If you’ve just been promoted into a new team leading role, or you’re looking to venture into having new responsibilities in your career and want to know more about being a successful team leader, we’ve put together some important tips so you know how to improve and prepare to be a supportive team leader.
Make time for your team
If you’re always tied up with other responsibilities, you can suddenly be overwhelmed and forget to make time for others. The whole point of a team leader is to lead your team and support them. It’s important to ensure your team feels like you’re there when you need them.
Build a relationship
Some people believe that they are only here to manage and not to be friends with team members. Having this belief can immediately set you off with a bad start.
No – you don’t need to start being best friends with your team or start going for coffees and trips during out of work hours. However, having a good relationship with your team members is a key contributor to leading a successful team. If a relationship doesn’t exist, there may be no trust and respect and your team may hold back from talking to you. This can lead to them keeping things bottled up and getting more stressed in the workplace.
Getting to know your team also means you can recognise their strengths and weaknesses, and you can work together to tailor their responsibilities in order to get the best from them. So get to know your team and what makes them tick.
Adjust to their work style
A mistake a lot of leaders make is having one working style and sticking to it. Everyone is different, and you need to understand what style works best for your team. Do they prefer to work individually or as a team? Do they like to have certain days dedicated to a certain task? These are all important to ensure employees are working to their full potential.
Offer help and advice
Make sure they know you’re always there to give a helping hand. As you’re their team leader, you need to also have the right advice to give them if they’re feeling stuck with a task.
Check up on their wellbeing
Did you know stress is one of the top contributors to long term absence? The top three causes of stress-related absence are workloads (62%), management style (43%) and relationships at work (30%). (source)
As their leader, checking up on their wellbeing can help them feel less stressed in the workplace and also reduce the number of days off. Check up on them, ask them how they feel in their role and if they feel they have too many responsibilities.
Provide reasonable deadlines
Also linking in with workloads, deadlines can also cause stress to your team. Give as much time as you can for a project to be completed and avoid adding too many ‘urgent’ tasks to their workload.
If you do have to issue tasks that require action in a short space of time, provide more time for other tasks or delegate tasks to others where possible.
Give appropriate feedback
One of the hardest things a team leader might have to do is provide honest feedback. Giving positive feedback is easy (and also very important to show staff they are valued), but providing negative feedback may be a tough subject.
Don’t be brutally honest, give constructive criticism and tell them how they can improve. Don’t just stick with ‘this could be better’, tell them how it could be better.
Constructive criticism is very important, as it also provides an opportunity for your team to improve and develop and understand how to do things differently.
Have good communication skills
Some team leaders can go days without talking to their team, which can negatively impact a relationship and make them feel like they are alone with no support.
You need to find the correct balance between providing guidance and support but also showing that you trust your team to get stuff done.
Allow time for employees to develop. Employees like to feel like they are constantly learning and developing in their career, and they aren’t just stuck. Offer to pay training costs, or spend time with them to teach them new skills.
It is important to ensure you are ready to take on a team. It isn’t just about developing your team leading skills, you will also need to know vital information such as supporting staff with mental or physical health issues, spotting early signs of mental health and having sensitive discussions.
40% of organisations have trained managers to support staff with mental illness and only 30% say managers are confident to have sensitive discussions/signpost staff to expert help.
Even more shocking, only 18% of people professionals say managers are confident and competent to spot the early warning signs of mental illness. (source)
It is important that you develop yourself so that you can provide appropriate help and support for your team.
Want to learn more?
The B2W Group offer a level 2 distance learning qualification in the Principles of Team Leading.
This course is for individuals who wish to develop their knowledge and understanding of being a team leader. Tasks involved in being a team leader include planning, allocating and monitoring work for those they are responsible for, as well as giving appropriate feedback and briefs to team members.
The course is flexible and can be completed online in up to 12-weeks. Find out more here.