Thursday, September 03, 2015

Top 5 qualities of a team leader

“So, you are now a team lead. You must be excited. Isn’t it?”, asked Sam who was a mentor.
“Yeah! I am on top of the world. Can’t you see?” he replied sarcastically
Sam looked at him in suspicion and then asked again, “You don’t sound too good. Tell me, what happened?”
“Well, Sam, Though I have been promoted as a team lead in my team and I should be happy but somewhere I feel I am not doing right”, he replied
Sam then said, “As a team lead, you need to get the best from yourself and others as well. At a technical level, you may be very good but you need few skills to master the role of a team leader”.
 “Hmmm.” He replied (sounding confused)
Same sensed his confusion and then replied again, “Ok, let me ask you a question. To begin with, are you clear about the ultimate goal? If not, then you must find out or decide what the goal is as that is first skill of a team leader
“Yes, Definitely. I am clear of what our goal is”, he replied with confidence.
“That’s good. So, you know what the goal is and that will give you some direction.” Sam replied giving a thumbs up signal. “As a team leader, you must be leading the team somewhere. If you do not know what your goal is then it becomes utmost necessary to find out what it is and decide what the purpose of the team. In addition, you also need to ensure that everything you do in the team is governed by that purpose”, Sam replied again.
“Ok. So, that is it”, he replied.
“No, that’s not all. This is just a beginning. As a team leader, you then need to communicate clearly with your team. Communication plays a very important role for a team lead as you always work surrounded by other people and it also requires you to gain cooperative assistance to achieve the goals.” Sam replied.
“Incase, I am unable to communicate well then is there a scope of improving my communication skills?”, he asked.
“Yes, indeed there is. If you are unable to communicate well with your team then you will not be able to achieve your goal. As a team lead, you need to improve upon various aspects in order to improve you communication skills to gain cooperative assistance such as language usage, appearance, listening skills, memory skills, and ability to write clearly” Sam replied.
“It is not necessary that you need to master all of these but even if you improve 2-3 of them then you would notice an improvement in your leadership skills. However, if you are able master all of them then you can conquer the whole world”, Sam replied again with smile on his face.
“Hmm. Sounds good”, he replied.
“So, now you know what the goal is and you are able to communicate well. What do you think your next task will be? “, Sam asked.
“Plan, ofcourse. Isn’t it?” he inquired with confidence.
“Yes, you are absolutely correct”, Sam replied. “A plan is the method by the virtue of which you will achieve the goal that you have set for your team. As a team lead, it is very necessary for you to come up with a plan to organize the resources in a manner where we get maximum progress, in the minimum time, money and effort.  But, that is not an easy task to do and requires deep thought process”. Sam replied again.
“Hmm. Ok. So, let me just summarize what you just mentioned above. First, we set a goal or purpose of the team, secondly, we communicate clearly about the goal to the team, and then thirdly, we create a plan”, he replied.
“You nailed it right”, Sam said and then gave pat on his back.
“But, Sam, what do we do if we find some people in the team who disagrees with the plan or anything we have created or does not comply with it”, he asked.
“So, here, you have a conflict”, Sam replied to him. “As a team leader, you always need to be prepared of such situation as you will always have to deal with difficult people who do not agree with you and who do not do things that you want them to do. You need to be very careful while handling such people in the team, and you need a way to handle them, “Sam replied again.
“But, how do we do this?”, he asked.
“Well, let us understand the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of how you should handle such people”, Sam replied. “First, the Don’ts: As a team lead, you must not get angry, or verbally aggressive, or even upset of any situation. Now, the dos: you must be respectful at all times with your team members, and offer corrective actions. In addition, it is also necessary that you make reference of the facts instead of any feelings”, Sam replied. “Do not ever let your feelings come in your way when you try to deal with the difficult people”, Sam said while pointing a finger. “Remember, you must keep that person on your side as you do not want to divide the team into several parts or create any warring camps. Also, remember, it is always necessary to maintain a professional environment when working with the team”, Sam said.
“So, as a team leader, I need to play my cards in a logical manner and not get emotional at all. Correct”, he asked.
“Absolutely! You are bang on”, Sam replied.
“But, with all the conflict and other pressures, it becomes really difficult to motivate ourselves and may also have a draining effect on our mind”, he said.
Sam replied, “Yes, you are right. But, you will need to manage your emotions and then self-manage your emotional state. Remember, you must need to control the contents of your mind as you feel whatever you think about. As a team leader, you must control and direct your thoughts in your mind away from the disastrous or bad future, failures in the past, or any success that happened in the past. You must focus your mind on the goals, plan, and how best you can help your team members in order for them to help you. And, most importantly, you must focus your mind on how great the future will be for you and your family”.
“Hmm. So all this will keep me motivated and enthusiastic, and will also make me and my family happy. Isn’t it?”, he replied.
“Indeed!”, Sam sighed.
“But, how do we motivate our team?”, he asked.
Sam replied, “Lets say you have clear goals and able to communicate well with the team. Also, you have a strong plan, are able to manage difficult team members, and feel strong and motivated. So, just look around you. Can you see the similar thing happening to others also?
“Hmm. Yes”, he replied.
Sam then asked him, “Then, you filter the same skills to others, and ask yourself that have the team members become more goal focused, communicative, and organized”.
“Oh, Sounds so simple, isn’t it?”, he sighed with a relief. “So, let me just summarize what we just discussed so far. As a team leader, I would:
  1. Set and define goals for the team
  2. Communicate well with the team members
  3. Create a strong plan
  4. Manage the difficult team members
  5. Controlling and directing my thoughts, and focusing my mind on the task in hand.
  6. Stay focused and motivated myself and then only can inspire and keep others motivated
That’s it, right!”
“Yes, you nailed it, right”, Sam replied with a smile. Now, I know you can become an effective team leader.

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