What does it take to be a team leader?

The ability to lead a team well is an art. It’s a gift. Everyone thinks they can do this but in my experience, that’s just not true. Yet to become a great leader, this is probably the place where we begin. A leader of 10. A leader of a small group and taking them somewhere.

Team leaders are a part of the common cause that drives other individuals to become part of the team. They may have ultimate responsibility but how they lead the team will determine how successful or otherwise the team becomes.

Here’s 5 quick things to help you become a better team leader:

Know why the team exists. Why does the team actually exist? Why are you here? If you don’t know the cause then what’s the point of even turning up. Keep the ‘why’ at the forefront of all you do otherwise the team will create its own agenda and sense of purpose.

Be good with people. If you are not good with people then don’t expect to be a good team leader. ‘This is the way I am’ is not an excuse. A team leader is responsible for the care of the team members, for knowing more than their name and the task they must complete. Learn about people to become good with people.

Make it fun. There are times when being a task-master is important, after all we are in this team to achieve something. Just remember along the way or when it’s done to celebrate, have a party, acknowledge the success, say ‘thank-you’.

Be prepared. Once you know why the team exists, start thinking about ‘what’ the team must do and ‘how’ the team could actually do it. Think strategically. Have some ideas. Make some notes. Lay out a plan. Get yourself prepared. It’s not all on you as leader but the team will expect that you have at least given it some thought.

Have an open mind. You may be prepared with a plan but don’t exclude the rest of the team. You might be the leader but that doesn’t mean you have a monopoly on good ideas. Encourage contribution. Empower them to own the vision. Let them see that you don’t only speak but that you listen too. Use some of their ideas.

Great team leaders are an essential part of seeing a vision fulfilled. If you are their leader then remember that they need support, resources and lots of encouragement. You may never see the vision accomplished without them. Find them. Care for them. Feed them. Be there for them.

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