Becoming a team leader is often someone’s first experience of management responsibility. With many team leaders being promoted from within the team because they were good team members, they face a challenging time especially as they now have to manage their friends!
How can we develop good team leader qualities? What makes a good team leader? And what are the characteristics of a team leader that get results today?
In this article we look at five qualities any team leader should aspire to and then we’ll move on to cover what the key attributes and skills of a team leader are.
The qualities of a good team leader
A common mistake among newly-promoted team leaders is to throw their weight around as if they know it all. The usual result is that they rub their team up the wrong way before realising they need their cooperation to achieve the objectives.
Showing that you respect the skills, knowledge and contribution your team members make is a sure way to earn their respect.
So, one of the qualities of a good team leader is to work with your team and value their input
Making all decisions unilaterally rather than consulting your staff will often be unpopular especially when it involves major changes to the way they work.
Each team leader or manager will have a way they prefer to work. Before making any changes consider how these changes may affect people. One of the qualities a team leader can develop is ensuring their team understand the implications of the changes and don’t just arbitrarily introduce them
When individuals in the team are not happy they can sometimes be vocal in expressing their dissatisfaction. Rather than view this as a direct challenge to your authority, take the time to listen rather than become defensive. This quality of a team leader will endear them to their team members.
Learning to listen will help you to diffuse potentially explosive situations. It enables people to express their frustration and then calm down and speak more reasonably. This doesn’t mean that you as a team leader have to agree with everything they say but it does mean that you make the effort to understand.
This is one of the main qualities of a team leader that will make the team have more respect for you
One sure way to demonstrate your commitment to the role is to show what you can do. This means being a good role model for your team in terms of what you expect yourself in terms of behaviour.
Having being recognised as a strong team member it is worth remembering to show your skills to your colleagues without being arrogant. This will help to reinforce your authority as well as having the title.
This quality of a team leader will help your team members see how they can emulate your example in everything they do
One thing that unites us all as human beings is our capacity to make mistakes. Just because you are now the team leader it doesn’t mean this will stop. Of course, you will try harder not to make them, when it does happen be ready to admit them. This will enable your team to retain their own self-esteem when it happens to them knowing that it is okay to be open with these things.
Playing the ‘blame game’ will only mean that any future mistakes are hidden away possibly leading to far greater problems in the future. This is probably one of the key qualities you can develop as a team leader. It will encourage your team to admit to their mistakes too and encourage them to put quality first.
The attributes and skills of a team leader
Some team leaders think they can lead by telling their employees what to do. Others know that real leaders lead by example.
The greatest leaders, however, have special attributes that make them stand out from the crowd. Over the course of my experience as a trainer I’ve identified some of these special attributes and skills in others and I thought I’d share them with you in closing.
Great team leaders are sensitive. They understand that everyone has different concerns, needs, and interests and they do their best to address these differences.
Great team leaders have awesome communication and listening skills. They know that everyone has their own set of ideas, plans, and dreams. They listen to everyone and try to find ways to incorporate those interests.
Great team leaders share their own dreams, plans, and visions with their team members. They aren’t secretive and they refrain from merely working off of other people’s ideas.
Great team leaders are good at delegating. They are able to trust their team members and will give those who deserve it a significant amount of responsibility.
Great team leaders allow their team members to participate in the goal-setting and problem solving processes. They allow everyone to become a part of the process instead of just telling their team members what is going to happen next.
Great team leaders aren’t perfect and don’t pretend to be. They let their team members know about their own mistakes and use them as learning experiences.
What type of team leader are you?
Do you treat your team members fairly and include them in the decision making processes that dictate what they do on a daily basis? Do certain aspects of team leadership work better for you than others?
Becoming a team leader can be quite daunting and it could turn you into a bossy annoying tyrant. The qualities of a team leader we have shared here will help you develop the necessary skills to get the best from yourself and others. Bear these qualities in mind and you will develop useful management competencies for your future career.
Our Top 7 Competencies Of A Great Manager guide will provide you with additional qualities and skills that make up the modern day leader.
If you’re looking for Management Training and Leadership Courses then we can help you here at MTD. Whether it’s face to face or through our Online Management Training solutions we’ve got something to help you no matter where you are in your career.
Originally published: 24 April, 2019
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