Teamwork, Leadership Power
and Tools for Success

by Danielle Gault

Edited by Diana O'Reilly

Click here for a PDF version of this teamwork article.

Most new team leaders say that they need to develop more leadership skills and to increase their ideas and techniques for improving their interaction with others. When they step into a team leadership role, they gain a certain degree of power simply from the authority granted them in their newly assigned position. They have to make decisions and they have to get work done through others.

Leading Others

Leaders have to have clear goals and good communication skills to translate these goals to others. If it were that easy, we wouldn’t have so many books written about leading others. Technically, we can all do our jobs and that is why we are hired. It is dealing with people and their expectations and needs that make teamwork and leading others a challenge.

Some people need many pats on the back and acknowledgment of their results; some need to feel competent and be continuously challenged; others need to play it safe for security reasons and don’t like to take risks or stick their necks out because they may have had them chopped off in another workplace.

If you are clear, concise, consistent, and fair, you will maximize results by focusing on objectives that you can measure. In doing this, you are accomplishing your job. If you feel the need to be liked at the expense of standards, you will fail. If you feel defensive if someone challenges your ideas about getting the job done, you will fail. Your efficiency and effectiveness is measured by productivity, quality of results, innovation, and constructive initiatives from your team as it evolves. Never is this truer than how you deal with team conflict.

Conflict on Teams

Every team will have conflict at some time. As a good team leader, it is critical to the team spirit that you face it, deal with it in a fair and constructive manner, and ensure your team that everyone is taken seriously and that results are critical to all team members.

Let any upset on your team simply tell you that you have something to address but never address any member of your team out of anger. Just let the anger register that you have something that is hard for you to say or something that may be hard for you to hear. And remember, it is only content and it can’t kill you but your reaction to it can!

Dealing effectively with conflict creates a team where more people will dare to take risks and in doing this, more creativity, innovation, and synergy will happen. This produces better teamwork and greater productivity because everyone feels challenged. When creativity flows on a team, you as the team leader will be recognized as a good, if not a great, team leader.

Share Your Power

As a great team leader, you are comfortable with power because you are not afraid to share it with others. In sharing power with others, the power that your team gives you is the power that you have earned.

Tools for Successful Teamwork

The tools for increasing your success rate as a team leader:

  1. Remember to tell your team in advance what the team mandate is – having clear goals results in better teamwork.
  2. When working with your team on a new project, be sure to break things down into "baby steps" and ask them for their input which will increase their buy-in.
  3. When communicating goals and expectations, use as many open-ended questions as you can in order to understand what they are thinking. Keep asking questions until you truly understand.
  4. When instructing and training others, ask them what method of learning works best for them and then instruct them from their style of learning – not yours. They might be visual learners and want to have the overview first but be an interactive learners and want to discuss it with you and work a bit on it and discuss it some more and go on in that fashion; or they may be hands-on learner where they just want to work on it and learn about it as they go. Or they be a combination of two or three of the above.
  5. People are motivated for different reasons so strive to understand their needs and how best to work with them.
  6. Many of us are not at ease with conflict, but you can use it as an opportunity to grow, mentor, challenge, and develop your team. Never strive to beat anyone down out of defensiveness. That is more about holding on to your power and position. Never make others small or overpower and diminish them into conformity. Never discourage creativity by going by the book in order to avoid change and dynamism by ensuring the status quo. And certainly never sweep problems under the rug in order to avoid conflict because you are uncomfortable with tension.

You will know you have succeeded in encouraging teamwork when there is more interaction, trust, respect, confidence and teamwork displayed back and forth between you and your team.


Danielle Gault is founder of Corporate & Wellness Training Services. She is available to assist companies and individuals with coaching, assertiveness, teambuilding, problem-solving and more.
For more information, please contact us.

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