Being a good leader can be a major challenge. Successful teams are collaborative, communicative, and available. The pace of the pack is determined by the leader. New student leaders who have never had the opportunity to lead a team may wonder where to even begin. Focusing on three areas can help set new leaders up for success: identifying a leadership style, developing a community, and establishing good relationships with individual team members.
Find your style
Every leader, every team, and every individual on a team is different. There are 7 major styles of leadership: Autocratic, Authoritarian, Pacesetting, Democratic, Coaching, Laissez-Faire, and Affiliative. There is no cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all leadership style that works for every team, and that’s okay! Leaders have to figure out what leadership style their team responds best to. Leaders also must figure out which style best fits their own goals and ambitions. If one of those styles works with the leader’s goals and is responded to by the team, amazing things can happen, and serious productivity can begin.
Build a community
Individuals need to be comfortable with the leader and with their teammates for productivity to take place. Good leaders look for ways to foster a sense of community on the team. Many times, community building opportunities take place outside of working together on a project. Whether in-person or virtual, any environment where people are interacting with each other and not talking about work can bond a team together well. Common interests can improve team morale, leading to engagement that improves team productivity and allows for team members to be more approachable to each other.
If the team trusts each other and communicates with each other well, their uniting force will be the leader. Having a solid individual relationship with each team member is extremely important for continuously elevating the team to the next level of performance and camaraderie. Taking the time to get to know each individual is time intensive, especially considering the potential size of a team, but is so important when it comes to morale, accountability, and communication. Individuals should feel as though they can come to their leader for anything and having a line of communication that’s always open is very important for that.
Leading a team can be extremely time consuming and challenging, on top of all the work that comes with the task at hand. For a long-lasting relationship with success, teams need to be a cohesive unit. Effective team leaders carry out their work with a solid leadership style, help team members establish relationships with one another, and have an open line of communication at all times. Leaders can evolve; if one solution doesn’t work, keep trying to achieve that desired outcome!
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