Mike Edwards Shares the Top Skills that Great Team Leaders Share
Strong leadership is a must for every team’s success. Everyone feels as if they know the requirements for a great leader, but few can put these principles into practice.
Mike Edwards, a retail and eCommerce executive from Portland, Oregon, shares several of the skills and characteristics that great team leaders share and how you can put them into practice.
Communication skills are one of the top characteristics shared by the best team leaders. Leaders must know how to communicate in both written and verbal forms across a variety of media.
If leaders cannot communicate their desires and requirements to their team members, they are bound to be ineffective. Team members will constantly be looking for direction, and they will likely not accomplish the leader’s goals.
Team leaders can develop their communication skills by taking classes on business writing and negotiation and modeling their interactions with their team members on those of another effective leader.
Listening skills are vital components of the team leader’s toolbox. Many problems in the workplace can be prevented by simply listening to what coworkers have to say and following up on their concerns. Leaders who listen have a better idea of what is going on in their workplace, and they can sometimes spot problems before they become acute.
A great team leader must be fair. It is best not to show favoritism toward certain team members since this can build resentment within a team and impede its function. When a team leader is approached with a dispute, they must look at all sides fairly and make evidence-based decisions that are not overly influenced by emotion. When leaders are fair, team members work more effectively and have a better sense of camaraderie.
Listening skills require practice and constant polishing. However, this is a skill that everyone can learn and apply.
It is best not to project an overly gruff or rude impression on your team members. If you are not approachable, your team members will be reluctant to go to you if they have a problem or concern. They may avoid telling you whether something is going wrong, and these problems can grow out of control when you are not paying attention.
It is best to be equally approachable to all team members, no matter their job function or seniority. You do not always have to have your office door open, but you should schedule regular hours where you are open for all of your team members’ concerns.
Willingness to Consider Ideas
A great leader is willing to look at any idea, no matter who it comes from. Even low-level employees have valid ideas about how the workplace can be improved and how processes can run more smoothly. Excellent team leaders take the time to sit down with their employees who have new ideas and judge them on their merits. Not every idea is usable, but they all require respect and consideration.
Team leaders need to know how to delegate tasks properly. They may believe that they should do the most important tasks, but the function of a team lies in splitting up the hard work so that no one person is overburdened. Being able to delegate work fairly among a group of people is another vital skill for a great team leader.
To delegate tasks, you need to understand each team member’s skills and abilities. You need to know how the tasks you want your team members to complete will fit into their overall daily workload. If an employee’s workload is too heavy due to the new tasks you have assigned, you must figure out a way to take some of the burdens from that employee to avoid burnout.
Excellent team leaders are always consistent. Their employees know what they can expect from their leader, and they are spared from mood swings and unnecessary emotional outbursts. Leaders need to be reliable to properly take care of their team’s needs.
Being more consistent requires personal emotional regulation and discipline. These skills may take time to develop, but the rewards are greater than the effort it takes to build them.
Mike Edwards reminds you that effective team leaders are organized. They keep detailed records, and they can keep on top of a variety of tasks. If a team member goes to their leader with a concern, they should not have to wait while their team leader shuffles through a ream of papers to find the answer to their question. This may be more difficult in creative workplaces, but leaders need to impose this type of discipline on themselves.
Leaders must have a clear vision of what they want their teams to accomplish and how these tasks fit into the company’s overall mission. If a leader does not have a vision for the future, performance will suffer, and employees will not have a clear goal in mind.
Effective Team Leadership
If you work on these skills, you will find that team leadership runs smoothly, and your employees reach their goals. Mike Edwards understands that running an effective team can be difficult and requires great personal discipline. Anyone can learn to be a great leader if they keep these skills in mind and pledge to work on them daily.