If there is one thing that is indispensable for effective leadership, it is the ability to get all the various members to work together in teams to achieve a common goal. However, not everybody is equally good at this, and organizing and managing teams is not something with which we are born, but which we must learn with knowledge and practice. Various qualities make for effectual team building, and they would be too many and too complex for them all to be discussed in a single article, so we will talk about just five of them.
#1: Recognizing the value of each person on the team
Each team member has things of value to contribute to the efforts of the group. Unfortunately, many team leaders, failing to realize this all-important fact, act instead as if they know everything here and everybody else knows nothing, and consequently, they tend to “throw their weight all around.” Not until later do they realize that they need the cooperation of everyone involved. Team building ultimately involves recognizing the skills and knowledge possessed by all members.
#2: Getting the team involved in decisions that directly affect them
Especially when making a decision that will bring about major changes in the ways in which your staff members work, you will want to consult with those people rather than make the choice all by yourself. Every team member prefers to work in a particular way, and you will want to know what it is and how well they would adapt to such changes.
#3: Being ready to listen
Are your team members satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are? If they are not satisfied, they often express it vocally, and strongly so, and will reject it even more if you become defensive and regard their complaints as a challenge to your authority, so listen to them instead. When you listen, you can diffuse a situation that might otherwise become explosive. This is because if your subordinates know that you are willing to lend an ear when they have something that they would like to see fixed, then they will speak calmly and rationally instead of sounding grumpy and bitter. You do not, to be sure, need to agree with whatever they say, but you should at least make an effort to understand what they want.
#4: Leading by example
Showing is quite often a much more effective way of getting your message across than telling. You want your team members to actually see what you can do and what you expect from them in terms of efficient work and positive behavior. To reinforce your authority, you will also want to avoid appearing arrogant even as you show off your skills.
#5: Being ready to admit when you are wrong
No human being in the world is perfect; all of us, including team leaders, make mistakes. As a team leader, you will need to make a greater effort than anyone else to avoid errors — and also be ready to admit it when you have made an erroneous judgment or otherwise gone wrong. Unless you are Napoleon in Animal Farm (think of how he used the expelled Snowball as a scapegoat for all the farm’s ills, such as the destruction of the windmill), you cannot afford to put the blame wrongly on anyone else; that will only conceal errors and possibly lead to bigger ones.