Leading a team is hard work. Whether you’re CEO of a Fortune 100 company or a line-level manager, the challenges that face team leaders can be daunting. Building a strategy, aligning people around goals and objectives, and managing people all take time, effort, and discipline. Strong leaders know how to maximize the effectiveness of others. They are thoughtful in how they select and place people in roles that best leverage their talents and capabilities. This enables them to build competent and aligned teams. It also sets the stage for inspiring people to perform and celebrating collective victories along the way.
In my consulting experiences the best teams tend to be highly collaborative. They share responsibilities, keep lines of communication open, and are not afraid to provide each other with honest feedback. This builds camaraderie and helps people navigate difficult periods. Although team leaders must manage multiple responsibilities at any particular time, there are certain behaviors that drive team effectiveness. Below are the eight critical behaviors that will help you build a highly successful team.
- Set the Vision: Strong team leaders understand the power of vision setting. Outlining a clear and concise vision allows people to rally behind a unifying mission. It provides purpose and direction. It enables people to understand how their duties and responsibilities impact the overarching goal or objective. You should set a vision that motivates and inspires people. Look for opportunities to paint the landscape of the future. Let people know where you want to go, and give them hope that together you can get there.
- Seek Buy-in and Commitment: People need to buy-in to the vision. As a team leader, you have to bring people along for the journey. Soliciting input from team members as you craft out the vision becomes critical to its success. Share your ideas and thinking with others and ask for their feedback. This will strengthen collective commitment to the objectives at hand.
- Infuse People with Passion: People need inspiration. Once a vision has been agreed upon and put into motion, lead with passion. Let your efforts and activities serve as a model of excellence for others to follow. Bring energy, excitement, and enthusiasm to your work. Make sure people see your effort and determination. This will enable them to push through challenging and difficult times.
- Focus on Execution: Setting the vision is a great first step. However, to make it a reality people need to execute on key priorities. Meet with your team members individually and work with them to outline how their efforts will make the mission come to pass. Once priorities have been outlined, follow-up regularly to ensure progress is being made against goals. Work with people if problems arise. Be willing to course correct as issues surface. Most importantly, reward progress when people deliver on their commitments.
- Provide Support and Encouragement: Be a resource to your team. Strong team leaders have an open-door policy, and look to partner with others to drive results. They encourage people to go above and beyond stated expectations. They can lead from on high or get in the trenches with people when needed. Make sure to let your people know that they can turn to you, or others on the team, when support is needed.
- Be a Good Mentor and Coach: Good team leaders are active mentors and coaches. They take time to provide people with feedback and input. They look for opportunities to stretch peoples’ capabilities and provide them with ways to grow. Take time for each of your team members by scheduling regular one-on-one’s with them. Do not wait until the annual or semi-annual performance review. Encourage them to mentor or coach their people as well. This creates an organizational culture of mentorship and support.
- Celebrate the Victories: We can all get caught up in the pursuit of KPIs and team-related objectives. It is important to take time to celebrate the collective victories along the way. When team members accomplish their objectives, make sure to recognize their work. Share the victories across the team so people can be praised for a job well done. This will strengthen commitment to goals, and create a climate of positive energy for people to rally behind.
- Learn from Experiences: Effective team leaders take time to learn from experiences. They acknowledge what has worked and try to improve what did not work. They encourage people to take inventory of successes and failures. They use this information to make adjustments to the vision along the way. Make sure you carve out time to do this with your team. It helps bring closure to large scale projects and assignments, and gives people the opportunity to look towards the future.
Practice these eight critical leadership behaviors and you will be well on your way maximizing the effectiveness of your team.
For more information on team effectiveness, contact Bandelli & Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leadership Matters. Without It, People Fail.