There’s no magic formula to great leadership. Each leader has a unique style of navigating their team depending on their needs, ensuring success despite the setbacks.
The secret to a successful leader is simple, but climbing your way to the top is no easy feat. It boils down to tenacity and determination in the face of adversities, recalibrating goals when things don’t go as planned. But why do some leaders still fail?
Since there’s no written test to be a great team leader, people often rush the process. As a result of evading the procedure, they overlook the fundamental building blocks for leadership success. To avoid failing your team, it’s important to understand what makes a good team leader.
What makes a good team leader?
A team leader can either create a high-performing team or an ineffective one. While a weak leader makes it easy for teams to lose interest, a good leader trusts each member to fulfill their responsibilities.
A true leader has the ability to encourage, inspire, and coach their teams to achieve a common goal. Seeing how their skills impact employee engagement and retention, having the right knacks in leadership can help team member improve their capabilities. So, employees with influential leaders are likely to help the company grow.
When senior leaders are satisfied with their roles, the effect multiplies employees’ initiative to work efficiently. Thus, making day-to-day work experience fulfilling for everyone.
What you shouldn’t do when leading your team
Effective leadership doesn’t come naturally. It’s a learned skill that you can master with patience and perseverance. While having the qualities of a strong team leader is good, there are still some overlooked flaws. Go over these shortcomings you should avoid when leading your team.
1. Ignoring internal conflict
With various insights, morals, and viewpoints, there will be conflict. Leaders who avoid conflict lessen team cooperation, and brand values weaken over time.
Unresolved conflicts will strain communication which results in poor productivity. So if you want your employees to have teamwork, create an honest work culture within the company. People who respect feedback foster a fruitful collaboration.
Provide a platform where your team can communicate and solve problems together—doing so allows them to develop cooperation. Monitor their progress by actively checking their behavior because influential leaders know to use varying opinions to the team’s advantage.
2. Blaming your team for mistakes
Leaders who blame others when things go wrong create unhappy employees and result in a domino effect of poor performance. Employees who fear their actions will have repercussions are prone to error. However, team members that feel safe are likely to innovate better ideas.
To create a safe and positive work environment, leaders should look at what the entire team could have done better rather than focusing on errors. This comprises assessing everyone, including the leaders themselves.
Frequently provide employee feedback to improve productivity in the future. Consider varying insights when thinking about solutions and ensure their viewpoints are valued. The more you weave their ideas into projects, the more empowered they will feel working with the company.
3. Taking credit for your team’s success
Lack of recognition influences employees to lose motivation and self-confidence. When unrecognized employees feel like they’re not part of the team, leaders won’t harness their full potential. Most often, if managers don’t realize the domino effect of their actions, it can result in high employee turnover.
Staff will quit their jobs because their compensation doesn’t reflect the results they put forward. Those in a leadership position who allow people to believe they’re worthy of praise without doing something lack maturity. So if you want your team to trust you as a leader, give credit where credit is due.
Teams often complain about the micromanagement leadership styles. When a manager closely supervises their employees, it goes to show that they lack trust or experience. However, it could also mean they fear losing control because their team has inadequate skills.
Leaders must delegate responsibilities to their team, so they don’t have to be the sole decision-maker. People often feel stressed and burned out because their managers don’t give them space to take some initiative. To avoid this from happening to your company, set S.M.A.R.T goals and steer clear of unimportant work processes. Thus, eliminating your workload to focus on creative output.
5. Using fear as motivation
Fear-led motivation has a short shelf life. Leaders who use fear as a source of power paralyze their teams from taking actionable steps to achieve their goals. As a result, employees are reluctant to innovate because there’s a risk of being in trouble.
Managers can control their team through punishment and rewards, while leaders win hearts and minds by leading by example.
Self-evaluation is one of the foremost important team leadership skills. So take a good look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what type of leader do you see? Are you an inspirational team leader or a controlling one?
6. Lacking empathy
While most employees resign not because of the company but due to bosses who lack empathy, many leaders who struggle to empathize with their team can cause strain and conflict.
Leaders with high emotional intelligence can easily empathize with their team members. So, have time to listen to your employee’s grievances. Perhaps their feedback may have value to the company process.
7. Not knowing your team members
When leaders focus too much on the business’ end goals, they neglect to take the time to get to know the team. Because it’s easy to zone out on your workload, you lose sight of the significance of your members.
Your team shouldn’t be at the expense of company objectives. In fact, by getting to know your employees, you might learn valuable lessons from their perspectives. Schedule meetings that allow you to listen actively to their insights and celebrate personal wins together. Develop your leadership qualities so your people know that they can approach you with any difficulties.
8. Disregarding your team’s career development
Over time employees outgrow their current position and desire career development. Like the company, they want to evolve their capabilities to offer better work performance. However, leaders concentrate on company goals so much that they overlook team members’ need to advance from their roles.
When teams feel their leaders neglect their growth, they lose motivation to work efficiently. Therefore, you should prioritize employees’ growth mindset because their development contributes to the company’s success.
