It can be a hard life leading a team.
Team Leaders are strongly influenced by the whims of Senior Managers who demand unquestioning loyalty to strategy, and require them to implement policy and procedures even if they are defective.
They also have to contend with the day-to-day reality of their team members who want problems solved, who need better resources, who need reassurance, who need feedback and who sometimes resist new strategies and systems.
Then there is that other demanding group – customers, both internal and external, who want immediate answers, quotations and ideas.
The dizzying pace of change in organisations further complicates this already difficult existence of the Team Leader.
So in that mix, how do you engage with your team? Here are some tips that will help.
The Team Leader is a vital conduit for clarity of information. They are the puller and pusher of information that people need to have, delivering the right information for the right people at the right time, in a format that makes sense.
- Growth requires light and Team Leaders must be able to ‘shed light’ on everything.
- They must ensure everyone understands the full picture and the organisations unique ‘language’.
- Team Leaders must show team members where they fit within the organisational structure, and why their role helps achieve those goals.
It’s widely recognised that team members can be de-motivated by things Team Leaders do and say to them. The opposite must also therefore be true.
- Enthusiasm is contagious and the Team Leader must be a ‘carrier’. Show team members you believe in them; you have confidence they can achieve.
Every team member needs to know what is expected of them.
- The Team Leader’s role is clear – make sure everyone in their sphere of influence knows the standards expected and make sure these exert sufficient pressure to stretch individuals to deliver the best results.
- If people know the target to aim at, and know it’s achievable and fair compared with others, they will give it their best shot.
- The targets can take the form of sales, margins, quotas, quality, commissions, and project completion - early and under budget.
Linked to the above, the leader is in a unique position to make sure that individuals are recognised for the success they achieve.
- It’s not necessarily about promotion; it’s about self-esteem and positive feedback.
- Success feels good and is catching, other people want some and the leader can give it.
Keep your eyes and ears open
The above influences do not stand alone; they are a constantly interwoven sequence. Some people need more than others at different times.
- Leaders need to have their ‘finger on the pulse’ – who needs what and when.
- When something goes right, even something small, make sure your team knows you appreciate their efforts.
It can be a hard life leading a team but doing the above will keep your team engaged.
Contact us to discuss how Bray Leino Learning can help you develop your managers and provide them with the tools and techniques to transform their ability and confidence.
Nigel Walpole, MD, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on some of the key issues facing managers in the workplace - lessons learnt, tips for success and general musings.
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