10 tips for successful team leaders

10 tips for successful team leaders

Perhaps you will say that there is no place for the word “I” in a team, but every serious team has a leader – he is a team leader. Team leaders are responsible for everything from day-to-day work to timely support of the team to achieve the set goals.

Depending on the structure of the company, it may be unclear what exactly the role of a team leader entails, and how it differs from the role of a project manager. In this article, we will talk about who a team leader really is, what he does, and how this role differs from the role of a project manager. We will also give 10 tips that will help you become a successful team leader.

Who is a team leader?

A team leader is responsible for managing a group of people in the course of implementing a specific initiative or achieving a specific goal. Teamleaders are not necessarily managers and may not be associated with the people management function. Timlid is responsible for creating a collaborative environment and determining the direction of development of a specific project or program.

A team leader provides guides for a project or portfolio of projects to a working group. The team leader’s duties include delegating work, monitoring the achievement of the set goal and, if necessary, instructing team members. Team Leaders often act as de facto mentors to the group, even if they don’t have a leadership role.

What does a team member do?

A team lead can be responsible for a project, program or portfolio of programs.

The main duties of a team leader:

  • Organization of work;

  • Information about goals;

  • Providing context;

  • Delegation of tasks;

  • Leadership by example;

  • Resource management;

  • Problem solving;

  • Project progress management;

  • Reporting for stakeholders;

  • Coaching for improving the qualifications of employees;

  • Team motivation to achieve the set goal;

  • Encouraging the strengths of team members and identifying growth points;

  • Marking and defending the interests of the team.

Comparing the role of a team leader with the role of a project manager

Most often, the team leader’s skills overlap with project management skills. In many situations, the team leader and the project manager can be the same person, and this is completely normal.

To understand the difference between the role of a team leader and a project manager, it is worth paying attention to the main goals for each of these positions. The main task of a team leader is to motivate and support his team to ensure effective work. In turn, the project manager usually focuses on achieving specific goals results and task performance.

Top 10 skills of a team leader

Regardless of the type of project you are managing, a good team leader is able to confidently lead and interact successfully with his team.

Here are 10 skills you need to get started:

1. Goal management

One of the most valuable things you can do as a team leader is to ask yourself: Why is this work important?

Each project is aimed at achieving a common goal of the team or company, but more often than not, these goals are not always evident in day-to-day activities. When a team is aware of how their work affects problem solving, they are more motivated to complete the project effectively.

Good team leaders create context so that the team understands why their work is important and how it fits into the bigger picture. vision of the company. With this context, team members can prioritize more effectively and ensure that they get their work done to the best of their ability and on time.

2. Ensuring progress in work on the project

Once your team has set goals, it’s also important to clearly articulate the steps to achieve them. A team leader is like the captain of a ship: you give the team a guide in the direction of the goal and determine the path to follow.

There are three main elements that ensure effective work progress:

  • Define indicators. Team members can’t know if they’re on the right track if they don’t have a clear idea of ​​what they’re aiming for. Therefore, before starting work, set the measurements SMART goalsto determine how you will measure success.

  • Follow the progress process. It is not enough to know where you are going, you must also know where you are in relation to your purpose. Make sure your team members have a clear understanding about the terms of the project and see who does what and when.

  • Report changes. As a team leader, you are also responsible for monitoring project progress and sharing information with your team and all stakeholders. It is best to do this with help project status reportswhich give a clear picture of whether the project is on schedule, at risk, or behind schedule.

3. Communication

As with any other leadership position, team leaders need excellent communication skills. This includes communicating with team members about work, keeping stakeholders informed of project progress, and coordinating with any cross-functional partners for the benefit of the project team. It is important that communication includes both verbal communication and non-verbal elements such as body language and facial expressions. Actually, most information is transmitted through non-verbal means of communication.

Important elements of communication are:

Interpersonal skills like communication take time to develop. Don’t worry if communication isn’t your forte right now. If you are just learning how to establish trust, start with communications plan. A communications plan is a detailed plan that defines what information will be transmitted and where. For example, where asynchronous communication will be built in project managementand what will be communicated at weekly team meetings.

4. Organization

Team leaders often act as project managers. But even if you’re not, you’ll still have to organize your team’s work. As a team leader, you guide the team towards the ultimate goal; in turn, the organization of work is a key element of its achievement.

