Your first milestone before experiencing any management responsibility is becoming a team leader. Management and leadership are acquired for more than just a title as it necessitates a recipe of skills for you to be an effective team leader.
It is a dish filled with mastery in business processes, competence in psychology, adeptness in organizational communication, dexterity in a positive attitude, and a knack of patience & understanding towards subordinates.
Thus, the best team leader qualities can be cultivated through academic learning and experience at a young age.
Whether you are training how to become a good leader or wanting to add it to your career goals, here are the 13 essential qualities of a team leader that you can hone & assess on your way to the managerial position in a company or institution.
- Clarity of Vision
- Analytical Thinker
- Respectful & Courteous
- Concise Communication
- Accurate Delegation
- Wise and Intelligent
- Process Driven and Creative
- Decisive and Trustworthy
- Active Listener
- Keeping Your Employees Engaged
Acknowledge Mistakes, Recognize Solutions
Looking out for a member’s failure in the process or nondisclosure of violations is the main reason why a team leader is employed by a company or a department. As their head, you will be responsible for acknowledging that task failures are natural and part of the development process in the chosen career field for an employee.
Recognizing these is an important job to ensure that no other employee will commit the same mistake but a leader should never reward inadequacy or laziness that leads to that mistake.
Fail Hard, Fast, & Often
Failures are not something that we should think of daily, provided that the member is dedicated to attaining a certain goal from a task. This method offers a good gateway for employee productivity that creates solutions. Once these solutions are refined and systematized, these can be innovations that will help the company at large.
Here are three keys that can create an improved leadership method in addressing the failures of your employees:
1. Deferment of Responsibility
Team leaders who acknowledge their own or their member’s failures turn out to be the best in their field. People who make way to defer their responsibility create resentment and anger within their organization.
However, once a leader claims the responsibility for the failure, they will develop a picture of an understanding and better leader. With this, they will gain loyalty from subordinates who rely on their management strategies for their team success.
2. Ignoring the Cues of the Environment
When leaders start to ignore the tangible mistakes that exist from their working environment, it develops a culture of inadequacy & laziness. Constantly watching the member’s performance towards their goals keeps them on track. A leader who trusts his followers in getting their daily tasks done recognizes also the importance of verification of a work completed from a standard one.
As part of having the right skills for a team leader, one-to-one coaching should be your best way to resolve these issues before any sanctions. The coaching should include the action that went wrong from the process, the action that should have been done during the time it happened, and what needs to be done by the employee to avoid happening in the future for their progress.
3. Ambitiousness Comes Naturally
True-blooded leaders consider failures as life’s great enablers. Rethink your position about handling failures before you can be a good leader. Dealing with all the failures that can take place during your employment defines your character as an employee.
Your management style will depend on how you have treated and resolved your mistakes during the time that you are still an employee or a member of an organization.
One of the best examples to understand this is how you convey acceptance of defeat from competition within your comfort zone as an individual or a member of an organization.
Finding the best creative way to interpret the reality of making mistakes and failing contributes to how you accept defeat. Since this can be developed as one of the skills to be a team leader, asking yourself what you have learned from each failure makes you more resilient in handling the accountability of your members.
Set Discussions, Trigger Debates, Deliver Innovations.
As a good team leader, it is satisfying to see your members participating in a dynamic discussion regarding a service or a product being offered by your company. Once this becomes a part of their regular conversations, it reflects your effectiveness.
The only part that becomes tricky is the discernment of productivity or tension among the members of your workforce when the qualities of a team leader are assessed. Developing this during your early stages of employment, you will get all the vital traits of a team leader.
Many companies fail due to the silence of the organization that is rooted in the possible conflict that they may cause moving forward. Triggering your members to be active in debates deliver innovative ideas for the company and its management as a whole. However, keeping the discussion productive & professional at the same time can be challenging for the team leader. Here are three tips that we give to help the discussions be more profitable and worth the shot.
1. Set Standards
Managing good outcomes from company discussions can be done through setting standards so your members can visualize their expectations. Everyone who is involved in the debate should know the agenda of why it is happening and how a profitable conclusion can be met. Once a final decision has been made, every single person must be aware that discussing it outside the allotted time will do no good for the company.
