Growing up we are taught there is no ‘I’ in team. We’re given small but valuable opportunities to lead, whether on the sports field or in the classroom. But post-school, when we enter the real world, and these ‘personal growth’ opportunities that have been handed to us on a platter come to an end, our team leadership learning and development can be stunted. Such opportunities need to be earned.
Leading a team is a learned art. Sure, there are some fundamental natural qualities that are valuable like empathy, humility and integrity, but there are many skills that can be developed and refined. If team leadership – in any industry – has captured your attention but you’re still looking for some guidance on what it can offer, here are some of the most valuable things you can learn studying this world class discipline.
Disciplined action: this is absolutely crucial to the successful outcome of any project. And to achieve disciplined action, you need disciplined people and disciplined thought. This is the role of the team leader. Unifying a collective of people and their vision is easier said than done. Getting agreement is the leader’s job and this person needs to be willing to take personal and professional risks to define the team’s direction.
Resolve conflict: conflict is, unfortunately, an inevitability in any working environment when you have unique personalities in the mix. Conflict arises with difference of opinion, unaddressed sensitivities, feelings of inadequacy, and different agendas, among many other things. Team leadership teaches you the skills needed to help manage and effectively resolve conflict. Namely, how to ensure all parties feel heard and reach an agreement.
Delegation/managing resources: a true team leader knows there is no ‘I’ in team and is able to identify what tasks belong with which team member based on their experience and expertise. A team leader that tries to dominate the most enjoyable parts of a project or ‘clips the wings’ of their juniors is not a team leader. Leaders have to be willing to let others step up and own their role.
Help others fulfil their potential: this is closely linked to delegation. A genuine team leader is one that encourages their team members to fulfil their potential. This involves helping them to identify and hone their strongest attributes and develop new skills while mentoring, inspiring and motivating them every day! Certainly no mean feat, but an incredibly rewarding opportunity.
Communication: being able to get your message across clearly and concisely – verbally or in writing – is an important part of being an effective team leader. The health of your team and its productivity absolutely depends on it. You need to be able to set a great example for your juniors so they have clear expectations on the level and nature of communication required.
Be sure to check out the TANZ eCampus Team Leadership Course: https://www.tanzecampus.com/business/new-zealand-certificate-business-introduction-team-leadership-level-3/ and the top reasons why you should study Project Management: