10 Things Effective Team Leaders Do
While being a team leader is similar to being a project manager, some elements differentiate these two roles from each other. If you are a team leader, you are also responsible for coaching and guiding your team towards a goal as their mentor.
In this article, our goal is to provide an insight into a team leader’s primary responsibilities and list ten things you can do to become the most effective team leader!
Who is a team leader?
A team leader is responsible for the day-to-day operations and guiding the team as a whole towards a particular goal. Instead of being in charge of managing the teams like a project manager, a team leader must ensure that the work environment of team members is collaborative and that they are on track with the shared aim of achieving the goal.
What are the responsibilities of team leaders?
Team leaders are responsible for a specific part of the work, like a project or a portfolio. Their major responsibilities can be listed as the following:
- Organizing the workflow
- Communicating about the goals with all team members to make sure everybody is on the same page
- Not falling off the context by connecting work to the context
- Delegating tasks
- Providing examples about what can or should be done to team members
- Solve problems practically and cleverly
- Observing and managing the progress of the project by following the project management
- Detecting team members’ strengths and the skills they should improve
- Reporting the progress and the workflow to the stakeholders
Differences between the team leader and the project manager
The main difference between management and leadership is that a team leader is responsible for providing guidance to the team members about the project and delegating work with coaching them.
In other words, a team leader’s primary focus is on encouraging and empowering the team members to ensure that they will deliver a work of quality and according to the expectations at the beginning. Project managers instead focus on the deliverables and the assignments that need to be completed by the team members.
10 Team Leader Skills, You Must Have
No matter the context of the project you will be leading, as a good and effective team leader, you should be able to manage and communicate with your team with confidence. Here are the 10 skills you can start with:
1. Goal Management
If you want to be a good and effective team leader, you should be able to explain to your team members why the work they will be doing is important for the company’s goals. When team members are informed that the tasks they will be delivering will contribute to the company’s overall goal, they become more inclined to work with motivation.
Therefore, as a good team leader, you should conduct systematic goal management in which you will ensure that your team knows why their work matters and how they will contribute to the company’s vision in the end. Using Asana at this point to come up with well-planned goal management will increase your team members’ productivity within the workflow.
2. Moving work in the right direction
After understanding which goals the team members will be supporting with their tasks, they also need to know how they will be able to reach that goal. As a team leader, you have to path the way for your team members and identify which steps need to be taken to reach the goal in the end.
By setting Smart Goals, you should underline each step and its importance to your team so that they can stay on the right track.
You should also be able to observe each team member’s progress, and they too must have a clear understanding of each other’s work. In this way, you and your team can track the overall progress and stay in touch with each other towards the shared goal.
By creating project status reports, you can share all the updates and present the whole progress to stakeholders. In addition, preparing project status reports will check another box within your responsibilities as a team leader since you will always be communicating the updates with the stakeholders.
3. Effective communication
Like any aspect of life, having effective communication skills is vital for team leaders, too. As a team leader, you should be able to communicate both verbally and nonverbally with your team members, pay attention to face-to-face communication, build rapport for individuals above you and for the team, give feedback to stakeholders and resolve conflicts timely and practically.
Creating a communication plan lets you communicate what is going on and how the workflow management proceeds with everyone through your project management tool, Asana.
Since your goal is to lead your team in the right direction towards the determined objective or goal, you are responsible for organizing the team’s work in the most practical way just like a project manager.
When a team member has a question or confusion, you should always have an answer about the information they will be needing from you. To make sure you can develop a systematic organizational system for the team, you can use the best project management tool, Asana.
With the help of Asana, you can manage the projects and keep track of the progress that is being made each step of the way.
A good team leader would know that they carry all the weight on their shoulder by themselves. Union is a strength; therefore, delegating is one of the most crucial parts. You can find the right person for the job and put some weight off with good delegating skills. In order to delegate effectively, you should keep in mind that:
- The first thing you have to do is identify the work you want to delegate.
- Then you will have to underline why that task or work is urgent and essential so that team members can prioritize their work.
- You should also be able to provide training if needed.
- And lastly, you should trust but not become blindfolded by checking and observing the person you delegated the work to regularly.
6. Problem Solving
It is no surprise that several issues can arise within projects. Specifically, team leaders should have good problem-solving skills to overcome the hitches because there is no way of escaping from challenges or problems.
Before making a decision while trying to solve a problem, always remember what the most important thing is and how the team members can react to your decision. If you can manage to solve problems effectively, the team’s productivity and creative production can increase over time.
7. Time Management
Good team leaders should have excellent time management skills as they need to know how to prioritize the tasks at hand and still be able to reach the goal or the objective.
You and the team members can use some time management strategies and tools to develop or improve time management skills.
Here is a list of methods and techniques you can use or encourage your team members to use to develop efficient time management skills:
The GDT Method: The GDT method catalogs your information and data in an external tool.
Time blocking: This method groups the similar tasks you have in hand and allows you to reschedule the time blocks.
The Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro technique prepares sprints for you and categorizes them to increase your productivity.
The Pareto Principle: This principle focuses on getting 80% of your work finished by showing only %20 effort.
The eat the frog method: This method underlines that you can deliver the task with the best quality if only you can complete the most significant task you have in hand first.
8. Workload Management
If you want to be a good team leader who makes sure that every team member has the right amount of work on their plate so that there won’t be any issues arising, you should conduct workload management excellently.
By always being in touch with your team members and asking them how they are holding up with their workload, you can make some corrections in the workflow.
You can use a project management tool like Asana to manage the workload and keep track of each team member’s progress alongside seeing how loaded they are. Using a platform like Asana, where everything is visible for everyone in just one place, you can prevent overwork and increase productivity.
9. Team Building
As a team leader, you are also responsible for spending time on building a team and making sure that each individual feels like they are an important part of the team.
To make sure that everyone is on the same page towards the goals, or the objectives determined to be achieved, you need to build an effective team in which everyone is comfortable with communicating and sharing work with each other.
You can spend time finding and playing team-building games, encouraging team members to ask icebreaker questions, and evaluating each performance by congratulating and showing that you appreciate your team members’ efforts to have an effective team.
10. Mentoring and Coaching
Considering that your team members may be new in their position or have questions about how they need to complete a particular task, you should have good mentoring and coaching skills to meet their expectations and needs.
Even when sometimes you may not have the answer they need, you should be able to direct them to the person who will provide the right solution.
Never forget that you will be responsible for supporting your team members and filling in the captain’s position on the ship. By building emotional intelligence, you can be the best coach or mentor for your team members and provide support whenever they need it.