Team Leadership – How to Be the Team Leader Everyone Wishes They Had

Leadership refers to a person's ability to guide and inspire themselves as well as others to act. Learn about the core competencies required to succeed in self leadership and team leadership.

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine meets with volunteers

What is Team Leadership?

Team leadership refers to the processes involved in directing, coaching, evaluating, and inspiring a team toward common goals.

Success as a team leader requires not just an understanding of each team member’s unique skills and strengths, but also the ability to foster a sense of collaboration and inclusivity. This dual skill set is indispensable, whether you’re leading a team in a professional setting or steering a group project in the classroom.

Related Concepts: Critique; Mindset, Growth Mindset, Intellectual Openness; Professionalism & Work Ethic; Resilience; Self-Regulation & Metacognition


What Are The Characteristics of Effective Team Leaders?

Being an effective team leader requires a variety of competencies and dispositions:

  1. Vision and Inspiration: Leaders are recognized by their actions. They independently or consultatively identify a vision for the future and inspire others to support it.
  2. Effective Communication: Using tools like Slack, Twitter, or Google Docs, leaders ensure that all team members are empowered to contribute to the evolving group vision.
  3. Resource Management: Besides identifying and securing personnel, effective leaders make sure their team has access to essential resources, such as books, articles, or software
  4. Ethical Behavior and Decision Making: Leaders inspire through ethical behavior, empowering diverse opinions, and making evidence-based decisions. They foster a culture of openness, fairness, and mutual respect within the team.
  5. Adaptability: Leaders are flexible, adjusting and revising visions in response to obstacles and failures.
  6. Creating a Meritocracy: Leaders distinguish fact from opinion and allocate credit appropriately, thereby preventing credit-hogging within the team.
  7. Fair Delegation and Recognition: Effective leaders not only delegate tasks judiciously but also ensure each team member’s efforts are acknowledged and appreciated.
  8. Task Management and Accountability: Leaders define and assign roles based on assignment requirements and team members’ strengths. They also prioritize tasks and track progress, key components of task management.
  9. Valuing Team Input: Good leaders are flexible enough to adjust plans based on team feedback, even if it involves complex restructuring or simple revisions.
  10. Decision-making with Integrity: Leaders act with integrity and fairness, always striving for what’s best for the team and the project.
  11. Addressing Challenges: Leaders manage challenges like a team member’s inability to complete a task or conflicts with assignment expectations, essential aspects of crisis management.
  12. Fostering Team Culture: Leaders set an example by being a role model of ethical behavior, instilling these values in their team members.
  13. Overcoming Egotistical Leadership: Effective leaders avoid narcissism, as it can disrupt team stability and cause unnecessary work. They’re open to feedback and strive for a collaborative environment where everyone can shine.
  14. Developing Leadership Competencies: Mastering essential competencies like performance management and conflict management helps leaders to navigate challenges and adapt smoothly.

References

Oliveri, M., Lawless, R., & Molloy, H. (2017). A literature review on collaborative problem solving for workforce readiness. GRE Board Research Report Series and ETS Research Report Series, 1-27. Doi:10.1002/ets12133

Workplace Bullying Institute. (2012). 2012 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey. https://workplacebullying.org/2021-wbi-survey/

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