A favorite memory of coaching a new leader was the time I explained, simply, what leadership is: getting results through others.
This new leader stared at me blankly and replied: “Great. How the hell do I do that?”
It is not unusual for someone to be put into a leadership role without having had training, guidance, or even a general heads-up as to what duties are required. This new leader was in that boat. She was taking on a long-term interim management role. Due to budget cuts, she was told the position would not be permanently filled for at least a year, maybe two. She agreed to it but needed help and didn’t know where to begin.
This is a tough and all too common situation, getting into management without any training or guidance. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn which is why so many agree or volunteer for it.
Tapping into our own experiences as members of a team helps. There is little we do more often than work with others to achieve an outcome. This is teamwork. It is ever present in our careers, but it is also a routine activity in our communities and at home. Working with others to achieve a common goal is a nearly universal experience.
Effective leaders and high performing teams are not left up to chance. It’s not a coincidental collection of personalities that work well together. Rather, there are established behaviors and techniques that when employed will enable the leader and the team to not only achieve their goals but often exceed them.
Yet, if it’s all new to you, where do you begin? Or, if you have been leading for some time without any training or mentorship, how might you confirm what you are doing is fostering the kind of collaboration on your team that is getting the best results? How do you identify what’s missing in your team leadership?
Self-assessments are an excellent start. They tap into an understanding of a concept and identify gaps. Leading a team can be overwhelming and using a self-assessment can narrow down what to focus on first.
Growth Partners Consulting has created a (free, no strings attached) assessment to build self-awareness and provide guidance on how to advance the performance of a leader’s team. It focuses on the 5 Essential Components of Team Performance: Communication, Defined Goals, Clear Roles and Processes, Productive Conflict, and Routine Debriefs.
If you are leading a team now, take the assessment.
Leading Teams Assessment
Click here for the Leading Teams Assessment. Before you begin, review the guidance below to help you get the most out of it.
Download the assessment and save it to your desktop. This will enable the scoring functionality.
If you lead more than one team, consider just one while completing the assessment.
You will receive one score for each of the five components. There is no total team leadership score.
Scroll to page 2 for specific activities and techniques.
Are the scores you received surprising or confirming? What insight have you gained from your results?
Choose one of the components to focus on for the next couple weeks. Pick the one that sparks the most interest. If all are of interest, begin with Communication. Whichever you choose, read the corresponding article (found on page 2 of the assessment) and try out some of the new techniques. The articles take no more than 5 minutes to read and include links to additional information and resources. Explore as far as you’d like to go.
After trying out the techniques, notice what changes and the impact of those changes. If desired, try out something else and continue to build and development your team leadership skill-set.
Leading teams effectively is not a mystery. It just takes knowing the specific, ongoing behaviors and activities that make teamwork…well…work!
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Until next time!
Amy Drader is a management consultant and credentialed coach with over 20 years’ experience in HR and operations. She knows first-hand the joys and challenges of leading people and is dedicated to helping managers and teams advance their performance. She is the owner of Growth Partners Consulting, a boutique leadership and team development consulting firm that provides customized training, coaching, and professional development resources.