Leadership and development professionals offer many strategies and theories for training individuals and teams. Coaching is an important aspect for effective leaders to master, and the coaching process looks much different for an individual than an entire team. Newly formed teams, especially ones that were created before management was assigned, can be a challenge for leaders. Experts provide some useful tips for leading a new team.
Establish a Purpose
Every team is formed with an end goal in mind. Communicate early and often so each member fully understands what the group is hoping to accomplish. Without a clear understanding of the final outcome, individual team members will quickly become unsettled and even fearful. When people do not understand what they are working toward, they begin to question the value they bring to the team.
Evaluate Individual Traits
It is especially important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. The entire group can only perform to the standard of the least efficient team member. Work toward developing the existing or known strengths of each member in a way that is most relevant to the goal of the team. Leaders make the best use of their time, and it is not an effective effort to try to develop traits that are not innate to the individual.
Collaborate With Specialists
Good leaders know the importance of subject matter experts, and use human resources often. Specialists serve several purposes when used at the right time and for the best reasons. First, their knowledge helps the team reach solutions much more quickly than they would if the individuals had to spend time researching details that a specialist could provide. Subject matter experts are also great role models and can help individual team members develop their own areas of expertise.
Leaders should watch these developments unfold and recognize when team members learn a new skill or begin to express interest in a new area. Exposure to a variety of different job functions and knowledge sources will help team members become more confident in their own role and bring their best to the team. Leaders should take the time to express their gratitude and encourage the team to celebrate small wins along the way.