Updated: Oct 3, 2021
Key Words: leadership, teams, communication, conflict management
Dr. Lisa M. Coffey
Teams are constructed by leaders who look toward the future and can mold their people. To build successful teams, leaders must have integrity, connect with their people, and navigate them toward the intended destination.
Building a successful team does not happen overnight and requires the right mixture of skills and techniques upon which the team's foundation is built. Vital to the team's success is a trained leader equipped with the knowledge and skills to guide the group, establish goals and standards, and provide feedback and take corrective measures when necessary. Besides, leaders must be sound communicators and provide clear instructions to the assistants and team members.
The leader is responsible for getting the team to function as one unit rather than a group of individuals. Another essential aspect of leading teams is the ability to manage conflict. This report will highlight each of these areas and illustrate each element's importance when leading a team.
Leadership is a necessary management skill to lead the group. Bill Walsh, one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, lists several fundamentals to leadership that list includes: be yourself, be committed to excellence, be positive, be prepared, be detailed oriented, be organized, be accountable, be fair, be firm, be flexible and believe in yourself. Who can argue with those fundamentals, especially with his proven track record of success?
Leading a team is not an easy task, but with the correct arsenal of skills, expertise, confidence, and commitment, the unit can be lead in the right direction and achieve the outlined goals. It does not matter if the team is a championship team or not. The leader must be prepared, dedicated, and eager to learn. In doing so, the leader will create a culture of excellence within the team to allow the team to grow, bond, and produce under their leadership.
Let's face the truth! Leadership is challenging and is not always a glorious job. We often have to make decisions and adjustments that do not sit well with others. We are forced to listen to complaints, absorb negative body language, and be challenged to maintain our composure when we want to do the opposite. When things are going well, we can stick a feather in our cap, but navigating change can cause us to hang our heads low. Nevertheless, good leaders find a way to forge ahead.
The leader cannot ignore any of the conflicts that arise. Conflicts are unavoidable but solvable. For team cohesion to occur, the team must be on one accord, and the leader is responsible for forging a path the team will travel. Managing the conflict is a necessary evil to ensure the team is functioning as one cohesive unit.
When a leader blends his skills and expertise while dispensing an ethic of care, setting goals, measuring performance standards, communicating, and managing the conflict, the team can be lead in the right direction and produce the desired results. Leaders who employ these tactics provide their team with the first building block to success—a well-informed leader who is passionate about his craft, dedicated to his vision, and willing to learn and grow with their team.
Rate yourself on the following leadership tactics, evaluate each rating and define an improvement plan.
2 Needs Improvement
4 Above Average
Communication 1 2 3 4 5
Organization 1 2 3 4 5
Goal Setting 1 2 3 4 5
Conflict Management 1 2 3 4 5
Flexibility 1 2 3 4 5
Controlling Emotions 1 2 3 4 5
Performance Measurement 1 2 3 4 5
Janssen, J. (1999). Championship Team Building. Cary: Winning the Mental Game.
Maxwell, J. C. (2007). 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Miller, D. S. (2009). Why Teams Win Keys to Success in Business Sports and Beyond. Canada: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.
Walsh, B., Jamison, S., & Walsh, C. (2009). The Score Takes Care of Itself. New York: The Penguin Group.
Westerbeek, H., & Smith, A. (2005). Business Leadership and the Lessons from Sport. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
© 2021 Lisa M. Coffey