Think of information organization as creating a single source of correct information. Your team must count on you and trust that you will provide the information they need in a timely manner.

The best way to create a great organization system for the whole team is to use a workflow management tool, for example Asana. Asana helps you track work, manage projects, and share information about progress toward goals. When everyone understands who is doing what and when, they have the opportunity to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

5. Delegation

The best team members know that they can’t do everything by themselves. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and it is also a key aspect of team leadership. Delegation is a key element of coaching and mentoring. Delegation not only relieves the workload, but also gives team members the opportunity to try their hand at new areas.

In order to delegate effectively, it is necessary to first understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, as well as his interests. That way, you’ll know exactly what they should be tasked with and what new skills they’d like to learn. Don’t forget that your employees to whom you delegate work may not do things the way you would, because delegation is about learning to let go and hand over the reins of power.

If you’re having trouble delegating work, try composing the Eisenhower matrix. Or, if you’re still in doubt, follow this simple four-step process:

  1. Identify work that can be delegated.

  2. Clarify urgency and importance so team members can prioritize.

  3. Provide necessary training.

  4. Trust, but verify.

6. Solving problems

No project goes without hitches. Therefore, team leaders must be excellent problem-solving experts. To achieve this goal, it is important to create a context that helps define the highest priority tasks and identify problems that require an immediate response. This approach allows you to make the right decisions for the benefit of the entire team.

If you are new to solving complex situations, try answering the following questions:

  • How will the team approach the work?

  • What is most important?

  • What should be emphasized?

  • How will this decision affect the team?

7. Time management

Timlead are masters of time management, they perfectly understand how to prioritize work. In order to develop your time management skills, try applying some time management strategies and tools. This will allow you to make the most of your day. You can also encourage your team members to do the same and choose a time management strategy that works for them.

If you don’t know where to start, try:

  • The GTD method focused on the efficient organization of information with the help of external tools, which allows us to use our mental resources more productively.

  • Time blocking method involves grouping similar tasks for simultaneous work on them and planning these temporary blocks in the calendar.

  • Pomodoro technique involves a set of sprints and breaks to achieve maximum productivity and concentration.

  • The Pareto principlealso commonly known as 80/20, getting 80% of the work done with 20% of the effort.

  • The “eat the frog” method states that in order to achieve the best results at work, you need to solve your biggest task (the frog) at the very beginning of the day.

8. Workload management of employees

As a team leader, you are responsible for helping your team achieve its goals. Part of this responsibility is to ensure that the work goes according to plan and that no one gets close to burnout. During team meetings and 1:1 meetings, ask your team members how they rate their workload and whether they need to offload, postpone, or delegate.

As a team leader, you should have an idea of ​​what your team is doing. But it is not always possible to remember especially as the team grows. Try using instead team workload management toolto track what each of your employees is working on. This is especially useful if your team is working on different projects and somewhere is not fully informed. If all the information is in one place, you can quickly figure it out, and prevent overloading.

9. Team building

Team leaders are not only the ideological inspirations of the team, but also managers responsible for encouraging and motivating employees. In order to be an effective leader, it is necessary to devote time to team building and ensure that everyone feels part of it.

Team building begins with everyone understanding the goals of the team in order to move toward the end result together, but it doesn’t end there. To create an effective team:

10. Mentoring and coaching

An important part of the role of team leaders is coaching, training and mentoring, when it is relevant. There may be newbies on your team and they may have questions about how to complete a certain task. If you have a solution for their problem, provide a tutorial, and if not, refer them to an expert who can answer their questions.

even if you individual contributor (employee without managerial responsibilities), and do not manage staff as a team member, you have an obligation to support and encourage members of your project team. Invest in your leadership skills and develop emotional intelligence to be able to support your team when they need it.

Keep your work organized with project management tools

You will not be able to perform your duties effectively if you do not create a clear system for communicating and sharing information with your team. To increase the level of transparency of your project team’s work, it is recommended to use project management tools that will allow you to effectively build collaboration to achieve the best results.

The translation of the material was prepared on the eve of the start of the System Analyst course. Team Lead. You can learn more about the course and register for free webinars using the link.

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