How to be a Successful Team Leader

26 May 2023
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Team leaders are experienced members of the team who guide their team members to achieve a common goal as they work together. They pick the direction the whole team goes, monitor the work processes, and report the team’s progress and issues to a supervisor.

If you’ve just got a position of a team leader or you are striving to do so, it would be helpful for you to know what makes a team leader an effective one.   

Team leader’s responsibilities

Talking about leadership, we mostly think about the responsibilities every leader has. They usually include the following aspects:

  • Uniting the team. It is a core responsibility of a team leader to unite their team, ensure members work together, and strive to make the process effective. 
  • Delegating. A good team leader knows how to delegate. They also should clearly understand the roles of their team members in the working process and the relationship between them.
  • Planning aims and goals. One of the most important tasks of any leader is to lead, that is to decide which route the team should go to reach their goals.
  • Tracking the team’s progress. A team leader tracks all the updates on the working process and communicates them with the team and supervisor (or sometimes with some other stakeholders). Thus, they also should communicate the upper management’s feedback with their team members, so a team leader plays a linking role between their team and bosses. 

How to be a Successful Team Leader

The difference between team leaders and managers

Sometimes it is difficult to draw a line between a team leader’s competencies and a manager’s. Both share similar responsibilities: problem-solving, progress monitoring, strategizing, etc. However, team leaders usually manage small teams, while managers may be responsible for entire projects and departments, and often they supervise team leaders, as well. Also, team leaders usually have less experience in managing employees’ work.

The qualities of a successful team leader

All successful people have their weaknesses and they are often absolutely different, but strengths typically repeat and constitute a pattern by which we can judge with some certainty whether a person can manage the duties of a team leader or not. Here we describe some qualities which successful team leaders usually have. These are the traits of a strong team leader:

  • Communication skills. Communication is the key to the work in a team, and it is especially important to be a skilled communicator if you are a leader of the team. A team leader should clearly broadcast their thoughts and hear and accept the feedback from their team members: whether they have suggestions or concerns.
  • Confidence. If a team leader is confident, they are able to encourage the team to believe in themselves and motivate them to push themselves harder.
  • Delegating. A good team leader is not afraid to delegate some responsibilities, and they know which tasks exactly can be delegated and who is the best person to complete a certain task.
  • Empathy. An empathic leader can create an environment where all team members feel safe to ask questions, give suggestions, and communicate their doubts and concerns.
  • Fairness. Every person in the team should be equal, no favoritism is possible.
  • Flexibility. Flexibility is a good quality for any job position, but it is absolutely essential when you manage the whole team.

How to be a Successful Team Leader

Perfect team leader checklist

We’ve already provided you with quite a detailed picture of an exemplary leader, but maybe you will easier recognise a perfect team leader in yourself by actions. You can be a good team leader if:

  1. You demonstrate the attitude and behavior you want to see in your team members. 
  2. You are an active member of the team: you do your share of work and inspire others.
  3. You uphold the rules established by your organization, so the members of your team will be more likely to do the same. 
  4. Show your appreciation that you have the chance to work together with such wonderful people as your team members, so they will be more likely to do their best.
  5. You talk openly with your team about their strengths and areas for improvement, your own weaknesses and strengths, and issues the team is experiencing 
  6. You ask questions and demonstrate your willingness to learn, showing your team your open-mindedness and respect.
  7. You inform your team mates about the updates on the project, so they feel included.

How to be a Successful Team Leader

Conclusion

If at this moment you don’t have all the traits of an ideal team leader in you, you should know that all qualities and skills come with experience, very few people are born leaders — in general, they become ones. 

So believe in yourself and keep improving your game!

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