When you take on a senior-level position, you take on the responsibility of being an ambassador for your team. Diplomacy is a tool you will need to use to give your team the chance to succeed. It is crucial that the image of your team is a positive one—and that the organization views your team as an asset. It is also crucial that the members of your team understand that they are part of making the business successful.
Lead your team to success
Team leaders play the role of connectors in an organization dedicated to utilizing the team concept. It is important to put a genuine positive spin on imperfect efforts aimed in the right direction. Leaders must often confront broken promises and inadequate efforts in order to be credible. If the leader does not step up to this task, the efforts of the team will not help to transform the organization. In addition to being the messenger, the team leader needs to find innovative ways to play matchmaker.
You need to identify opportunities to connect members of the teams to the rest of the organization. For example, if a member monitors quality issues, it is your responsibility to connect them with people providing relevant training, as well as other tools and techniques.
You can also help your team members meet the internal authority and resource people in connected fields that can benefit your team. As a result, your teammates may be invited to represent the team at meetings and to play an important role in organizational meetings with their expertise. You enable them to become the “go-to” people in the team based on their skills. Such a system not only ensures that the team concept doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of one team leader, but it also makes sure that the team does not become insulated and people are kept involved in meaningful ways.
One of the dangers of using a team concept is that members start to focus only on their own operations and fall prey to tendencies to compete with other teams. Your team’s objective should not only be to build relations and find productive ways to complete tasks; it also is to interconnect teams as part of a strategy to get the overall organization to succeed. You need to encourage your team members to feel good about being part of the overall organization. You need to promote a mental model of teams as the vehicle for achieving a better organization.
This formula has some very important implications for how you can bring positive change to your team. Start by sharing information about the need for change and listening for reasons why the members of your team may be dissatisfied with the status quo. When enough people recognize that the team’s behavior must develop, there will be enough energy available for a change effort. Complacency is the enemy of excellence. Be the leader who helps the team feel good about its progress yet stay hungry for getting even better.
Channel energy the right way
Being dissatisfied with the status quo produces energy that must be channeled correctly. If this does not happen, it can result in complaining, anger, and/or depression. Leadership must articulate a vision. This vision must allow organizational members to “see” what they want to become. The vision does not have to spell out every detail, but it must be clear enough for all to see where they are headed.
Being a leader is certainly no easy task. Remember that you are there to help others help themselves. Your team cannot succeed or fail based strictly on what you do. You can make a big difference by doing some small things. However overall success depends on many key people throughout the organization.
As a team leader, you have the opportunity to enlighten team members as well as others in the organization. Your ability to be an advocate for the fulfillment of the needs of your team is important. Your willingness to share power with team members actually increases the amount of power available to your team.