5 Steps to Becoming a Geat Team Leader

With the right leadership you can capitalize on the better times ahead, writes PMPlanet columnist Michelle LaBrosse of Cheetah Learning.
It’s been a while now since we all have some stability and great news in our lives. The never-ending challenges put upon us all due to the lack of finances, resources and so on make every day appear to be an uphill battle at work and at home. These types of scenarios are not new to our world. Many generations before us have lived through similar or worse predicaments and have always come out stronger in the end. We still need to get through our day, be our best and continue to believe that there is some sort of relief coming our way sooner versus later.

Being a leader, whether you are actually responsible for a team or just want to make a positive impact on your day and the day of those around you, means finding a way to rally the troops and redirect everyone’s attention from the negative and to the positive. In fact, great leadership comes in all shapes, sizes, steps on the ladder and so on. As 2009 crawls to a close and 2010 rises with a little more hope as a better year, there are some ways that you can lead your team, your manager and your co-workers to ban together and push through to the greener grass.

Five Ways to Be Great

Get Together - Having regular meetings is only useful if the meetings are well run and serve a purpose. Otherwise, they are a time waster. If you are setting a meeting in place, there needs to be a start and end time and people need to adhere to it. An agenda should be distributed before the meeting so attendees are well-prepared for what is being discussed and, if possible, come equipped with answers and useful information. Agenda items should include amount of time allotted for that particular discussion and someone should be held accountable for keeping track of the time. It’s also beneficial if someone takes notes of table discussions for a separate meeting.

Being proactive about the meeting ahead of time and keeping things under control during the meeting will lead to an increase in productivity and morale.

Rule - Set up simple rules about how decisions should be made. This inspires the best in all of us. By nature, humans want to do the right thing and to be able to take direction and run with it is an empowering experience. If you take the time to set rules in place that ultimately make everyone’s life easier, you are doing a great service to your business or organization. Make sure you include the team in dreaming up and signing off on these rules. It is important to collaborate and to define what is needed and how it works best for everyone. You’ll also find people more vested in the process if they were one of the decision-makers on making decisions.

Examine - Examining and analyzing what has worked in the past helps you make smart decisions in the future. You want to repeat successful steps, not failures. Taking the time to review and report about what worked after each project should be shared as a “lessons learned” document for all to learn and grow from. I like to refer to this process as “reflect and act.” The template is simple. Record three things you learned by doing specific activities. Then identify three things you plan to do differently based on what you learned from doing those activities. Finally, identify three skills you want to improve because of what you learned while performing these activities.

Aim High, Think Big -We all need to be practical from time to time but this is an era where we can dream big and take risks. Keeping your mind open to new ideas, alternative solutions and other problem solving skills will benefit everyone on the team or teams working together towards a shared goal. Keep track of ideas in one place so others can build upon it when possible. No idea is a bad one.

Transform - Transformation is an exciting opportunity for some and a scary place for others. The trick is to get everyone on the same page with the same level of confidence in the new direction so it is a positive experience for all. This takes patience, understanding and a lot of empathy to convince others less comfortable with change to get on board. Try positioning any new rules or direction as the baby steps taken towards the 2010 goals and strategies.

Remember, people are a bit more open to change and new paths as the new year begins and this is a great time to start that ball rolling.

Michelle LaBrosse is the founder Cheetah Learning and an international expert on accelerated learning and project management. In 2006, The Project Management Institute selected Michelle as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in project management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry.

Tags: Project management, time management, Cheetah Learning, people skills, Team Leadership

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