A team leader has many critical expectations that shape their role and how they lead. People want you to provide direction, coaching and create an environment that encourages everyone to work with others. A successful team relies on a team leader who is decisive and well-organized. You should know that different people have different personalities. Some people have more natural skills than others. Leading a team in a dynamic workplace where tough challenges come up regularly requires good leadership skills, and the expectations to succeed are very high.
What are the Expectations of a Team Leader?
Expectations of a team leader are many and vary depending on their responsibilities and position. The consensus is a team leader needs to be decisive and can handle difficult conversations as necessary.
They don’t have an obligation to have all the answers because that’s what managers are for but should still feel comfortable having tough conversations when it’s necessary.
So, here are 10 critical expectations of a team leader:
1. Demonstrate Leadership
A successful team needs a good leader. It doesn’t have to be authoritarian, but someone who guides the rest of the team and ensures everyone is going in the same direction.
As a team leader, you need to possess good leadership qualities, like being reliable and committed to your team members. You also should be confident, even-tempered, and intellectually curious.
Also, you need to be someone who can see the big picture, follow values beyond your self-interest or personal gain, and focus on what is essential to the team.
Leadership is a natural skill to some, but others learn it and become leaders. The truth about leadership is, it’s more about how you act to inspire your team and understand what they need from you to succeed.
You don’t have to be perfect at leading people, know how to give them what they need, and get out of their way so they can do their jobs well.
2. Delegate Responsibilities
Before delegating, there are some considerations you would take into account to decide if someone is suited for the task or work.
The first question you should ask is What level of expertise is needed to complete the task? By doing that, it will help you judge whether or not you are delegating appropriately.
When delegating to someone, make sure that the person has the right skills to do the job correctly. Does the person you’re delegating have the enthusiasm and willingness to take ownership of the task? When you are satisfied with your assessment, then delegate.
The most critical thing to remember when delegating is that you are the leader. Delegating does not mean abdicating your leadership role. It simply means trusting people to get things done while focusing on leading them towards the team goal.
Read also: 16 Examples of Taking Responsibility at Work
3. Understand Team Members Individually
Every team member is different, and so it’s necessary to assess and understand their personal preferences. What is great for one team member may not be great for another.
Exceptional employees are scarce, so do your best to know them as individuals. Some people are more suited to working independently and might want less interaction with others.
Others need direction to contribute meaningfully toward team goals or achievements. Make sure you understand how each employee is motivated before delegating tasks or responsibilities.
4. Be Available for your Team
Being available expands beyond being there for the team and requires active participation, not just input. It means engaging with their day-to-day activities in a positive way. In other words, it is about being there with your team members as active participants.
And when they need you, make sure that you are there with open arms and listening to their concerns. When you work together, that creates better results for the team in the end.
5. Display Confidence
A leader needs to display confidence in their abilities and that of the team. Confidence is what builds trust and instills courage in your team. It also means that you have faith in what you do.
You show self-assurance, which makes other people want to follow you as a leader. For example, when senior managers see you presenting an idea at a meeting confidently, they think this person knows what you’re talking about.
There are many ways to project confidence, some more subtle than others. When you’re leading a meeting, make eye contact with everyone at the table.
Use a strong voice and speak clearly. Another way to show confidence is by taking on difficult tasks and finishing them well.
Also, you can do it by admitting mistakes and acknowledging your lack of knowledge in certain areas.
It’s worth remembering that showing self-confidence is not about being selfish or egotistical in any way.
6. Provide Reliable Information
As a leader, it is your responsibility to provide reliable information when team members ask for it. This means being proactive and always providing the right resources to help them be successful. If you’re not sure what they need, asking questions is an effective way of getting the answer.
Never hide, give false information or assume anything, as this could lead to negative consequences. If your team members do not feel that they are getting the right information and resources to do their work, they will start questioning your credibility.
The most important thing of all for a team is trust. It’s something that you have to earn overtime by your actions as a team leader and should never be taken lightly.
Read more: 8 Examples of What to Tell Your Manager to Improve On
7. Model the Right Behaviors
A team Leader is inherently a person of influence and can set a standard for positive actions within the team. As a leader, you must set a good example for your team.
Model the behavior and expectations you want from your team. When you lead a team that is not meeting your expectations, it is tempting to yell at them thinking it will make them work harder.
And while you might experience temporary success with this strategy, it will be short-lived. Instead of shouting, you should give guidance with the right level of care and allow the team to operate with independence.
8. Encourage Teamwork
A successful team is not just a group of highly skilled people, it’s also about how they work together and do the job. Having a group of good individuals performing their specific tasks with little interaction or coordination with each other is not a guarantee for success.
The team needs a culture of teamwork and cooperation. Successful teams function together with one goal in mind. It’s about how they all work as a unit to achieve the team goals.
There is a common understanding of what each person’s role is in the team. There is no finger-pointing, blaming others, who gets credit or recognition needs to be discussed openly so that ego isn’t too strongly associated with team productivity.
Read more: What Does Being a Leader Mean to You?
9. Make Decisions
Part of being an effective and successful leader is making decisions for your team and sticking with them. However, it is not always easy because a decision can sometimes be challenging to make. There will always be someone who disagrees with you or has a different opinion on how things should be done.
But as a team leader, you have to make difficult decisions for the benefit of the team as a whole. It means that at times you will make tough choices that may not seem fair or popular but have the best outcome for your team and organization.
The role of a team leader is not all about being popular with the team, but in many cases, you will face backlash from members or make many of them unhappy if you make an unpopular decision.
10. Never use an Ultimatum
The worst thing you can do as a leader makes ultimatums. Giving someone an ultimatum forces them to take responsibility against their will and ultimately limits the power they have in negotiations with you. Also, giving ultimatums rarely yields the desired results.
So, give an ultimatum unless it’s positive feedback. Otherwise, using ultimatums is self-defeating because it will push people away from you instead of drawing them closer with more cooperation.
It will not make your team members feel like partners working towards common goals but rather subordinates beholden only to your requests without input from them or saying what they need.
Leading a team is not an easy task because the expectations are too many. In your role as a leader, you act as the foundation for the team, providing direction and support to them.
Create an environment where they can be themselves while also working together in unity that encourages teamwork. And most importantly, to be a successful leader, you need to make decisions quickly so that your team members don’t get frustrated with indecisions.
A team needs a well-rounded team leader who can take on many responsibilities — guiding people of different personalities towards success.
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