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5 traits of effective team leaders
A thought piece by Insync Manager, Divya Martyn.
The role of a leader is not an easy one – it brings with it the responsibility of ensuring your team can get the work done, but also that they can do so in an environment that supports their physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.
For leaders trying to think of new and innovative ways to connect and motivate their teams, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to do all that is expected of them.
Insync’s recent white paper highlighted 5 key traits that help successful leaders stand out. High performing team leaders:
- Provide direction to the team, by giving them clear goals and showing how these individual and team goals tie into the organisation’s larger objectives.
- Connect with team members on an individual basis and actively work on building a relationship with the individuals in the team.
- Support the professional and personal development of their team and ensure team members feel they can grow within the organisation
- Manage team dynamics by focusing on building teamwork, sharing information openly within the team and allowing for healthy conversation
- Set clear expectations for fulfilling tasks and what is expected from the team, and support the team in identifying what they can do to improve productivity at work. They also celebrate the team’s achievements, small and big.
These traits, based on feedback from more than 50,000 employees, highlight that the role of a leader requires a multitude of skills.
How does one ensure they are leading the team in a way that makes them not only an effective leader but also one who creates the right environment for their team to thrive? Here are a few ideas that can help.
4 actions to cultivate a leader’s mindset
1. Be open to feedback on leadership styles from the team and your manager
The role of a leader is an ever-evolving one in a team – and so all leaders need to be able to adapt to what is needed of them at any given moment. Cultivating a culture where feedback can be given and received in a safe and non-judgemental manner from the right people, ensures that the team leader can know what is working out in the way they lead, or course correct if needed.
2. Take time out for regular reflection
Research has identified that leaders who take the time out to reflect on their strengths are more engaged and feel less depleted by their role. This action of self-reflection is a tool that can be extremely powerful in ensuring a leader can lead their teams in the most impactful manner possible. As part of our white paper, we share a self-assessment guide and some prompts to support your reflection – writing these down regularly will help you keep yourself on track with actions that can help you be the leader you want to be.
3. Be aware of one’s own biases and beliefs that may come into play when leading a team
All humans are biased, and whether we like to admit it or not, these biases can seep into our decision-making process every day. However, conscious steps can be taken to make sure we minimise the impact of bias in our decisions. There are many tools available today to educate oneself of the various biases that we hold which we may be unaware of – and one effective way to reduce the effect of unconscious bias is to pause before making decisions that impact the team.
4. Cultivate skills like active listening and effective communication
While it may seem like a basic requirement for leadership, communication is still one of the most important skills for a leader to cultivate – especially considering more than 50% of the 500,000 employees surveyed by Insync revealed they did not think internal communication was done well within their organisation.
Active listening is the process of listening fully to what a team member is saying to you – listening not just to their words, but also noticing their body language, the emotions they express, and what their silence may be telling you. Being able to discern what is being shared fully and being able to communicate to the team what exactly you need to is a skill that can take years to build.
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With a passion for creating inclusive workplace cultures that allow all people to thrive, Divya is a manager at Insync in the Healthcare, Education and Community Services Practice Group. She brings over 13 years of experience to her work, having worked in consulting, research, leadership development and business development, in multiple geographies.