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6 Ways to Be a Better Team Leader

By Joel Garfinkle

Are you a team leader who wants to advance? To become a great leader, start by being the best team leader you can be. Once you have demonstrated your leadership skills on a small scale, you will increase your chances of landing bigger and better opportunities in the future. Here are six ways to be a better team leader.

  1. Set an example.
    Start the team culture with yourself. Let others know what tasks you’re working on and how their contributions fit into these projects. Do you want happy and motivated employees? Be one. Be willing to help out in the office, even with something like making the coffee, if needed. Decide how you’d like to be perceived and build that presence. Not sure where to start? No matter where you are—from New York to San Francisco—you can find executive training programs or an executive coach to help you determine what image to project for maximum productivity.
  2. Sell what you do.
    Share your passion for the company with your employees. If you love your work, and it shows, it makes a big difference. Inject enthusiasm into everything you do, and your team will catch fire right along with you. If your mission does not inspire you, maybe it’s time for a new perspective. Think about what you like most about your job, and find ways to get excited about your work.
  3. Be a good communicator.
    While it’s important to delegate tasks, this shouldn’t be the only time you talk to your team members.  Let them know that you appreciate what they do and that their work helps you realize the overall goals of the company. Be honest if you make a mistake. It’s a huge morale-killer to act like you can do no wrong. 

    Have an open-door policy encouraging the free flow of ideas. Listen just as much as you talk, if not more. Admit when you don’t know the answer. Empower employees to think for themselves by not always being the first one to suggest solutions to problems.

  4. Be organized.
    Have you ever seen a TV show with a frazzled executive? These people are usually the punch lines of jokes. Yes, you’re busy, but keeping on schedule and knowing where things are in the office will make both you and your team more productive. Stress seems to have a trickle-down effect. Speak to employees and establish deadlines that work for everyone. Again, communication is key.
  5. Know your co-workers.
    It can kill morale if at Mary’s retirement you don’t even remember what she did for the company. Not only should you know each employee you supervise and his or her role, but a good boss should make an effort to learn some details, such as birthdays and the names of their children. While you don’t have to be best buddies, treat everyone as an individual, not a cog in the wheel.
  6. Keep learning.
    A great leader is not born overnight. Even the greats like Steve Jobs had their mentors. Get a coach. Find a mentor. Attend executive training, even if you have to travel to San Francisco, Dallas, or Chicago. If you’re struggling, ask for help. It doesn’t make you a bad executive; it just makes you human. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have questions when attending training sessions; others may have the same questions, and they will be grateful that you asked.

A good motivational speaker will help your people to hone all of these qualities by customizing a speech or training to your needs. For instance, a motivational speaker can help male leaders understand how to collaborate more effectively or empower women to build their visibility, benefiting the whole team.

Joel Garfinkle provides executive coaching and training in the San Francisco area. To learn more about becoming a better leader, check out his book, Getting Ahead, or book him to provide executive training to your employees at your own location. 

Copyright © 2012 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved. Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, "41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!"

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