Truly excellent leaders are developed over time, and while high-quality leadership training will provide someone with all of the necessary tools to succeed, development is a continuous process. In fact, even a team leader with 10 years’ worth of experience should want to improve and evolve in order to reach the next level.
So when a good team leader wants to take the next step in their own development in order to become a great team leader, which areas should they pay particular attention to? Here, we take a look at four things that all great team leaders do and explain why they are so important.
1. Balance Confidence with Realism
A good leader has a healthy dose of confidence and belief in their own ability, which works well to provide assurances to team members. At the same time, they know to never allow this confidence to cross over into arrogance, or perceived arrogance, because humble leaders are far more likely to be respected and listened to.
However, for a good leader to become great, they must not feel as though they are above anyone else and should be willing to ‘do the dirty work’ for the good of the company. Moreover, they should balance their confidence with a certain amount of realism, as an awareness of problems and a willingness to adapt to them is essential.
2. Lead by Example
One of the most important aspects of leadership is positively influencing the behavior of a team. While a good leader will make their expectations clear and let team members know what they want from them, a truly great leader will lead by example, serve as a role model and be the change they want to see in the workplace.
“Great leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words,” Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, writes for Forbes. “Harping on people all day long about the behavior you want to see has a tiny fraction of the impact you achieve by demonstrating that behavior yourself.”
3. Provide Positive Feedback
In general, team leadership training places an emphasis on how to keep morale high. Despite this, many leaders do not pay enough attention to this area, failing to dish out encouragement and positive feedback when they should. Yet, telling a team member that they have done a good job can work wonders when it comes to boosting performance.
This does not mean that you should avoid handing out constructive criticism to team members. Indeed, making valid criticism is a vital component of team leadership and many people respond well to it. Nevertheless, you should be fair and focus on areas of strength as well as areas of weakness, especially in newer or younger team members.
4. Demonstrate a Willingness to Apologize
A common problem, even amongst good team leaders, is an inability to accept responsibility for mistakes. Many leaders believe they need to protect themselves at all times and feel that apologizing shows weakness. In reality, owning up to errors helps to foster a far better team spirit and prevents resentment from subordinates.
“It took many years for me to realize how saying ‘I’m sorry’ can help,” admits John Brandon, a contributing editor for Inc.com. “If I made a mistake, I’d pretend it was just a misunderstanding, [but] if you fess up quickly, people working for you will respect you more.”
Author: Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director for MHI Global (formerly AchieveGlobal), a global sales training and leadership development company. It specializes in providing exceptional sales management courses and helps organizations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership training.