The best way to start leading your team is to ask what your team members want. Let’s look at where we are now and where we need to be. What worked a decade ago will not necessarily work now. Leadership is no longer leading a team the way you want to, but instead leading a team in the manner they need, responding to their needs to prepare them for the future. A team’s strength is the collective strength of people and their assets. The best team is able to focus on results, debate successfully, prioritise what is good for the organisation, show commitment, achieve balance and celebrate diversity. Everyone wants to join a winning team. For you as a leader to have broad impact you need to create a network of strong leaders that can grow on their own.
If leadership is the process of organising a group of people to achieve a common goal, then how does one get them to achieve the desired outcomes? Leaders can be considered to have succeeded when they have made a contribution to the effectiveness and cohesion of a team. The proof of a good leader is a team displaying peak performance.
A team is a community, in which we learn and laugh, share our frustrations and celebrations, in which we grow. A team is a platform for developing group IQ. When we work in tandem, our strengths multiply. If a leader can improve the way people work together, and it results in harmony, intellectual capital in an organisation is significantly enhanced. This ultimately provides a competitive advantage. It is vital to cross-pollinate employee skills. The more people you have in your team, the more ideas and resources you have available. Team members maximise the leader’s potential as they fill the gaps. Team members offer multiple perspectives and alternatives and allow a leader to accomplish more. As a leader you need to encourage collaboration.
The characteristics that represent a well-functioning team are:
- Purpose: team members share the sense of why the team exists and develop pride in what they do as a team to achieve the mission and goals. They know the “why”.
- Priorities: the group needs to know what has to be done, by whom and by when. They know the “what”.
- Roles: well defined roles allow the most appropriate or skilled person to complete a task. They know the “who”.
- Norms: standards are defined, communicated and adhered to. They know the “how”.
- Most importantly, a leader needs to care about their team.