2. Never Make It Personal
Trying to win an argument to look good doesn’t make any productive outcome if it is based on mere speculations and false prepositions. Ignoring common logic, knowledge, and evidence just to win the debate goes against being productive. Being stuck with your issues regarding the topic keeps the whole team from coming up with innovative solutions.
3. Facts over Feelings
Data must always come first before any conclusion or recommendation will be made. An avalanche of ‘perfect ideas’ cannot be useful if they don’t serve a practical purpose. Since you need to live up to the best qualities for a team leader, you need to know that leaving the ‘ego’ from a personal point of view at the doorsteps produces a debate conducive to learning.
3. Clarity of Vision
A good leader who makes wise decisions should designate it into three categories from what, how, and why. As soon as companies start addressing the question of ‘why’, they can tap the drive of the employees. Leaders who make this streamlined to their subordinates creates a special feeling that the members are part of the bigger picture of the company towards success & profitability.
Why Team Leaders Must Answer the ‘Why’ First?
Regular team managers start with the questions of ‘what’ and ‘how’ as it’s what is instantaneously asked by the members. These include the discussion of strategies, daily/weekly projects, and overall responsibility.
However, it sounds vague and heavy in the ears of an unpassionate or bored employee but giving them a deeper understanding of the company vision answers why they are working for the company as well as the reason why they are assigned to that position. Thus, answering the question of what makes a good team leader is tough.
Once the question of ‘why’ has not been answered before their start of employment, they will feel that they are not just mere paid workers for the company who are doing a ‘boring job’. They will start to understand their work from the start of their shift to end daily impacts the company greatly. A series of fraudulent activities can break down the trust of other business partners as well as the whole market at large.
How the ‘Why’ Affects a Business Process?
Addressing the ‘whys of each member makes them calibrated and aligned to the company’s discretions for success in every business process that they are taking accountable for. Then, each employee must know the goals of their team leader in the long run.
Who doesn’t want a working environment that shares a single belief system that is relevant to their employment and performance?
4. Analytical Thinker
Test Ideas, Breakdown your Goals
Hypothesizing and testing the business ideas of each company started in the implementation of building a standard of measurement and learning loop from scratch. The only issue with this method is that testing and hypothesizing gets forgotten in the long run. If employees cannot contest the ideas and get critical with it, bad ideas can just be thrown in the building stage of the business process.
The best leaders can do this by leading your people from the bottom no matter what it takes to guide them accordingly. Telling them exactly and literally what should be done cannot do any good for the company. This is why leadership is earned and not attained through promotion.
6. Respectful and Courteous
Uphold Dignity, Cultivate Attentiveness
Every member of the company desires to have their life, personhood, jobs, efforts, and interests to be treated with respect & dignity. The same kind of respect that a leader possesses will be returned despite workplace diversity.
Disrespect leads to fear, resentment, and anger that can affect the productivity and performance of a team to the whole company and its management.
1. Privacy and Time
The best way to cultivate respect in your leadership style is transparency. If you have a total overview of what your people do during their employment period creates a sense of accountability on the part of the team leader and understands what hinders them from carrying out their task. A change in culture may require an alteration of the process that is being used by the members such as new software.
2. Huddles and Open Forums
Meetings that are made regularly can waste the time of an employee since it usually happens during the shift. While holding a meeting is an essential element in the workplace but make sure that you are correctly making use of the allotted time to be productive and motivate development in an employee’s performance.
Keeping these regular meetings brief instills attention and dedication. It is advised that a leader uses a maximum of 30 minutes for every quality meeting to avoid dysfunction that is usually caused by miscommunication in the workplace.
Once the expectations and goals are laid out clearly without hesitation ensure what their coming days, weeks, and months look like at large.
6. Concise Communication
Measuring what is vital in the company processes carefully considers information and performance. The goal-setting characteristic of a team leader entails being concise to the manner of communication applied towards the subordinates without any influence from biased judgments and personal interests.
Here’s a method that leaders can utilize to keep concise communication throughout the process.
1. Assess Methodic Priorities and Install Processes
The best leaders start to envision their management style based on what they expect from their employees in the next two to five years. Once these strategies are streamlined, it can be revolutionized as your team’s methodic priorities that can be executed once approved and agreed upon by the members.
