How To Be A Good Team Leader

How To Be A Good Team Leader

Directing a group of people with the aim of achieving a common goal is no small feat. For many companies or organizations, creating teams to undertake tasks is an established work style. This could be the case where you work. If so, being appointed team leader is a great responsibility. But how do you ensure that things go smoothly in your team and tasks are given proper attention? How do you carry out the responsibilities of your position?


No worries, this article is here to help you be a good team leader. Here are some tips:

  • Be an Active Team Member: You are the team leader and that makes you the number one team member. Get involved in team tasks and any other activities as much as anybody else. Your members would certainly not feel good if you leave all the work for them and slack off because you are the team leader. Do not avoid tasks or shift menial or difficult tasks to others. The team leader does not equal kicking up your feet and watching others work. The position comes with responsibilities. Show that you are committed to the project and it will rub off on everyone else.
  • Lead by Example: Show responsibility, do not just tell. If there is a team meeting, be early. Perform tasks before the deadline. In summary, do whatever you ask your team to do. Your actions will motivate your team.
  • Delegate: Do not do all the work yourself. Get everyone involved. Even if you feel that someone is not doing a perfect job, give corrections where needed. Hoarding all the tasks will give off an I-know-it-all, perfectionist vibe to the rest of your team. It could also make them think they are not doing well or that their services are not needed. When you delegate, the work moves faster and more efficiently. Trying to do everything will tire you out easily and make the work less enjoyable. Delegating ensures that no one on the team is used as the dog’s body nor anyone else is slacking off. When you delegate, there is more time for you to monitor and supervise projects. A bonus tip is to assign everyone on the team a task they can do very well. Be fair when you assign tasks. If Moyin is the fastest typist on the team, then it would be wiser to assign typing tasks to her.
  • Supervise: This is a key role for a team leader. Oversee assigned tasks and render help where needed. Do not simply delegate and forget to check in from time to time. However, avoid crowding in on your teammates as they work. Allow them to express themselves independently. Micromanaging is unnecessary and will make members of your team feel uncomfortable.
  • Be Polite and Respectful: Team leader, not a tyrant. Your position is not an opportunity to play the errant boss or military commander. Give reminders and corrections in a gentle manner. Your tone of voice matters. Remember that your teammates are also your colleagues and deserve respect. Sending Sam an email to remind him of a task he has not completed has a much-desired effect than screaming at him in front of everyone.
  • Be a Good Follower: If you answer to someone in a higher position, how do you respond to their authority? Do you adhere to the guidelines of your organization? How do you treat your colleagues generally? If you badmouth or openly criticize them in their absence in front of your teammates or act in ways that show that you do not have respect for them, it is likely that your teammates will treat you the same way.
  • Listen: Being a team leader does not give you a monopoly on brilliant ideas. Listen to everyone’s opinion and suggestion and implement workable ideas regardless of who it is coming from. Also, if a team member approaches you for help, is not comfortable with a line of action, asks a question, or talks about a grievance, listen and act on it if you can. Be humble to admit when you are wrong and accept corrections from your team.
  • Communicate: Make time to communicate with your team either in one-on-one or virtual meetings or via a social media platform like WhatsApp or Telegram group chat. Meetings should be a level ground where questions are asked and points are made clear. Do not just make decisions on your own. Run your ideas through the team. Give feedback on progress and new developments. Send reminders. Communication makes everyone feel included and it would not feel like you are running an independent business.
  • Commend: Compliment your team when they carry out a task. Show sincere appreciation for even seemingly little things like a document sent in before the deadline. Compliments like ‘Great work today guys!’ and ‘That was amazing’ go a long way in boosting morale. High fives would not hurt too! Also, compliment a team member who has done extremely well to make sure a group project is successful. Being recognized as an individual will remind them that they are visible. Words of commendation serve as motivation. You could also give physical rewards like buying lunch for members who have met certain goals.
  • Set Guidelines and Boundaries: Show your leadership capability by making guidelines and clearly defined rules. They should not be dictated to but the team should be aware that they regulate the affairs of everyone in the group, including you. Adhere to them and ensure everyone on the team does too. Ensure that everybody on the team respects each other and all grievances are directed to the human resources department of your organization or the office responsible for handling issues like that. Make sure that no one feels less important. If someone on your team is slacking off or performing poorly, talk to them privately and make them understand what is expected of them.
  • Make Plans Simple, Visible, and Clear: Tell everyone to prepare before a meeting so that salient points can be discussed. As a team leader though, prepare thoroughly by preparing visual aids or illustrations that can help simplify plans and instructions. Most people work better when the details of what they are about to do have been given to them and everything is broken down to the barest minimum. Do not just give an instruction without properly explaining what is expected. If you simplify things, everybody will benefit and your team will appreciate it. Outlining plans in an easy-to-understand way will be a testament to everyone on the team that thorough preparation and prior planning are key to achieving a good result which is the most important part of a project. Make the goals of a project real to you and in extension them by showing your team the steps you are taking to ensure that a good job is done. A bonus point: On a whiteboard or a blanket email, outline the plans for a project, more like a to-do list. You could break them into agendas and discuss them one at a time in meetings. Also, set a timeline for each of these goals. This makes delegating, planning, and coordinating a team project easier. It clears clutter and also helps you know which goals have been achieved so that the team can cross them off together on their to-do list. Many team leaders have found this to be a very helpful tip in undertaking a group project successfully.
  • Know and Support Your Team: Just as it is in football or any other team game if one person is feeling poorly, it could affect the overall performance of the whole team. Check up on your teammates. Show genuine interest when you communicate with them. Sure enough, you are not a psychologist but talk with them and really get to know and discuss with everyone beyond knowing their names (which is also important).  Know your team personally, their strengths, and their weaknesses. This will help you assign tasks according to each person’s abilities. 

A focused team produces the best results. Be sure everyone is focused and not distracted by issues at home or work. Is someone struggling with tasks because they lost a family member, is caring for a sick relative or trying to juggle work and taking care of a new baby? Be supportive. Do what you can to help. They could be given some time off or given tasks they can handle at the time. They could also be taken off the team till they are better.

  • Create Time for Bonding and Relaxation: After a whole week or month’s work, you could schedule time for your team to chill and bond on a weekend. Celebrate goals that have been met and successful projects. There are a lot of activities to enjoy; sports, games, lunches or dinner. Remember all work and no play maxim. It is no cliché. Time off not only creates a good work relationship but will help everyone defuse and shake off the stress from work.

Being appointed or elected as a team leader shows that your colleagues and boss trust your soft skills, leadership most especially. With these proven tips, you will be able to carry your team along and produce the best results.

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