Leading Great Teams

Leading Great Teams

Today, as organizations become more advanced and knowledge becomes commonplace through the use of technology, leaders are realising the importance of a team.  Slowly, the individualistic thinking and siloed culture are being eroded and there is acknowledgement of the appreciation of skills and competencies that others bring to the table.  Every good leader knows the value of a focussed and high performing team as well as the associated risks of leading an unhappy one.

As a manager, who would have led quite a few teams of varied cultures, ability levels and age both virtually and daily face to face engagement, it is not so much an easy task. The good news is that leading a great team does not require you to be brightest person on the team but you need to unabashedly articulate and give value to the quality of each and every single person on that team.

A disenchanted employee drains energy, stifles innovation and dampens morale. An engaged employee fuels team spirit, heightens the learning environment and carries an infectious energy that benefits everyone. The leader then, must spend a great deal of time and prioritize building every person on the team in order to sustain the growth of the organization.

Leading great teams requires self-confidence

As a leader it requires confidence in self to allow other people to shine. A team cannot be great if its members do not get the opportunity to stand up and stand out. After all, greatness is no secret trait. Great people are never honoured in the dark. The greatest form of self-confidence is the ability to step back and allow another to do the work they do best and give them the credit for it. The first requirement then for leading a great team, is confidence in your self, your competencies, your value. When you have these, you do not get ill feelings about your colleagues’ own excellence.

Recruit well, train better

Make sure you have the right people on your team. If you get the opportunity to choose, be sure to look for the right combination of skills, competencies, attitude and personality. As leaders, we tend to recruit ourselves, so we have to be careful not to select persons who are like us rather persons who complement our competencies. This is critical to achieving the organization’s goals.

However, well we recruit or whoever we inherit, we must train better and harder.  Great employees are not great by accident, they go through a lot of development to become what they are. Whether you are a new or experienced leader, you must seek out opportunities and stretch projects to enhance the skills of your employees and it does not only apply to new hires. Your development activities must be on-going as people need training throughout their careers to develop their skills to perform at their optimal.  The more opportunities that are targeted and contextual, the better and quicker your team will grow. Remember, you can only take people as far as you have been, so for your team to move your organization to greater heights, they have to be given the growth opportunities to do so.

Focus on Individual motivation

Take the time to understand what makes each employee tick. Some people may be motivated by words of affirmation, a thank you note, a card. Others may want time, space, a nicer office or monetary compensation. When you are able to find what truly impacts each person, you are more likely to get the most out of them.

Promote Co-creation of ideas and Vision

As leaders we often believe that ideas have to come from us, caution here, a leader must have vision and must be able to keep the team stimulated. However, to sustain a great team, leaders have to invite others to join in creating ideas and vision. People support what they help to create and so the more team members get to join in the discussion at the beginning stages and build upon ideas to its execution, the more valued they feel and the more loyal they become to the goal.

Have tough performance conversations

In order for team members to grow, they must receive consistent and honest feedback on their performance. If they do well, they must be told and be guided as to how they may raise or create even better results. Likewise, when they do poorly, they must be told and be coached as to how they may reduce or eliminate behaviours that cause them not do well. We cannot over emphasize the importance of performance conversations on the growth of employees.


Profile of Writer

Taneisha Ingleton, PhD has a performance driven, agile and innovative mind. She believes in the infinite capacity of each individual to bring autonomy, mastery and purpose to their life and work. Dr. Ingleton has expertise in Design Thinking and is a Leadership Development Programme Designer, Educational Leadership Researcher, Capability Development Specialist, Designer of Competency Frameworks and Consultant. She earned her PhD at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Her scholarly writing, her experiences and her dissertation research have focused significantly on leadership development. Prior to her Master of Philosophy Degree, she had completed her Undergraduate Degree and Post Graduate Diploma from the University of the West Indies [UWI], Jamaica with First Class Honours and, distinction respectively. Dr. Ingleton has over seventeen years combined teaching, research and management experience at the high school level, Undergraduate, Masters and PhD levels in Jamaica and Canada. Her areas of research and teaching include Educational Leadership, Educational Policy and Planning, Instructional Leadership, School Improvement, Strategic Planning, Editorial Writing, Spanish Language, Literature and Culture. She has published papers on the Principalship, Transformational Leadership, and her research has informed, to date, over 90 scholarly articles and dissertations on Leadership, School and Effectiveness.

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