Figuring out the most profitable macro processes can be set-up to bridge the communication amidst division of labor or differences in career goals among the employees.
2. Share Results and Create Recommendations
Creating profitable recommendations for a company process and goal requires a hefty amount of workload. Sharing these results keeps every member aligned with the vision that your team desires in a certain period. In return, each employee will have a deeper understanding of the importance of their jobs in the long run.
3. Report and Interpret
Data remains one of the most crucial elements of a business strategy & success. Proper interpretation entails a good technical understanding of the niche as relevant to each department where the data comes from.
An agreement of reporting cycles and analyzing intervals among the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) should be made to effectively relay a report to the management.
7. Accurate Delegation
Avoid Micromanagement, Be Inclusive
A micromanager just stresses himself from the failures of each member of the team in an unconstructive manner. Learning the traits of a team leader effectively needs your sole reliance on them achieving good results based on his creative work freedom. If it is piling up to your routine as a team manager, change it right away as it does less good and more harm to the company.
Here are some of the symptoms that leaders must avoid to avoid micromanagement and be inclusive to accurately delegate tasks for higher levels of productivity.
1. Mis- & Over Delegation and Obsessive Control
Delegating tasks among the members of a team or a department is a skill that needs to be honed through time. Once a task is delegated incorrectly on another employee who cannot effectively carry out the task, the employee will fail. Ultimately, it leads to obsessive control in the long run as employees are not given tasks that match their capabilities and work experiences.
The best cure for obsessive control is committed through a leader’s mis-delegation is to know your member more than anyone else in the company so you can assign tasks that you think that the employee is good at. Assign a full task on the person and avoid dividing a single task into parts as it forms a dark pit of failure in the team’s performance.
2. Check the Status
The delegation of a full task to an employee requires the total supervision of the team leader by checking their status now and then. Most team managers call for a huddle at the beginning of the shift and report their signs of progress at the end of the shift to track their progress.
3. Dictation and Unresponsiveness
Trusting your members of their knowledge and skill regarding a task makes them comfortable to finish the project. Let the employee start with the project resourcefully and let them discover their mistakes during the process so they can solve the problems that they may encounter during the accomplishment of the project.
The unresponsiveness of a team manager from the submitted progress reports also hinders the team’s progress. Make sure that you are on top of the projects as well as their progress. Also, all data and other information that you require your employees must be relevant to avoid wasting time from you and your employee’s time.
4. Irritation from Autonomous Decision-making
A leader who is tagged as a micromanager easily gets irritated once an employee comes up with a decision without having it consulted and approved before its execution. This remains true even though an employee has proven experience for the expertise of the field. Once this happens, employees will be restricted to perform on their best levels that can hinder team productivity.
Display Productivity Levels, Show Favorable Results
A good team leader cannot tell his members to render overtime and leave at the scheduled end of the shift just to hang out with friends, play sports, or chill at restaurants or bars. You cannot be a good team leader to reprimand an employee who is active on their social media profiles yet scrolling on online shopping apps during the afternoon.
A manager who recommends layoff from the workforce and cuts off incentives due to lack of budget yet he decides to buy a new gadget or car after the payday.
1. Responsibility and Being a Role Model
Once you take the leadership position, you are taking accountability towards and for your team members. Leaders are the closest connection of employees to the company at large so they look up to you for strength and guidance in their career and life decisions.
You cannot be a good leader during work yet exhibit bad habits outside the four corners of the company. Team leaders are the ambassadors of the company mission & vision as a role model where you lead them where your action flows.
“Leading by example” is an important aspect to showcase to your team members. Broadcast what and how the team is performing – including the target status, KPIs, challenges (risks), and achievements. You can use free PowerPoint templates here. Create leaders under you and allow them to demonstrate and present the success stories to others.
2. Be a Leader and a Manager at the Same Time
People who have worked in the corporate world during the ’80s say that there is a fine line that sets a leader and a manager apart.
In general, managers make the right decisions but leaders are the doers of the best actions for the company. The era of modernization has required executives and heads of the team to take the role of being a leader and a manager at the same time.
