The Critical Role of Team Leader

In my book, The Secret of Teams, I advocate for a higher form of team – a high performance team. In this approach to leading an organization, the role of the leader is transformed. She or he is still actively involved in the business but is engaged differently. What should a leader do in a high performance team environment? Here’s a look at some of the things you'll want to consider.

Before I outline some of your options, I want to be clear, this approach is predicated on having a team that is ready to assume some of the roles traditionally played by the point leader – things such as day-to-day problem solving and providing accountability for the team. Assuming your team is ready to assume these responsibilities and more, you can begin to move into your new role as team leader. Here are six things your team needs that a team leader is uniquely positioned to provide.
Vision – As the point leader, vision is at the heart of your responsibility. How much time do you invest clarifying, illustrating and communicating the vision? Your team needs you to be crystal clear regarding the vision.
Core Values – Are your core values for the enterprise clear? I wrote about this previously in a post entitled, 10 Ways Core Values Add Value. You’ll need to constantly communicate and reinforce these values. When you do, the behavior of your organization will be transformed.
Boundaries – What do you expect your team to do? What’s in-bounds and what’s not? Which problems do you expect them to resolve and which ones do you want to be involved in? Do they have spending limits?
Resources – Very few teams can garner their own resources. Team leaders secure and allocate resources to the team. Resources can take many forms: time, capital, equipment, budget allocations, etc. Be sure your team has the resources needed to excel. That’s your role, not theirs.
Encouragement – Every person on your team needs encouragement. Every person alive needs it, too! Each member of your team also wants to serve you. Your words carry more weight than others. Use your words to build up and encourage your team. You may be surprised at the impact.
Education – For your team to excel, they’ll need the knowledge and skills to do what you’ve asked them to do. You may be their teacher or you may enlist others. The method is not important – what matters is that people are well equipped to fulfill their role with excellence.
With all this clearly in the team leader’s court, what is the role of the team? I’ll write about that next week.[GLS_Shield]


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