Managing Groups and Teams/Effective Team Leadership
There are many elements that create and are essential to be an effective leader that has the power to motivate a team and drive success. There is often a balancing act that the leader must manage between being a leader and a member while ensuring the goal is clear and obtainable. There are six leadership competencies that are the building blocks to becoming an effective leader; focus on the goal, ensure a collaborative climate, build confidence, demonstrate sufficient technical know-how, set priorities, and manage performance as described When Teams Work Best by LaFasto and Larson. Therefore, the question arises, “Does an effective team leader both merge into the group as a member of the team and also maintain a leadership role? And if so, how?”
A leader is the key player in the game that is comprised of challenge and risk. Therefore, an effective team leader must be both a component to the team and also a leader to manage the team’s progress. The leader cannot possibly be competent in every area without being engaged in the team. The leader must know each member and the team as a whole in order to bring them all together and create a process that is open, productive, and promotes confidence. An effective leader uses each member’s contributions and energy to focus on a common goal. Essentially, a leader’s job is to add importance to the team’s effort, which cannot be done without being a member.
It is very common for a team leader to be in the dark about their team and the everyday operations. This is a consequence of a leader’s disengagement and lack of membership with the team. Moreover, the team’s contention usually gives birth at this point and lends itself to decreased productivity and satisfaction. An effective leader needs to be able to pinpoint problems and praise excellence within the group, which cannot be done from the sideline.
The leader is a part of the overall process; therefore, a relationship naturally exists. However, it is up to the leader whether to nurture that relationship or minimize its importance. The team leader must understand the team’s vision and clearly define the goal to guarantee success and member loyalty. One cannot lead a team without knowing the purpose and goal of the team. Furthermore, a team leader must create a collaborative climate to ensure that the best thinking and ideas of the team are represented. Again, a wholesome climate cannot be established without knowing the members and becoming engaged in the team.
The foundation of a highly motivated and successful team is the member’s understanding and relevance of their goal. An effective leader’s trust in the team goal is vital to the member’s commitment. The members become isolated and discouraged when the leader’s investment is minimal. Team members want the opportunity to prove their value and worth to the goal and the leader. The leader must be involved and a member of the team to effectively influence the member’s productivity and function in the grand scheme of things.
There has been a gradual progression and contemporary focus on the leader’s mutual relationship with the members as opposed to the authority position in the modern day. This leader-member relationship breeds trust, confidence, stimulation, responsiveness, and problem solving which are the keys for success and satisfaction. As demonstrated, an effective leader should be a part and merge with the team and simultaneously lead and encourage it’s constituents toward the goal. The leader can bring inspiring growth or demise to a team and company; therefore, it is essential for a leader to be effective and powerful.