9. Wise and Intelligent
Get Strategies, Manage a Culture of Success
To be an effective team leader means that your company has a set of principles and values to motivate your employees to exert their best in the performance of their responsibilities. A coherent culture of success makes their lives easier as it will give them a sense of pride by hiring the right person for the job. This keeps all employees engaged in their line of work despite failures from their previous employment.
1. Zero to 100 Culture
Startup companies have a culture where they have grown from. These are how the founders and executives behave during the start, what type of people do they recruit, recognize, and recruit, and who needs to be terminated from their employment. Building a team or a company from zero is easier if you can scrutinize every applicant on the hiring process.
This necessitates good skills of interpersonal communication filled with trust in getting them hired on board for the company which will induce a ‘100’ or a successful employment culture.
2. Stabilize the Success Culture
Building a team from scratch should be challenging for startup companies yet this is only the first step towards their envisioned success. In solving the query, ‘what are the qualities of a good team leader’, one must check these three principles constantly to ensure that the initial efforts of the company won’t go wasted.
It becomes a part of team leadership characteristics to stabilize the success culture in your working environment.
- Be the Exemplary Employee despite your leadership position
- Communicate the vision of the company or department paralleled to their job descriptions.
- Keep your feedback lines open and be resilient to change if it’s for the welfare of the company and its people.
10. Process Driven and Creativity
Formulate a Benchmark, Submit to Feat
The industries have specified their business processes that are formulated by the founders of the company yet confusions arise when it’s not regarded appropriately.
The formulation process of these business processes starts with the representation of what needs to be achieved, the key results that need to be benchmarked, and monitoring the stages of how to get successful or win the business through revenues & increased markups.
Hence, creativity must be nurtured by the leaders to unlock shocking results throughout the workplace.
1. Creative Thinking Process & Resourceful Problem Solving
Being creative as a team leader does not mean that you will submit the prettiest and cleanest spreadsheet with the management. A leader who has a creative thinking process will come up with unique ideas that can bring success to the company.
It may be simple to break down these ideas but it is also hard to implement. This is where the resourceful problem-solving process comes in, which is done by throwing all these concepts on the wall and observing what sticks.
2. Submission to the Company’s Vision to Success
On your daily shift as the team leader, it will be very normal to encounter a dependent and uninspired staff who relies on the old solutions from the problems that he encounters during a process.
As the team leader, you are responsible to collate these and foster creativity from these simple dilemmas. Once these solutions are properly taught to the team, their feeling of stagnancy and boredom will be replaced with fresh ideas that can excite them to fashion better results.
11. Decisive and Trustworthy
Kill Procrastination, Trust the Team
If one asks, ‘what are the qualities of a good team leader’, you must also understand the challenges to reach the desired productivity levels during days when everything seems to fail. This is okay and tolerable if it’s happening in localized terms. What the team leader should watch out for is the fact that it becomes a habit and a culture in the long run.
Thus, a team leader must understand what feeds the levels of procrastination of their employees.
1. Office Politics
Considered as one of the best distractions in the workplace environment, office politics creates intolerable stress within the minds of the employees. Minimizing this through nurturing open lines with the management and trust within the relationships existing in the company can be implemented easily by the team leader.
Socializing at moderate levels won’t do any harm with a business process yet unplanned long conversations create a dragging effect on the performance of each employee. Team leaders should be able to let their subordinates understand that there is less work done if continuous chatting is made within the members.
According to studies, office employees check their emails from 30 to 50 times in an hour. Responding to an email within the last 20 seconds should never be treated as a talent rather than pure insanity.
Opening multiple browsers or pulling up your tools on two screens or more is the new normal. In reality, achieving simple goals tends to create an illusion of profitable progress on a person.
According to studies from Harvard Business Review, multitasking lowers down the IQ of a person by 10 to 15 points and kills the levels of productivity by more than 40%.
12. Active Listener
Keep it Less Subjective, Understand the Drive
Each feedback that is given by an employee acts as an essential tool to be more productive and engaged as part of the workforce. If you desire to have the most favorable team leadership characteristics, a person must know how to demonstrate constructive feedback that requires intrapersonal communication skills.
At the same time, listening to feedback will require interpersonal communication skills that need to be possessed by a good leader among its members.
