posture can all effectively help you to develop your position as a trustworthy communicator and team leader.
Acknowledge good performance
Good team leaders always acknowledge the performances, skills and talents of their team members. Praise even minor improvements in performance and you’ll improve productivity across the whole team.
High levels of recognition by team leaders have been shown to boost employee engagement and motivate staff. Remember to praise the unsung heroes as well as the visible stars in your team.
Acknowledging high performance is also a key strategy in retaining top talent. However, remember that if you’re going to celebrate success, you’ll also need to be supportive in failure.
Don’t be indecisive
Decisive leaders make firm, clear decisions that let your team members know exactly where they stand. Being decisive depends upon having the right information to back up your choices.
However, sometimes you may not have all the information you need to make an easy decision. As a leader, your company’s overall objectives should always factor into your decision making, so that it comes from a professional, rather than personal, standpoint.
Plan and prioritise
If you want your team to achieve the best results, you need to plan and prioritise. Team management is more effective when you can approach each project with a series of well-defined tasks and a specific order in which to tackle them.
Failing to take the time to plan and prioritise can have adverse effects across the board in terms of scheduling, quality and costs. Good leaders will:
- Consult with their team
- Delegate when appropriate
- Tackle difficult tasks head-on
- Use effective planning and prioritisation tools
- Schedule priorities effectively
Good team leaders uphold an open-door policy. Your team should know that they can always approach you whenever they need to.
Maintain contact through one-on-one sessions and regular catch ups. Use your team’s performance appraisals as a useful tool to nurture a culture of openness and inclusivity for all team members.
A confident team leader can build lasting relationships based on trust and credibility. Drawing from previous experience, confidence in your performance will influence how your team regards you as a leader. Gain the trust and respect of your team, and you’ll grow in confidence.
Confident leaders display:
- A clear and consistent vision
- Satisfaction in their work
- An ability to make others feel significant
- The ability to effectively manage change
Fairness and integrity are essential qualities in any leader. They allow you to deal with all employees with impartiality and consistency, which, in turn, brings out the best in your team. Be careful to monitor employees’ complaints and follow these strategies for remaining fair and consistent:
- Involve your team in critical decision making
- Involve key team members in hiring decisions
- Give credit to all team members
- Share tasks around the team or allow employees first choice
Inspire and innovate
Leaders who bring new thoughts, ideas and processes to the table to improve the way in which the team works. An effective leader will always strive to improve not just themselves but their team, aligning their achievements to the organisation’s goals.
Build a culture of innovation in your team, and you’ll consistently find ways to improve and drive success.