How can I ensure participation by everyone on the team? What
is the best way to keep the meetings flowing and productive? What
can I do with problem team members? How do I resolve conflicts and
still keep the team intact? What can I do to motivate the team and
instill ownership? What is my role as leader? The current day
Empowering and guiding the team has become crucial to the long-term
success of any business. Today an important measurement for leaders
is their ability to facilitate a group of people to work together as
a team and successfully accomplish their task. What will separate a
good leader from a great leader will be the understanding and
development of his or her facilitation skills.
A positive and
enthusiastic attitude: First and foremost, the leader should
be a model for the group in terms of attitude. The leader's
confidence in the team becomes the team's confidence in themselves.
When the team members look at the leader they should see
someone who is positive, enthusiastic, skilled, and capable of
helping the team be successful. The leader sets the tone for
the team's attitude about who they are and what they feel they can
'can-do-no-matter-what' kind of attitude
motivates the whole team to look forward to working together to
accomplish their goals.
The desire to serve
and help others: A sincere desire to help others causes a certain
kind of behavior to be lived out in a person. This kind of desire is
particularly important for a leader who needs to shift the
focus from taking care of his or her own needs to that of guiding
If a person has a sincere desire to help a group succeed,
looking for methods to do that effectively will be a natural
consequence. This desire to serve is seen by the team as a positive
attribute and will make people willing to empower the leader to
do his or her job more effectively.
Leaders are often called upon to intervene or take control of
the group and guide it back to a productive path. This takes a
certain kind of assertiveness and skill. If the leader is seen
by the team as passive, he or she will have little or no influence
in guiding the group.
The group, feeling left without leadership,
will take a course set toward chaos. At the other extreme is the
leader who is aggressive or pushy. This type of behavior makes
the leader seem uncompromising and self-serving and will become
destructive for the team.
Aggressive behavior will discourage the
free exchange of ideas and will defeat all the reasons the team is
together in the first place. Leader assertiveness means
intervening with respect to help the group be successful.
The team members
expect the leader to do their job with the team and will see an
assertive leader as a partner in their helping them work
Sensitive to others' needs: Part of the leader's function is to
ensure that all the team members participate in the process without
getting hurt. In a team meeting where there is a free exchange of
ideas, conflicts will happen.
At times members may be left out of a
conversation or may feel that no one is listening to them. People
may be criticized (instead of ideas). These kinds of things can
negatively effect the cohesiveness of the team.
have a constant sensitivity to these kinds of people issues. They
must be watching the
interactions and feelings of the team members. When a member has
been wronged in some way, it is the leader's responsibility to
see it and to resolve it in a positive way.
who has ever worked with a team knows that things do not always go
as smoothly as you would like and team members do not always
exhibit the kind of perfect behavior you want. Teams (and team
members) by their very nature are always moving, changing,
learning, and developing.
At times they do not seem to be moving,
changing, learning, or developing fast enough. At times it may seem
as if there is little or no progress at all. This takes a great deal
of patience by the leader who probably feels responsible for as
well as part of the problem.
The leader needs to be patient
with the development of the team, the progress of the project, and
with themselves. Teamwork is not an exact science and things are
not always going to go according to plan. Patience is an important
characteristic for the leader to help keep everything in
A sense of humor:
There is not enough that can be said about having a sense of humor
when working with teams. If the team is not having fun, it is doing
something wrong. Working together should be enjoyable.
There will be
so many times that things are not going to go as the team expected.
The ability to laugh together at those times will go a long way in
keeping the team productive. The leader can help set the tone
for this important aspect of teamwork.
The team should be serious
about the contribution they are making to the organization, but have
a good time getting there. Laughter stimulates the mind and frees
the soul to dream—everything that we want from teams.
leader effectively uses humor to energize the team and provide
an atmosphere where people feel free to give ideas and make