As a leader you will have the role of leading what may well be a very large team of people. With more organisations now operating across the globe, you may well find that you are also having to lead a virtual team located hundreds or potentially thousands of miles from where you are based. So what are my 8 top tips for leading teams?
Tip 1: Set clear goals or outcomes
If your team or teams are to achieve anything they need to have absolute clarity on what you expect them to deliver in terms of goals or outcomes. While in theory this might seem simple, too often leaders fall into the trap of setting very vague or ambiguous goals. To overcome this start by getting clear about what you want to be different 1, 3 or even 5 years from now and then narrow it down to a very clear purpose.
Tip 2: Facilitate more and direct less
As the leader of the team, think of yourself as the conductor of the orchestra rather than the person playing an instrument. Your role is to bring out the best from everyone in the team so that you get optimal performance and results.
Tip 3: Learn to listen
We were all given two ears and one mouth. Yet often you would think that it was the other way round. Don’t fall into the trap as the leader of the team of spending all of your time talking and little or none getting the contributions of others.
Tip 4: Reward team rather than individual performance
If someone is going to be rewarded just for what they do individually, what incentive is there to contribute to team performance? Aim to create reward structures that mean that if the team wins, everyone wins rather than being narrowly focused on individuals.
Tip 5: Be consistent
All leaders have their own style which is to be expected. At the same time it is important as a team member to have some sort of consistency in leadership style. There is nothing worse in having to guess what leader has turned up on a particular day so try to be as consistent as possible.
Tip 6: Be a role model
As the team leader you set the tone for the rest of the team. How you behave, how you interact, how you deal with difficulties and conflict will all impact on the team. Decide on the tone you want to set then model that for others.
Tip 7: Provide opportunity
One of the big attractions of being on a team is that you often get the chance to work with different people or to take on new challenges. Use this as an opportunity to grow and develop people.
Tip 8: Take responsibility and praise others
When things don’t go according to plan, take responsibility and don’t seek to apportion blame. When things go well don’t grab the glory and make appoint of praising others.
Bottom Line – Leading a team looks easy yet in truth it is hugely challenging. So what do you need to be doing to create more success as a team leader?
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.