Becoming a team leader can be exciting and frightening at the same time. It doesn't only give freedom, but it also requires a lot of responsibility. The good thing is that being a successful team leader is not a natural gift. First of all, it's a set of skills that every intelligent and motivated person can develop with time.
So, recently you have been promoted to a leadership role. Congratulations! It's a real challenge that not everyone will be able to handle. That's why you need to understand from the very beginning that you are going to make mistakes on your way. You should not be afraid of failure since every mistake can help you to improve.
If you don't know where to start as a new team leader, check out these effective tips:
To become a brave leader who will walk ahead of the team in the woods, you should know more than anyone else.
Hopefully, you already had a chance to gain valuable work experience and become an expert in your field. If you still feel like you have some knowledge gaps, make a list and start filling them.
In case you think you know it all already, it means something is wrong. You might be good at what you do, but now you need to become even better. It will help you to make the right decisions and earn respect at work.
Besides developing your professional skills, you should also find an effective leadership course. You can also take an online psychology course or read classic leadership books such as:
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George.
Leadership from the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life by Kevin Cashman.
Why Leaders Can't Lead: The Unconscious Conspiracy Continues by Warren Bennis.
The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge.
Get to know your Team
Every person has their own intentions, goals, strengths and weaknesses. The first thing you should do as a new team leader is getting to know your team members.
The best way to do so is to schedule one-on-one meetings with them or invite them to dinner. It's important to ask each member about their plans (both short-term and long-term), their ideas on how to improve team communication and manage workload. Some of them might have brilliant ideas, so always listen to your colleagues.
You may also ask the previous supervisor about their experience. You can take this information into account but use your critical thinking skills in the first place.
It's important to remain a part of the team. So, don't escape from your responsibilities. On the contrary, you should take on unpleasant tasks and lead by example. It's the way you can gain trust and manage your team effectively.
You might not become their best friend, but you can still have good relationships. So, feel free to join your team members at the corporate party.
Act with Fairness
As a team leader, you have an impact on your team's schedule, day to day tasks, and even salaries! No matter what your preferences are, be fair. You can't give someone a bonus only because you like their personality or because you are aware of their difficult financial situation. Look at their work performance and commitment to the company.
Learn how to Delegate
At some point, you will have too many tasks and responsibilities. If you don't want to burn out or start hating all the people around you, learn how to delegate. Your colleagues will not always see how hard you work or that you need some help. People can't read your mind, that's why you should let them know what you want.
Whenever you are under too much pressure at work, write a to-do list and delegate some tasks to your team members. You might think that they will not be able to handle some things without your supervision. Let it go and trust your team; otherwise, you will spend the rest of your days at work.
If you are in charge of hiring team members, take this seriously. During the interview, you should give them tasks that will show you what candidates are capable of doing.
To avoid making mistakes when delegating, explore your team's hidden talents and be aware of their skills.
In case you didn't get the result you expected, make sure to explain to your team members what exactly went wrong and what you want them to improve.
The Bottom Line
Being a team leader is not a piece of cake. Eventually, you will face a lot of challenges and even moral dilemmas. To make it easier for yourself, you should get to know your team members and keep learning. Leadership is an art you are about to learn. Good luck on your journey, boss!
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