Developing yourself as a team leader

So you are a new manager with a team eager to get to work. What key traits should you develop?

Communication is the first one that springs to mind. Your team need to feel free to have conversations and communicate ideas and issues which are important to the success of your projects. Your ability to communicate the values and mission of the team will be vital to keeping conversations on point and relevant to the project in hand. The ability to offer and manage a space where team conversations can be had with respect, trust and honesty is a fundamental managerial skill.

Organisational skill is another prerequisite for a successful team leader. A team in chaos, with no idea where to start with a project, is bound to be doomed to failure. By developing your own organisational skills you will be able to define the needs of work projects, express your expectations, allocate roles and responsibilities effectively and ensure that agreed targets are hit or re-evaluated as needed.

Encouraging diversity and developing a diverse team will ensure you benefit from the views of individuals who have different experiences, cultures and, ultimately, solutions. If the team you manage is already in place, then exploring widening the team and gaining new opinions when you can, on a project-by-project basis, can only be a good thing.

Being appreciative and showing appreciation for the efforts of your co-workers is a valuable and intangible quality. Verbal thanks go a long way, as do appropriate and tangible rewards. The team will inevitably go through rough patches or periods when extra input is required. A team that values and respects others’ inputs will invariably do better than those teams where aggression and mistrust are the first emotions that come to the fore.

Teams tend to hit problems when individuals have clashing opinions or some people feel they are working harder than others. Usually there is a relatively simple solution to these types of problems. The key is to listen and evaluate. It may be that the person who is viewed as a ‘slacker’ is feeling insecure and is not confident in their ability, or lacks the training to carry out the job they have been allocated. Training and upskilling may solve this quickly. Part of the manager’s role is to encourage people to be curious, since exploring new skills or ideas can only benefit the team as a whole.

One of EI World’s key services is the development and coaching of team leaders, so whether you are leading a new team, preparing to develop a new team after a merger or acquisition or dealing with a team in conflict, our programme can help.

As one of our past clients says: “I have stepped up my ability to deal with the CEO and the Executive team. I have formed thoughts on how to lead a team, particularly a new team. I have learned how to manage and support upwards, set personal boundaries and be more relaxed and in control. I appreciated the coach’s 6th sense and calm approach.”

General Manager, FTSE 250 Company

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