There are countless forms of teams. Sports, corporate, design, infrastructure and so on. Every team has a different purpose and mission or goal. Every team member will operate differently, every leader will lead differently. How does a leader lead a team effectively no matter what team they are a part of? Here is what I like to call the T.E.A.M for leaders.
T is for Trust. It is insanely challenging to form a group of people and to automatically think the flow of the team will flow fluidly and without problems. The foundation of a team will depend on the trust of each member. Without trust, there is tension, there’s conflict, there’s uncertainty. A team doesn’t work cohesively without trust. A leader’s job is to bridge that gap. A leader must find ways to create trust within their circle. Since each team is different, it is up to you, the leader to identify where and how to build that trust. Remember, trust reaches all areas. Leaders build trust within their team.
E is for Empower. Just like trust, empowering your team to make sound decisions and to take action when needed can really help the team progress. Not only does it help progress the team, it gives them ownership in the team. If team members feel as if they can make decisions without approval, it gives them a sense of higher purpose of contribution. They are the force of the team, it is necessary for them to be empowered. As a leader, you won’t always be at their side or in their immediate area to guide a decision. Empowering them allows them to do so. Giving them the ability to make decisions also helps them grow as a leader. People want to feel being part of a team. When you give them power to contribute and not micromanage, they work hard because they take ownership. Leaders empower their team.
A is for Adapt. Leaders and teams must adapt to circumstances that arise as they reach their goals. We hope things and plan for things to go according to plan, but we must adapt to any issue that we encounter. We don’t have to be prepared for an obstacle, but we must be willing to alter our path in order to overcome it. Leaders adapt to their environment. The culture in which we conduct business changes, if teams and leaders don’t adapt, that team may fall apart. Leaders must be aware of the culture around them and also, the abilities of their team members. Adapting to challenges also includes growing professionally and personally. A leaders’s job is to help develop/improve the skills and abilities of their team. We can’t remain stagnant in a changing work environment. The difference between surviving and thriving is being able to adapt. Leaders and teams adapt.
M is for Mission Focused. Every team and organization has a mission. This is the reason the team functions. The mission is the purpose the team is together in the first place. Even when challenges come up unexpectedly, leaders have to keep their team focused on the mission. If teams forget why they assembled in the first place, then the mission fails. Remember why you’re together in the first place. Remember what the end goal is! Everything that you should be doing is for that reason! Leaders help teams remain mission focused.
This acronym isn’t the end all be all to being a leader or team function, but it’s a great foundation to keep in mind. When I’m leading a team, I like to keep T.E.A.M. at play. Maybe you will too.