Team Leader Skills

Seven Skills Every Team Leader Should Have

5 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Author
Lynsey Sutherland

You’ve probably heard of the saying that people don’t leave their jobs, they leave managers. Well, the bad news is that it’s not just a saying. Gallup found that 75% of the people surveyed had left a job because of a manager throughout their career. 

The good news? You can actually do something about this. This article will discuss what makes a leader great and the important skills needed to succeed.

What makes a team leader great

A team is only as strong as the person who leads it, and effective team leadership is an indispensable part of having a successful team. However, it is an element that many teams lack.

It’s easy to say that teams need a great leader to show them the way, but it is more difficult to pinpoint the traits that make leaders great. Nobody can apply a one-size-fits-all model because every team faces unique challenges, and not every person will have the leadership qualities that meet those challenges. 

Here are a few tips that can help develop people into good leaders: 

  • Set an example: Leaders need to be able to set an example for others to follow. If a leader is only making demands, team members can end up resentful or lost, thinking they’re doing all the work while their team leader delegates every job. 
  • Figure out your leadership style: Every team needs a good leader, but not everyone can lead a team. As a leader, you need to find out which style works best for you and your team – whether that’s a transformational, delegative, authoritative, transactional or participative style. 
  • Exude confidence: It’s no secret that being a leader can come with some heavy responsibilities, but it’s important to project confidence in all you do, as your team will see that and feel confident too. 

Seven essential skills for successful team leaders

With the above tips in mind, let’s dive right into the skills that can help you become a great team leader. 

1. Resisting the temptation to micromanage 

There is nothing worse than a leader who is so overbearing that they don’t allow a team to sharpen their own skills. Micromanaging can be a real drain on motivation. Why would employees bother thinking up new or innovative ways to handle issues when they know you’re going to step in before they have a chance?

It can be hard to let go of the reins, but knowing when to trust in your employees is a great skill to work on and promoting self-management at work can reduce friction and increase wellbeing.

2. Empowering your team

Resisting the temptation to micromanage is a great first step – the next one is to find ways to actively empower your team. Be sure to ask for their ideas, listen to their insights and reinforce their involvement with positive feedback. 

Introducing a rewards and recognition program is a great way to ensure your team has a voice and plenty of opportunities to use it. From sharing successes or pointing out potential ideas or areas where there’s room for improvement, an easy way to connect is perfect for empowering individual team members. 

3. Promoting and embodying resilience 

Resilience has become an increasingly important concept for organisations in recent years – and there are plenty of good reasons for that! Putting a focus on resilience and wellbeing for your team reduces the risk of employee burnout and promotes a happier and healthier environment. 

As a leader, it’s up to you to talk the talk and also walk the walk when it comes to putting resilience at the top of the agenda. That means making space for reflection and slowing the pace occasionally.  

The 2022 WRAW Resilience Report found that effective leadership is especially important when conditions are volatile and that leader behaviour significantly impacts employee wellbeing.

4. Holding yourself accountable 

One of the hardest things about being a good leader is knowing when to admit that you got something wrong. Hold yourself accountable and show your team that if you make a mistake, you’re willing to learn from it – they will respect you for it. 

Being accountable also means putting your cards out there for everyone to see. Share your goals and objectives, so everyone knows what you’re working for and why. If your vision chimes with them, they’ll be more likely to work hard for you too. 

5. Knowing how to communicate well 

To be a great leader, you must communicate well – and on various levels. We know how important it is to be dynamic and inspiring when you’re responsible for creating a great atmosphere in a company that’s tipped for success. 

However, other types of communication are equally valuable – from setting aside time for jargon-free catch-ups to working on alternative mediums for sharing important information, effective communication is crucial on an individual and business-wide level. 

6. Committing to an empathetic approach: 

Your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a great life skill, but did you know how powerful empathetic leadership is to employees? The answer is very powerful! According to a 2022 report from BusinesSolver, 83% of people would consider leaving their current organisation for a similar role at a more empathetic workplace. 

Some people are naturally very empathetic, and others must put their minds to it. Either way, being receptive to the thoughts and experiences employees communicate to you is important. 

7. Being a generous coach 

This is another really wonderful way to give something back to your team. Great leaders know the value of sharing their experiences and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. And they know that the best way to do this is to help team members apply them to their own situations. 

Offering unbiased guidance and support to employees as they grow and develop new skills is a way to foster a team that matures with you. 

These are all skills that leaders can grow or learn to improve – and a little practice and dedication can go a long way to becoming an inspiring presence in the workplace!

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