For any organization to succeed, it needs effective working teams. This is true whether it is a startup, multinational or non-profit organization.
The way teams are organized, led and motivated will determine whether or not the organization’s objectives are met. Therefore, if you intend to achieve your organization’s mission, you need to ensure that all your working teams function smoothly.
The most critical factor for the success of any team is leadership. A team leader sets the morale, assigns tasks, communicates the vision and maintains team cohesion. They ensure that the team works together towards the fulfillment of their mandate.
Basically, in order to achieve your organization’s vision, you need to have the most effective people leading your teams. Unfortunately, good team leaders don’t happen by accident. You have to actively develop them. That is what successful organizations do.
They take deliberate steps to develop team leaders. These steps are usually focused on certain core leadership development strategies. Here are five winner strategies that you can use in your organization.
Every organization has employees who show leadership qualities. These need to be groomed into your future team leaders. The best way to do this is through mentor-ship.
Using this approach, experienced leaders act as mentors to your talented individuals. They pass on their knowledge and experience through personal interactions with the potential team leaders.
Ideally, mentor-ship should begin long before a person is appointed to a leadership position. This will give you an opportunity to inculcate the organization’s values into your future leaders.
As such, by the time they take up the leadership position, they’re ready to pass on those values to the team members.
The way to implement a mentor-ship program within your organization is through two steps (1) require that every leader in the organization identify talented individuals among their subordinates, (2) require them to select at least one of the most promising one to become their mentees.
A great way of developing team leaders is through coaching. Coaching is effective for building specific competencies which are essential for excelling as a leader within your organization.
It typically involves an experienced or senior manager observing a team leader in action and providing constructive feedback.
The experienced manager acts as a coach – teaching and guiding the team leader. The goal is usually to improve a specific skill that a team leader needs to develop. The deficiency may have been observed by the manager or even by the team leader.
The focus of coaching is on real-life action. The coach typically observes, reviews or assesses a specific aspect of the coachee’s performance. They then provide them with practical tips which can be implemented.
For instance, let’s say a team leader is being coached on how to make presentations to groups. The coach can observe their presentation, make an assessment and give them feedback – complete with tips on how which areas to improve.
Coaching is effective because it enables team leaders to develop specific skill areas one at a time. This means that team leaders can be constantly improving. And with every improvement, they become better contributors to the organization.
3. Leadership Training Courses
There are plenty of leadership development courses designed for people at different ranks within an organization. There are plenty of courses which target team leaders.
These courses typically focus on imparting specific skills required to excel as leaders. Examples of such skills include public speaking, interpersonal communication, motivation, conflict resolution, confidence, and many other technical skills.
Signing up your team leaders for such courses is an excellent way to develop them. Such courses are especially invaluable for organizations without experienced leaders who can mentor or coach the team leaders.
This is because most such courses are taught by people with actual leadership experience in the corporate world. Your team leaders can thus benefit from their knowledge and experiences.
4. Hiring Leadership Consultants
An alternative to leadership courses is through hiring leadership consultants. These can provide mentor-ship, coaching, or in-house training for your leaders. This is also a great strategy for organizations which don’t have experienced leaders.
The advantage of consultants over training courses is specificity. A consultant can design a training program which is best suited for your organization’s needs. This ensures that your team leaders get the exact kind of training they need to do their jobs better.
5. Team Building Activities
The success of a team leader often hinges on how well they know the individual team members. This is because different people respond to different management and motivation strategies. As such, the better a team leader can know their team, the more effective they’re likely to be.
The problem is that during work-related activities, getting to know individual team members is difficult. This is because the focus is always on tasks and performance.
Organizations need to create opportunities through which team members can learn more about each other in non-work settings. This is where team building comes in.
Team building activities are designed to improve teamwork, cooperation, communication and problem-solving. They are also a great way to develop team leaders. This is because they enable them to try out different leadership strategies in a fun, non-threatening environment.
The easiest way to do team building activities is to partner with a company which specializes in organizing such events. This can save you the hustle of planning for details like location, activities and so on.
Such a company can also provide with interesting team building ideas to choose from. One such company is Get Out! Events. You can find details on their team building activities on their website.
Jack Welch famously said, “No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” The task of energizing employees often falls to the leaders of their teams. This is precisely why every organization needs to develop team leaders.
The five strategies which every organization can use to accomplish this are mentor-ship, coaching, training courses, in-house training (through leadership consultants), and by organizing team building activities.
The best place to start is through team building. This is because team building can produce immediate results in terms of not just leadership development but also promoting cohesion, teamwork, cooperation and morale.