As a team leader you have two distinct leadership responsibilities – Managing the Individuals and Managing the Team. Leaders who fixate on managing the individuals tend to have happy teams which unfortunately under-perform in terms of deadlines, quality, customer satisfaction and budgets! Leaders who obsess on managing the team may hit most of these targets but at the expense of team member Alienation, Burnout, Compliance, Disinterest and eventually Exiting (easy to remember – ABCDE!). Great Team Leaders manage both responsibilities. Here is a simple framework with a nice supporting spreadsheet to help you assess and improve your leadership:
The 7 habits of great team leaders
We can break down the two key aspects of team leadership into 7 specific tasks (or habits) as shown in the diagram above. These aspects are explained in detail in my book ‘A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams‘
Step#1 – Self Assessment
Against each of the 7 habits first estimate what percentage of your working time you allocate to each on a typical week. This is really an assessment of your priorities as a team leader. Be interested in how much time you spend in areas not covered by the 7 habits. What insights can you take from this? Now score yourself against each of the habits in terms of how effective you think you are using a simple 4-point scale e.g.
1 = Less than effective
2 = Satisfactory
3 = Good
4 = Very effective
Step#2 – Peer Assessment
Now meet with a peer in a similar role as yourself and each assess the other. Where does your colleague reach different assessments about your effectiveness? What insights can you take from this?
Step#3 – Team Assessment
This is the most useful step and the one which requires the most courage in a leader! Ask your team members to do their honest assessments of you on both time and effectiveness. Make them anonymous and prepare a summary showing your average, highest and lowest scores for each habit? Present the results back to your team and invite comment. What insights can you take from this?