Being the leader of a team puts most people in a precarious position. You’re not entirely a manager with hiring and firing power, but you are responsible and accountable for leading your crew towards victory.  A successful team leader is essential to companies as they head various functions and departments. Team leaders have admirable qualities that help them earn the necessary respect needed when working with a team of people including:

Fairness

Being considerate and amicable is a gift. You’re sending the message that you know what it’s like to be on the other side. Working as a team leader often puts you in a position to work on scheduling or assigning tasks. It is inevitable that you may have formed friendships during your career. You might even prefer individual members of your team over others.  This is a common occurrence and one to be aware of. Make sure you abstain from preferential treatment of co-workers. Always provide a way for your crew members to request certain days or holidays off well in advance.

In the event you have difficulty with treating your team fairly, resulting in complaints, —speak directly with your boss and ask him or her to oversee the scheduling or task assignments. They should be able to assist you in assigning the jobs anonymously. You also have the option of allowing employees to “pick” specific duties on a rotational basis.

Leading by Example

As the leader of your team, you’re expected to work alongside the people entrusted to you. It’s no different from any job you’ve had in the past except that all eyes are on you instead of someone else. Anything you do or say can be used against you or, cost you the respect you’ve worked so hard to earn. Always keep in mind that you have a responsibility to the company to get the job done and a responsibility to your crew to work as hard as they do.

When and if you have members of your team come to you complaining about a co-worker, always hear both sides of the issue.  If it appears to be a severe issue ask for advice in handling it. Problems between co-workers do happen. The main thing is; never gossip about it or choose sides.

Never-Exempt Status

Team leaders may think that they’re exempt from doing hard tasks.  Unpleasant tasks are part of life, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to pitch in and get your hands dirty with the rest of the crew. Remember, respect is earned.

Making Tough Decisions

Part of your job as a team leader may require you to assess the performance of employers considered for promotion. If you keep accurate records and note when someone impresses you with a job well done, it is much more useful than remembering specific incidents. You may also be asked to join in during interviews conducted to increase the size of your team. Knowing what you need in terms of skills and expertise can lighten the burden on yourself and others later on.

Knowing and Following the Law

The more you know about the laws protecting employees the better equipped you’ll be to handle situations such as:

  • Maternity leave
  • People with disabilities
  • Religious days off
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual harassment

Do’s and Don’ts

Do make it a point to track hours and overtime. Never allow someone to work off the clock or ask someone to just “help you out.” Employee laws are there for a reason, and implementation protects everyone involved.

Follow Company Policy 

If you are ever unsure about a policy or law, human resources or your supervisor will have the answer. There’s no reason to jeopardize your job because you didn’t know what to say or do. There are times when you’ll be tempted to make an exception to a policy, but doing so without approval from your boss can cost you your job it’s just not worth it.

Attitude is Still Everything

Your attitude affects everyone around you. You have to be aware that as a team leader, your approach sets the tone and example for your entire group. A positive disposition is as infectious as a bad one, so do your best to maintain a pleasant demeanor.

Have Their Backs

Success and failure come with every job. Team leaders support everyone during good and bad times. Get in the habit of using failures as learning opportunities and don’t be shy about telling the whole crew when someone is successful. Blame and name calling is wrong and does nothing to encourage a person. Never throw anyone under the bus. Mistakes happen, giving you a chance to show your expertise at fixing things. It also exemplifies your ability to handle people.

Leaders Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Leaders play an essential and significant role within a company. There is no one-size-fits-all definition. When it comes to the style of leadership, there are many different methods and variations including:

  • Visionaries
  • Strategists
  • Motivators
  • Peacemakers

Visionaries

Visionary’s traditionally see the big picture and propose the necessary actions the team should follow. If you fit this description, be sure to research the plan before involving the group thoroughly.

Strategists

People who make the time to strategize usually have the ability to designate specific tasks to individual team members. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your crew comes in handy when particular jobs must be performed.

Directional Leaders

This person can make critical decisions without hesitation. The directional leader trusts their knowledge in making the tough calls. They assume total responsibility when growing or consolidating resources.

Motivators

The motivator knows the perfect way to excite and energize people. This leader’s team trusts them and their judgment. They’re committed to doing a good job working as a team, not individuals.

The team leader who loves their job is usually the best person to be a leader-it’s a natural fit. Companies need people who can motivate others and set goals for their team. These leaders can expect to receive benefits and rewards for their hard work. The more you empower people, the more power you’ll have.

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