Putting together an effective leadership team is a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle; the pieces have to fit in order for the picture to look right.
There are many qualities common among good managers such as having a masters degree in leadership, as well as intangibles like integrity and dedication. A well-rounded leadership team has many challenges, among them leading employees, pleasing higher-ups and working closely with each other. Putting together a management team that can do all that isn’t easy.
Here are some of the key ingredients that make up your ideal leadership team:
- Accountability. Leaders must be willing to “take one for the team” and understand that the buck stops with them.
- Decision making. The ability to make decisions, both as individuals and as a team is essential. A good leadership team can look past personality differences and put solutions first.
- Listening. The leadership team must be able to listen to each other, to those working under them and to those whom they work under. That’s a lot of listening.
- Delegating. The ability to delegate effectively is often overlooked. There is no room on the team for someone who insists they have to do it all.
- Flexibility. A well put together management team is flexible. They know when to go with the flow, so to speak.
- The ability to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, and your team needs to know that they will have the support of their colleagues and environment that supports solutions, not finger-pointing.
- A sense of humor never hurts. A team that can laugh together and communicate honestly and openly is much more likely to work than a team of tight-lipped individuals that take themselves too seriously.
The management team needs to be able to work together and needs to be able to complement each others strengths and compensate for each others weaknesses. Once a new team has been selected, ongoing mentoring to nurture these qualities is essential.
It is important to remember that building a successful management team takes time. Even after you have hand-picked the brightest candidates, trained and mentored them, there will still be bumps in the road. It is how those bumps are handled that will determine success.
Clear Goals and Communication
One of the best ways to set your team up for success is to have clear goals. Leaders can get frustrated when they feel like they are “all over the place.” In addition to goals, communication needs to be open and managed in such a way that a unified message is presented. Nothing undermines the effectiveness of the team more than inconsistent direction from its members to other staff.
Team members need to learn to check their egos at the door. Humility is an attribute that should be on the list. This is a quality that may have to be nurtured a bit, especially with younger management. Confidence is high, but ego is not productive in a team environment.
Leaders should feel secure enough to allow employees the room to make decisions, ask questions and challenge their thinking. A team that has clear goals, open communication, accountability and the ability to make decisions will be successful.
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