Thank you in advance for participating. As you read this, I encourage you to submit your thoughts and suggestions as this is a non-exhaustive list and your wisdom will surely help others.
You’re reading this because you are possibly in one of a few places.
- You are a team leader looking to master your role
- You are entering team leadership and could use a few pointers
- You want to choose the right team leader for yourself and want to know what to look for.
For the record, I have had many team leaders and have been one several times. From a small business owner running a crew to having a very successful Real Estate team, I’ve made MANY mistakes over the years. These mistakes shaped me and inspired me to create my consulting business. They have helped me groom other team leaders.
With that said, you’ll need to know that I have softened over the years. I used to carry a much bigger stick than I do now. I find myself ongoingly shaping my skills as times change and people are receptive to new ways of being on a thriving team.
So, if you are someone who still carries a big stick, humor me and continue reading. Then submit your thoughts below. Fair enough?
Below are just a few team leader skills that I abide to. I am purposely leaving some out for those of you who would like to share.
How to become a sought-after Team Leader:
- Leave your ego at the door – People are resistant to authoritative leaders. You will do best if you can be approachable, relatable and identifiable. Team leader does not mean ‘boss’ or ‘manager’.
- Develop leaders, not followers - If you are beginning a team, chances are they want to become team leaders as well. See them as a leader from day one and watch them flourish.
- Know your team member – Treat each team member as the unique individual that they are. When someone joins your team, find out what THEY hope to achieve and not what YOU want them to achieve. Not everyone wants to be a millionaire (hard to believe) or work full time. Build a personal profile for each member and nurture their vision.
- Encouragement – We’ve all been beaten up enough for what we don’t do or do incorrectly. Imagine how refreshing it would be if you supported your team member every step of the way with every fall and every challenge? Think of them as a child riding a bicycle. You’d want to keep encouraging them until they find balance. Right? Well, your team member is learning something new and is already insecure. Keep supporting them to go in their desired direction.
- Reward, celebrate, acknowledge – Most people do well when they are appreciated. Offering a compliment, a gift or a thoughtful and well-meaning pat on the back can make all the difference in the world when they feel like they want to throw in the towel. I once stayed at a job mainly because I loved how they loved me.
- Be a role model – While you may become close to some or all your team, do your best not to air your dirty laundry with them. Be someone they aspire to become. When you share what’s not working in your life, you deprive them of having a powerful role model. Sure, you want to be vulnerable and transparent, but you can do that as a leader, not as a victim or complainer.
- Be a safe place - We may not realize that we could very well be the most important person to some of our team members. They may be dealing with a lot of resistance, self-doubt, and fear. They joined your team because they had hope for something 'better'. Be gentle with them. Allow them to unfold as they build trust and faith in you and themselves.
- Be available – You don’t have to be available 24/7 for your team. But you can create a special time when they get all of you. If you do webinars and group calls, consider one on one time with anyone who could use it. If you are not available, find another team leader who can help. My fellow team leaders and I often share in the support of our team. We often get calls from each other’s members because we all offer different strengths.
- Be generous – Sometimes you will know that your team member belongs on another team or under another one of your team members. Maybe they would do better with someone who speaks their language or wants to build their business similarly. Be generous enough to do what’s right for them.
- Encourage community – Introduce your team members to each other. I can’t tell you how much I love the friendships that develop. The more you create a sense of community, the more likely they are to succeed. This often helps you as they begin to support each other.
- Invite, don’t demand – Introduce your team members to everything that you know to grow themselves and their business. Invite them to try different ways to find their ‘dance’. Allowing them to accept or decline an invitation is respectful and will likely produce better results.
- Honor their pace – Are you working with a slow starter? Someone who has a lot going on in their lives? Keep honoring the pace that they are moving at and yet offer gentle encouragement to move forward even if it’s a baby step. No whips, no chains. Just offer guidance and support.
- Educate – Did you ever see the team leader who expected their team to know what to do? Some will be self-starters for sure, but even a seasoned member needs orientation and education. Most could use your wisdom until they find their own wings. You don’t have to be their teacher if that’s not your thing but lead them to where their education lies. Be responsible to provide direction to weekly training, Facebook pages and back-office training. Offer them reading material that would encourage them to master their trade. Teach them the power of being ahead of others and on top of their game when they stay informed. FYI, this works best if you too are staying educated and informed.
- Effective Communication – Learn the art of effective communication. What you say and how you say it can make all the difference in the world. Be mindful of your tone and always treat your team as the adults they are.
- Don’t be attached – You may spend a lot of time on a team member who ends up doing nothing. This is the nature of the beast. Don’t beat a dead horse. Only work with those who want to move forward. Also, do your best not to treat the next team member as if they will quit too. Stay in the vision of their success.
- For goodness sake, make things fun – Have contests, games, lighthearted sharing and even get-togethers. When I was a Realtor for 25 years, I was fortunate enough to have a broker who would break out in dance in the middle of the day and have us all join in. I was fun-loving at home but until then, I was a serious Realtor because I thought I had to be. Once I ‘married’ fun and my career, I went on to be a huge success. Have fun as a team leader and show them that fun is an important aspect to their success.
- Be prepared for an explosion - Ultimately, be prepared as a sought after Team Leader that your members will start inviting others to join your team because you will now stand out as someone who is remarkable. YES, be remarkable and watch your team flourish.
- Duplicate - Share this article or at the very least, teach your new Team Leaders how to become sought after as well. Watch your business snowball organically and all it took was mastering your leadership skills.
I could go on and on with tips to being a sought after team leader. I’ll probably add to this list or add new tips to the comments.
In a nutshell, I would like to say that building a team is an art. I would also like to encourage you to build in such a way that it’s pleasurable and sustainable for YOU. Think to yourself, ‘could I keep doing this for years to come?’ If you don’t think so, then maybe you want to streamline your system. Allow team building to be something you master, not resist.
Here’s to your infinite success