RISE AND FALL OF TEAMS
Everything in a team grows and declines because of the leadership. Quality of leadership is the quality of a team. Leader does make a massive impact on the overall team achievement.
A CEO in our recent team development assignment puts it this way:
It is unfortunate that many managers want to stimulate the development of high-performance teams, but do not see themselves as active players in the process.
This happens because of the superficial belief that a team should be self-contained and owned by the team members. There is nothing inherently wrong with this belief. However, the fact is that the manager, formal leader or team supervisor has the major role in setting the climate for the development of teams.
I cannot overstate the point that if you want to encourage team functioning, it is very likely that you yourself will have to change. If you dont, any team approach is doomed to failure. Why do I feel so strongly about this? Because only then will you realize that leadership determines success.
To follow this precept, a sports team is guided by a coach, a symphony orchestra by a conductor. These teams dont suddenly develop without effective leadership. All managers must exhibit a high level of leadership skills to ensure the long-term sustenance of the team.
Whether your team will rise or fall, depends largely on the key leadership skills. Some of those critical leadership competencies include the following:
- Interpersonal Skills
The team leader should have highly developed interpersonal skills and some basic understanding of human psychology. Leaders ability to connect with his team and maintaining a strong rapport with people earns him the trust and confidence of the team. Leader should know what motivates people. Leaders need to discover what makes people commit to a goal and perform at their very best.
Leaders must recognize the importance of striking a balance between tasks (getting the job done) and people (ensuring that team members are satisfied with the process of getting the work done). Most of the leaders have a natural bias either for people or results. Knowing your usual tendency will allow you to adjust your leadership style to get the most from team.
Leaders must have a preference for listening and understanding rather than controlling and talking. At leadership position, most of us become vulnerable to outtalk others. We become more focused on what we have to say and show less importance others idea, opinions and thoughts. Willingness to listen and the ability to communicate are fundamental traits for a leadership.
Leaders must commit themselves to the team, and not give up when the going gets tough, or success is slow in coming. All top-quality leaders show loyalty to the purpose of team.In tough situations, teams look up to the leader. They read signs of commitment with great accuracy. When the team know that leader is fully committed to the cause, they too become unstoppable.
Leaders must behave in a consistent manner. The kind of leader who sometimes encourages the team process and at other times bypasses
the team confuses the hell out of everyone. When this happens, nobody takes the team or the leader seriously. Therefore, leaders must show reliability in their actions and behaviors. However, consistency doesnt mean displaying same behavior in every situation. It means, showing similar behavior in similar situations. Consistency is the best gift that you can present to your team.
- Role Model
The team will take its cues from its leader or manager. As a leader, you cannot break interpersonal rules, refuse to listen, insist on your own privileges, and yet expect the members of your team to believe that you REALLY value working together. Whatever leaders want team to do, they must first become role models themselves and only then can they expect others to co-operate.
Managers often ask me the critical question: How will my role as a manager evolve as the team grows?
My reply goes something like this: Not only is the managers role critical, but it changes over the lifespan of the team-development process. In the beginning of the process, the team members may need a good deal of help developing their mission and purpose, identifying what
they want to accomplish, and, more importantly, with the development of interpersonal and group skills such as conflict resolution, meeting management, etc. They may also need constant reminders that the manager is serious about the team; meaning that its activities, decisions and recommendations will be implemented wherever humanly possible.
The leader-manager may even be called upon to act as a mediator, when conflict cannot be resolved by the team members. As a team grows and matures, the manager might become an equal team member, or may find that the team doesnt require ongoing involvement.
Teams develop and grow with the help and guidance of a leader whose job is not to control, but to teach, encourage, and organize when necessary. If you really want me to define the role of a manager in a team context, I see her as a catalyst, a force that causes things to happen for other people, and for the team.
Remember, everything rises and falls on leadership.