Having the ability to create a capable, intelligent, and loyal team regardless of the people you are provided may in fact be the most impressive skill any leader can have. If you don’t believe me, recall how much the movie Moneyball impressed you, or even the movie 300. In our previous article, we discussed the importance of promoting teamwork in a work environment. In this article we are going to provide some tips and tricks on how to go about creating an effective, cohesive team.
1) Understand the importance of great leadership
It’s important that every team has a clear leader, someone that takes the steering wheel when things get rocky, but at the same time doesn’t mind delegating work and putting his team into cruise control.
As a leader, you need to realize that without your team, you are practically nothing. Sure Michael Jordan lead the 95-96 Bulls with 916 FG’s, but where would have he been if it wasn’t for Scottie Pippen and Toni Kukoc feeding him those beautiful passes. And on top of that, where would have any of those legends been if it wasn’t for Phil Jackon’s insight and leaderships skills that guided them to a National Championship title.
The point is that any great team needs to have a great leader. One who is able to identify strengths of each of his “players” and capitalizes on that knowledge to create a well-oiled, properly maintained machine that produces nothing but excellence. A leader must not only understand the strengths of everyone he or she oversees, but also the egos, personal desires, and work ethic of each person in order to satisfy everyone’s needs.
2) Be compassionate about other team members and their ideas
When in charge of a team, it’s easy to make the mistake of seeing the team as a single unit. It’s wise to take moments where you step back and realize that it consists of individuals, each who have their own opinions, emotions, and ideas.
The biggest mistake a leader can make is to shoot down ideas of his or her’s teammates. Although an idea may not be the most suitable for a given task, it could perhaps be a great suggestion for a different assignment. There always needs to be room for brainstorming where all ideas, good and bad alike, can be taken into consideration, so that everyone on your team knows they have a voice.
Another mistake that is easy to avoid is not giving praise or appreciation when it is deserved. And I’m not talking about that fake flattery that a lot of bosses dish out, but rather honest appreciation. This will only increase morale in the team, and give each team member the confidence to continue achieving at their best.
Last but not least regarding this topic is knowing how to give criticism. Never start a meeting with a team member by condemning, even if you think you are trying to be nice about it. Instead, try either first by praising their accomplishments you’ve noticed recently, or secondly by discussing some mistakes you’ve made recently so that they understand that you are aware that mistakes are normal and everyone makes them. On top of that, if your team member has made the same mistake that you’ve perhaps made in the past, tell them what you did to avoid the mistake in the future. This will further create a deeper bond between you and the people on your team.
3) Clarify the goals and purposes of the team as well as for each individual
One of the hardest jobs as a team leader is making sure all tasks are met effectively by deadline. You have to be very astute in assigning tasks to different people as well grasping the bigger picture.
Make sure you are having meetings often to have the team understand what is expected from them and which tasks have priority. Make sure every one understands the larger picture before delegating more specific tasks.
Once the group is on the same page regarding a task, make sure you apply appropriate tasks to each individual. Also, make sure the instructions you give aren’t vague, for this only leaves room for error on both of your parts. This will only suck up more time and resources!
Each of the responsibilities you assign must be interconnected, so that everyone is aware of the progress being made. Of course this is where you need to keep an eye out for the talented “team players” on your team. These are the people whom, even though may not be the most skillful employee, are an asset when it comes working in a “system.” Being able to identify these people and assigning them the right tasks could make or break whether your product is applauded by the bosses upstairs.
Let us know if you have any tricks up your sleeves that has propelled you to being a great leader in your workplace! Also, if this blog has struck a cord with you make sure to subscribe so you can stay up to date with further posts.