CHOOSING A CAREER / DEC. 26, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How to Become a Successful Team Leader

Team leader meeting office
istock

A team leader has an important responsibility in trying to bring people together to accomplish great things. Team leaders need to work with different personality traits and work ethics, while achieving great results. One downfall that some team leaders make is to rush into a project with a team and not have a methodical plan in place to accomplish goals. This article will address specific steps on how to become a successful team leader.

#1 Cultivate Solidarity

Maintaining a consistent solid team dynamic will go a long way toward helping the entire group succeed. An important first step is for the team leader to understand that getting to know each other on a more personal level is going to cement the team dynamic. It would be counter-productive for the team leader to rush into the work project immediately. Cultivating solidarity among the team will inspire more creativity which will help the group become more productive. Some ideas to help you get started are listed below.

  • Meet & Greet – Schedule the first team meeting to be a meet and greet. You want to begin to get team members accustomed to the idea that you mean business about cultivating relationships. Depending on the circumstances—whether you are in an office setting or working in an entrepreneurial setting—you will be meeting in the office or planning an outside meeting.
  • Make it Fun – Be sure to incorporate fun activities throughout the team project. Obviously, this needs to be planned within the confines of the current workplace environment so as not to detract from effective productivity. However, make every effort to cultivate fun when possible. Hold contests for the team and reward the team member with the most creative idea.

#2 Establish the Team Code

This step needs to happen in the beginning of the team project. A leader must establish the team code and express what he or she expects from the members. If this code is not established in the early stages of the project, it can lead to confusion later on. The team code should consist of the leader’s values and priorities and the methods that will be utilized to bring the group toward success.

  • Written Down – The team code needs to be clearly defined when sharing it with the group. Additionally, the leader should have the code written down and made available to the team so that there are no miscommunications.
  • Be Open – The team leader should be open to answer questions from the members regarding the code. Leaders need to be willing to hear the team members’ opinions about the code.

#3 Establish the Team Plan

The third factor is that the team plan needs to be established which clearly defines how the team dynamic will work as the goals are achieved. This plan must be planned in advance by the team leader and he or she needs to be confident in it that everything will succeed. As with the team code, the team plan also needs to be discussed during the early project stages.

  • Write it Down – Again, this team plan should be outlined and written down for the group to review and absorb. If the team does not have a clear definition of the action plan, they will not understand where you are directing them and how to get there.
  • Accept Adjustments – Team leaders need to be open to constructive advice from the members. A successful team is one where the members feel free to share their opinions and creative ideas for success.

#4 Keep Communication Lines Open

A successful team leader knows how to keep the communication lines open. When communication is established early on in the project, that action helps to alleviate potential miscommunication problems. During the first meeting, show the team members that you are open to their questions, concerns and suggestions. Don’t be afraid that you are communicating too much information. When it comes to being an open communicator, more information is better—provided you communicate in the most effective manner. Be a responder rather than a reactor and learn how to actively listen.

  • Contact – Be available for the team members, especially when you are up against tight deadlines. Make certain that you tell the team that they can come to you whenever they need to talk.
  • Assign – There may need to be a team hierarchy established where you assign a second-in-command etc. These assignments need to be clearly defined. Don’t allow any miscommunication in this area—where fighting amongst the team members occur because clear boundaries and assignments were not well-defined.

Being a successful team leader takes diligence and effort. However, the process is definitely worth its weight in gold when you see how many more goals you achieve. As detailed in this article, cultivating solidarity among the team members is the first step. Then the team leader needs to clearly define the team code and team plan. It is important for communication lines to be open at all times.

 

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