Leading a team is a huge responsibility, whether you’re doing it temporarily or as a career. It’s your job to facilitate collaboration and create the right atmosphere for people to perform at their best. A lot of taxing work falls into the lap of a team leader, and you need to be prepared to face the challenges. While some leadership skills are learned through trial and error, there are many skills you can equip yourself with now to be a better leader:
Build Strong Communication
Nothing will get accomplished if everyone seems to be speaking a different language. Strong communication is the key to getting anything done. All members of a team deserve equal time to be heard. This means considering opposing viewpoints and being open to a wide variety of ideas. When you make sure everyone has time to speak, you’re opening up the door to new perspectives that can have an innovative influence on the way a task is seen through to completion.
Learn the Basics
One of the best ways to learn the basics of team management is through project management courses. Furthering your education is never a bad idea – you’d be surprised how many times the additional credentials can come in handy. Even if you’ve taken project management courses in the past, you’ll benefit from brushing up on current standards and new techniques. Moreover, any courses you take will look good on your resume and show that you are interested in your personal and professional development.
The last thing your team members need is to fear being thrown under the bus when an idea doesn’t work out. As the leader, it’s your responsibility to be accountable for any decisions the team has made. You won’t win every time – that’s simply not how the world works. So when an idea inevitably falls through, it’s your job to take the flak – and then dissect the situation and develop an alternative route without assigning blame to others. A blame game is a serious productivity killer, and nobody can work when everyone is bickering.
Tailor Your Approaches
There will never be one single correct way to do things. No one has ever become an innovator by refusing to color outside the lines. Different circumstances require different methods of action, and sometimes your team members may understand the best approach better than you do. So you need to encourage them to innovate. Working with a diverse team that possesses a greater understanding of the smaller aspects of each task will help you – and your team – find the road to greatness.
Be Honest and Fair
Effective team management never involves lying. Understating the complexity of a task or unfairly delegating complicated workplace chores will make you an enemy – not a reliable leader. You should always be as honest as possible with your team if you want things to work out. If your team perceives you as selfish and demanding, they won’t be willing to do their best for you. They deserve better and you deserve better. Transparency is a crucial component to team management, and it can help you move mountains.
Managing a team isn’t always easy, but with a little foresight and the right mindset, it’s easy to be successful. A lot rides on your shoulders as the leader, but never forget to demonstrate your appreciation for your team for helping you turn your vision into reality.
Sophia Beirne is passionate about providing helpful content and sharing her tips and experiences. She has featured in a number of online publications. With a background in business administration, she’s most interested in entrepreneurship and effective project management.