All leaders, managers, anyone that has someone that reports to them, leads teams which in turn creates team leaders. I say that as a way to reframe how leaders think of themselves. When you think of yourself as a team leader this allows for a completely different lens to view your direct reports. Yes, they are individuals and yet they work and function as a team. It also allows for your direct reports to view you from a different lens.
Shifting from thinking of yourself as a “boss” to a “team” leader is a reminder to yourself and the team that you are a part of the team, not just the leader. This is an important distinction. It shifts responsibility, how your direct reports think of you, sees you, and most importantly, shifts engagement. This creates a culture of shared accountability and responsibility, not delegation.
Here are strategies to help you become a Team Leader:
- Instead of managing, create a culture where they can manage themselves to increase autonomy and employee satisfaction.
- Use employee-driven cycles of performance and goals instead of appraisals to drive better engagement.
- When we don’t make mistakes, we stop learning. Use mistakes as a proactive way of team learning.
- Always contract with the team. Define the purpose, who are the team’s stakeholders and what do they need from the team, and focused not on what is happening today, also focused on the future.
Especially in today’s new environment of virtual teams, transforming yourself into the mindset of a team leader will help you and those that you manage to become more proactive to your ever-changing world in a way that is future-focused and stakeholder centered.
If you would like help transforming your leadership into a team leader mindset, please reach out!