Team leadership skills you need to develop
Influential leaders influence how teams perform their jobs. If they’re compelling enough, people will almost certainly stay even through rough times. But with toxic corporate culture driving the great resignation, take the necessary steps to respond effectively. These skills below can help you hold on to valued employees from quitting too soon.
1. Effective communication
Effective leadership communication improves employee morale and prompts employee engagement. While poor communication can cost your business money, leaders with excellent communication skills ensure the company’s success.
Effective communication is a core characteristic of great leadership. Leaders must know when and how to communicate depending on their audience. So, they must adjust their tone and message content to be effective.
Communication has a give-and-take relationship. Since communicators are also listeners, you gain an understanding of the employee’s perspective.
Improving your communication won’t cost the company a lot of money. Keep an open and transparent communication across the organization. This process encourages employees to speak up. If you have a hybrid team, use online platforms to conduct meetings so everyone is up to date.
2. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is understanding and managing your emotions and those around you. Emotionally intelligent leaders improve work relationships and drive team members to deliver positive outcomes. They enable employees to make difficult decisions and resolve conflict independently.
Employees are unwilling to share ideas when their managers have poor emotional intelligence.
You can improve your EI by practicing self and social awareness. For example, if you want your team to produce the greatest effort, you first must put out equal, if not greater, output than your team.
Meanwhile, your ability to assure and empathize with others allows employees to maintain a positive morale in the workplace. So take time to listen and understand your team’s sentiments. Not only will you strengthen the employee-leader bond, but you’ll also create a safe environment for people’s feelings.
3. Conflict management
It’s evident that leaders want employees to work in harmony. A team that works in unison achieves better results.
Since conflict management is vital in nurturing company culture and staff performance, you must make clear expectations and have honest communication. Define staff roles clearly so your team knows exactly what you expect from them and what constitutes acceptable behavior.
An open line of transparent communication fosters positive and productive discussion. As an involved leader, talking about your team’s struggles can lead to growth, especially if you include them in resolving the dispute.
Teams who often find themselves dealing with adversities tend to create shortcuts. But this timesaving approach is only a band aid solution in alleviating tension points. So a leader’s goal is to help employees minimize and tackle problems in an organization. They’re courageous enough to face difficulties before the situation becomes unsolvable.
Having a knack for solving problems allows your entire team to collaborate better to continue improving the business. Since you can’t avoid issues from happening, training your team in organizational leadership enables individuals to become leaders themselves. In doing so, well-trained employees are comfortable enough to face challenges head-on without constant supervision.
You may engage the entire team in group planning sessions where they can identify, evaluate and develop solutions together as a unit. As a result of collective efforts, you break down silos and form open-minded team members.
Leaders who know how to delegate tasks can lighten everyone’s workload. However, delegation is more than getting responsibilities off your plate. It’s all about making the amount of work manageable. When teams have reasonable duties, they can provide excellent product results.
To ensure proper delegation, your role as team leader is to identify tasks beyond your skill set and too tedious for you to accomplish. For example, if you have poor content writing skills, it’s better to transfer the assignment to someone more knowledgeable. Yet, in cases where work is dull and mindless, such as copying and pasting information, you can always reassign the job to someone else.
Part of being a leader is hiring the right person for the job.
Identify which candidate’s skills benefit the company and if they need little training to enhance their weaknesses. Once you’ve successfully done it, constantly check their work and provide feedback to improve execution moving forward.
Great leaders know where to steer the company because they know how to make challenging decisions. They understand whether to fire an ill-fit employee, reposition them, or keep them, whether or not to share certain updates with stakeholders, and much more. Thus, a leader who is an effective decision-maker saves the team time and resources.
Before you get into a leadership position, mastering this soft skill is paramount. Ensure that you track organizational process and progress as it serves as a set of valuable data in the future. Organize previous conclusions, so you have a reference to avoid repeating mistakes.
If you find yourself stuck at a crossroads, seek advice from a mentor. Asking advice from an outsider’s perspective gives you a particular way of seeing how to implement some organizational changes.
Recommended course for you
Leadership Skills Mastery
Transform your leadership style and lessen your anxiety and frustration when directing your team towards success. Despite your many challenges as a leader, you can regain control by adapting new techniques to lead your company. This course will guide you in achieving your leadership vision by learning the true essence of being a leader.
By the end of this course, you’ll become more aware of the commonly unnoticed mistakes most leaders make so you can usher your team to success.
Nurture your leadership skills
Leadership mistakes are unavoidable but often don’t go unnoticed. However, it affects everyone in the team. While some leaders fail because they have a lot on their minds, others truly lack the capabilities to be effective leaders.
Not everyone has leadership qualities. It’s either a person is born to lead or to follow. However, it’s a skill that you can nurture. Spending your resources on your skills is not a lost cause. Truth be told, it’s an investment.
Inspirational leaders are contagious, whether they know it or not. So it’s natural for people to be exceptional when their managers are also outstanding.