Leading your team effectively is vital to its strength and cohesion. Here are seven tips for being an effective team leader.
1. Be a Good Coach
While education and training are important aspects of learning to do a job well, plenty of learning also happens on the job. players should always be improving their skills and one of the best ways you can effectively lead them in this endeavor is to be a good coach. Coaching means you need to encourage your players to practice self-evaluation and develop a learning or improvement plan so players know what areas to focus on and can break training down into easily-achievable chunks. Coaching is part of a set of effective sales manager skills, for example. Much of the experience that you need to be an effective sales representative comes from practical experience, which means that coaching is one of the best ways to help your team members learn on the job.
2. Leverage Performance Management
You need to be proactive to be a good team leader. The best way to do this is to focus on performance management. Using this management focus, you’re more likely to be able to effectively plan for the future with your team members. You can craft long-term and short-term plans for individual team members and the whole team, compile useful resources and set up various training methods in advance. Performance management typically utilizes a cycle of planning, checking in and reviewing, which allows team leaders to provide continuous feedback, build trust and discuss what worked and what didn’t.
3. Build an Effective Team
It might seem obvious, but your team can help you become an effective leader just as much as anything you do individually can. To effectively lead your team, you need to ensure the team members can work well together and that their skills complement each other. Make sure your team consists of a variety of personalities, interests and skillsets. For example, a sales team could consist of marketing professionals, sales representatives who enjoy giving in-person presentations or traveling and IT professionals. Building an effective team also establishes a bedrock of trust among the team.
4. Be a Role Model
Being an effective leader also means more than just managing your team members and their projects. You must also demonstrate the kind of behavior you want to see. You need to act as a role model for your team. While you won’t be working on improving the same skills as every single one of your team members, but if you show them that you’re working on learning and improving in your own areas of weakness, it will make your team members more likely to work on their own development plans.
5. Use Performance Analytics Effectively
The numbers are important, but you also need to analyze the context for the data you receive on your team members’ performances. If someone is performing consistently well in most areas or projects but weaker in other areas, talk to him or her about what might be causing that discrepancy and work together on a development plan. The numbers can give you basic information on performance but are only one aspect of performance.
6. Empower Your Team
You can be a more effective leader by empowering your team. No one wants to be told what to do all the time, so creating a collaborative experience can help your team members feel more involved and invested in team management and working together toward common goals. Encourage team members to speak up at team meetings and in meetings with other departments within your organization. Additionally, encourage your team to make suggestions for changes or updates. If a team member thinks of a good way to improve some strategy, supporting him or her in suggesting that idea makes you a supportive leader.
7. Practice Good Communication
Good leadership requires good communication skills. You must practice good communication in-person, over the phone and video calls and over text applications. You also need to be aware of your most comfortable communication style and those of your players. Make sure you schedule individual check-ins with your team members once a week or so for private discussions and try to get the whole team together once a week as well. Leadership also requires you to effectively communicate information from the top of the organization down to your team and from your team to your superiors. Make sure your team is aware of changes to the organization’s strategy or goals. Give your team confidence that you’ll act as an effective representative of their needs to your supervisors.
If you hone your leadership skills and continuously support your team, you’ll increase the team members’ faith in you and confidence in their own abilities.