Team leader (people side)-A A +A
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
THIS highlights key attitudes, skills and practices that relate to the people side of an effective team leader, which is organized into three sections -- two effective styles of a team leader, establishing a teamwork culture and fostering team spirit.
The Coaching and the Servant Style. These two effective and related styles of leadership propel the team leader toward being a facilitator. As a coach, the team leader makes on-the-spot suggestions for performance and offers team members frequent encouragement. The coach also blows the whistle when a team member makes a bad move such as ethical violation and offers suggestions for improvement. Coaching is also important because it adds a human touch to a competitive, seemingly unfeeling workplace. Its most important actions are provide specific feedback, provide ample positive reinforcement, active listener, give emotional support, reflect feelings, give constructive advice, be a model of what you expect and gain a commitment to change. As a servant leader, the team leader makes sure that the team is getting an equitable share of resources and rewards. Also, the servant leader helps keep the team focused on serving customers and building products or services.
Establishing a Teamwork Culture. Although top management has the lion’s share of the responsibility for establishing an organizational culture, the team leader contributes to a subculture that fosters teamwork. She or he promotes the attitude that working together effectively is an expected standard of conduct. As a team leader, get the team to spend time together. Team meetings (please refer to Sun.Star issue, July 11, 2012) are obviously important as are group breakfasts, luncheons and after-hour parties. Team leaders have to be careful not to exacerbate the ever expanding workweek for professionals. In addition to working together face-to-face, e-mail and telephone interactions help build teamwork. We also make frequent use of terms and phrases that support teamwork. Conversely, teams with the best teamwork have the best records of accomplishment.
Fostering Team Spirit. Top executives set a vision for the company, yet teams can have their own visions that support the vision at the top. The team leader spurs the team to establish a vision, mission or both. It is an important step forward in developing teamwork. Team members should be given reminders of what they are doing right and encouraged for actions they take that contribute to team goals. Unfortunately, not every member of the team has the talent to contribute as much as the stronger members. Welcome all input to encourage even modest contributions. There are times a very small suggestion makes the difference in a winning product. Of course, create opportunities for all members to perform well. Sometimes, a team leader performs many of the tasks performed by team members, including analytical work, calling on accounts and crunching numbers. There are times the team needs to laugh enough to raise morale, to increase the fun associated with the team task and to stimulate creativity. But the breakthrough team leader avoids the immaturity of a nonstop office clown.
As a formal leader in an organization, you still need to practice your teamwork skills. You need an up-to-date and highly effective set of attitudes to build on the fine sensitivity to team leadership you already possess.
In taking care of the human aspects of leadership, the team leader is doing an outstanding job.
(This is the eighth of a 10-series write-up on becoming an outstanding individual performer yet an excellent team player published every 2nd Wednesday and 4th Wednesday of the month. Send comments to email@example.com)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 25, 2012.