Being a Team Leader is really rewarding. You meet people who inspire you, teach you, and challenge you; and you may also do the same for them. There’s no fool proof method for being a great Team Leader but below I list some suggestions I’ve gained from a variety of roles over the years, including:
- Young Leader at Brownie Guides
- Student Ambassador at University
- Unit Leader at Summer Camp
- Team Leader on a Community Development Project
1. Be Enthusiastic
If you, the Team Leader, aren’t interested how can the team be?
2. Be Positive
The world isn’t ending, and so long as nobody dies – everything will be fine.
3. Be Supportive
Support everyone and their ideas – even the ones you think won’t work (they probably will). If you must criticise do it constructively.
4. Be Professional
Don’t disrespect others. If there is an issue handle it in a professional manner.
5. Be Forgiving
When people break the rules, help them to not break the rules again. Don’t immediately eject them from the programme, give them a fair trial.
6. Be Behind the Scenes
It’s tempting to: make the phone call, write the report, and deliver the presentation; but don’t. Let somebody who has less experience try.
7. Be a Role Model
Just start packing the chairs away; others will or won’t join you. Don’t call out the people doing ‘nothing’.
8. Be Observant
Is the team tired? Is the meeting getting tense? Is moral low? Implement activities to improve team dynamics and mood, for example, a swimming trip, a team lunch, a DVD night, a sports day.
9. Be Your Best
How are YOU? It’s tempting to attend every meeting, every event, and every social. However, you need to take care of yourself; so you can take the best care of others.
10. Be Social
Bond with the team through non-work related activities and get to know them individually but….
11. Be Friendly but not Friends
You’re not best friends. You’re colleagues. Don’t join venting sessions or share confidential information.
12. Be Prepared
Plan in advance and carry as much useful stuff with you as possible, including scissors, marker pens, string, sun cream, sun hat, and extra water.
The suggestions I’ve listed, I’ve learnt from doing it wrong the first/second/third time. What matters is I analyse my performance and try to improve. The best way to improve is to ask for feedback, to observe other Team Leaders, and to think to yourself what you think makes a great Team Leader.
What do you think about my suggestions? What do you think makes a great Team Leader? Let me know. I look forward to your comments.