Successful Team – 5 Tips a Leader Must Know

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Building a productive team can be a very rewarding experience.  It takes a set of real world skills schools don’t often teach.  This leads to learning it by the seat of our pants.  The best way to learn leadership is by following a good leader.

Effective teams work because the leader has the group’s loyalty.  Done incorrectly, the leader will lose the trust of the team.  Right from the beginning the decision has to be made.  Are you a leader or a manager? Once the decision is made, here are a few tips for becoming a group leader.

1.  A leader, leads from the front of a team.  They are the role model for the team.  If the team isn’t being productive, the leader should examine their own goals and activity first.  Even being an excellent role model, team members will, individually, only do a half to three quarters of what the leader does.  The leader sets the pace for the team.  If a leader wants a productive team, the leader must be productive.

2.  Leadership isn’t a 9 to 5 proposition.  A leader will put in longer hours than the team.  The leader of a team can’t ever go home early.  They come in early and stay late.  The leader can’t just “tell” their team to finish a project.  Even though they have trust in their team to complete each project independently of the leader, they are personally invested in the quality of the finished project.

3.  When a leader removes him/herself from the playing field, the team’s productivity will decline.   Leadership isn’t a paper pushing endeavor.  We would never expect to see the Captain of a sports team retire to the sidelines, tell his team to “go get ‘em”, go inside, sit in the office, and work on paperwork.  That may sounds silly to you.  We all know, that team would go into a rapid spiral downward or they’d switch their loyalties to the best member they could follow who was actively involved.  I know paperwork will not do its self, but it is better to delegate it.  Paperwork is never the best use of a leader’s time.

4.  A team must always see a winning spirit from their leader.  A leader can never, ever show hurt.  If things aren’t going well, the leader takes the responsibility, re-evaluates, and then corrects the course of the team.  They  must be the one who re-ignites the group!  If the leader gives up, it is over. This doesn’t mean falling behind isn’t a great call to action.  But, a defeated attitude from the leader will defeat the team.

5.  A leader expects only the best.  If they don’t, they will only get mediocrity from their group.  The leader sets the standard of excellence for their team.  Their group is well trained and fundamentally sound, and functions like a well oiled machine.

Tough leaders have tough teams.  They know when to slap and when to kiss (not in the literal sense).  They know when the team members need discipline and when they need encouragement.

Although leadership isn’t a 9 to 5 job, it is the most rewarding position on the team.   A team is the sum total of its leadership.  Leadership changes lives! No where else can a person have a better influence in a group of people’s lives.  Take your responsibility seriously and go win!  Your team deserves it!

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