The effectiveness of a team is certainly influenced by the team leader. Here are five things that you can do to be a good leader and positively affect your team.
- Be a cheerleader for your team. This does not mean yelling or jumping up and down, but it does mean someone who recognizes the achievements of individuals and the team—both internally and externally. It is always easy to list what is wrong. A good leader also spends time focusing on what is right and encouraging it.
- Coach up and train— means helping people advance their skills and looking at candidates from within the team when there are job openings. It’s very discouraging to team members when you hire someone from the outside without even considering current employees who might be qualified. Even if you do not think your team members are ready for advancing, let them apply. They should know about any openings in your department.
- Try to keep an open door. Your team should have access to you if needed. Of course, we’re not talking about when you need uninterrupted time to complete an important project. But your team should feel comfortable consulting you about work-related questions or problems. When you are meeting with a team member, don’t close your office door unless the conversation is personal or highly confidential. Closed doors cause speculation. If noise is a problem, just close the door half way.
- Be human. All managers are people; they have ups and downs in life just like anyone else. If you’re having a rough day, try not to take it out on others. If you do lose your patience with someone, acknowledge it, apologize if appropriate, and move on.
- Enjoy what you do and have a positive attitude. This is infectious and can boost moral and performance. A team will often “mirror” the attitude of its leader.
And remember: True leaders don’t create followers. They create more leaders.