1. Understand What Your Employee Does
Giving honest and genuine feedback also builds up the characteristics of a team leader. Nevertheless, it will require you to have a clear picture of what your members are doing for the team. Various software tools help you to understand their progress as a system where it generates their declared achievements, plans, and failures in a week.
Once a team leader gets the hang of using these reporting systems, they can demonstrate less subjective feedback and drive them to do better in the coming weeks.
2. Receiving Employee Feedback
Various systems can just use a simple like or a scale of 1 to 10 rating to give feedback to each member of the team plus a detailed explanation of why such a rating is given by the team leader in that fiscal week.
Furthermore, these systems allow employees to weigh in their side on why they should or should not receive such a score from their team leaders. Thus, it becomes a harmonious employee feedback system that exists between the employee and you as their team leader.
13. Keeping Your Employees Engaged
Taking time with your employees entails commitment. Every commitment that is instilled in each employee requires collaboration. For this to take place in the work environment, it requires a method known as ‘effective internal communication’.
Through this, a leader ensures that all members are collaboratively working in the organization geared towards a mutual goal.
Being engaged to work goes beyond the mere definition of ‘job satisfaction’. An employee who is engaged in an attachment to their jobs is someone who wants to carry deliverables in a better way than the usual. This is true regardless if the employee has a weak or strong connection with their working environment.
The challenging competition in the global market serves as the winning edge for more than 30% of the companies.
3 Factors to Drive Employment Engagement
Three factors are said to be the key to driving better & profitable drive engagement between the company and its management (the leader) and its employees. These are the following:
- A direct supervisor or manager’s relationship with each employee
- Faith or belief in the leadership of the company and its management
- Honor and disposition in working with the company across time.
How to Drive Employment Engagement?
Primarily, speaking to the employees on behalf of the company and its management gives an overview of the whole employment situation with the company. Driving employment engagement can be carried out easily through technology and communication methods.
Here are some of the best ones that are proven to work once implemented timely and appropriately.
1. Get Thru Your Employees via Technology
Asking questions like what troubles them to attain their daily quotas or goals on a day-to-day basis drives their motivation for productivity. In this case, a technology software can aid your team leader’s qualities to track the concerns of each employee that can be answered within five minutes. This should include multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions so you can generate visuals thru charts & graphs to create a bigger picture and a better analysis on how to drive employee engagement.
2. Sharing of Ideas
Sharing ideas with the team during a meeting lets you discover better insights and direct responses from the employees or constituents. You can discover fresh ideas from employees and coworkers which can save you from the demise of your idea. As one of the required skills for a team leader, creating a constructive culture of being reviewed constantly should not trigger an employee’s fear. Using a system that can be used for reviews through digital collaboration tools can largely change the communication that takes place for every department and the company as a whole.
3. Implementation of Perks
Psychologically speaking, creating a good reward system can create a positive vibe within the management system of a certain team or department. This triggers their motivation on a whole better level rather than sticking with their days in and out routine. Implementing perks that can be enjoyed by deserving employees from leaderboards, achievement bulletins, and points system drives the employee engagement progressively.
Using cash or gadgets to reward employees may sound like an additional expense for the company and its management but using it as an investment for higher employee productivity will surely pay the business well.
Most companies use weekly and monthly incentives to their deserving employees who reach a certain sales quota, exceeding the number of positive customer engagements, and those who have perfect attendance during a fiscal period.
Summarizing the Characteristics of a Team Leader
Being the exemplary team leader as you are being looked up by your employees for inspiration and guidance. Offering leadership to your team entails giving them a sense of direction so they can reach their full potential.
Balancing your personal life and your role with the company works in qualitatively and quantitatively. You can unravel the formula in being a good team leader from breaking down complex features relevant to your position.
Various software tools are also available to make your responsibility as the team leader can leverage your productivity especially when giving or receiving feedback as well as creative ideas to nurture a culture of success in the workplace. Your highly desirable characteristics of a team leader with the proper amount of willingness and commitment will make you admired and loved.
However, no child is destined for greatness. It takes hefty learning and acquiring loads of positive habits to solve the question of how to become a good leader. Leaders don’t just boss around the workplace to keep their employees’ heads up but they have to set a difference with their heart and mind for other people.