Nowadays, almost all companies utilize teams in the working process due to several associated benefits. Teams provide valuable contributions for the employers, such as building blocks for organizational structure, increasing productivity, reducing costs, and enhancing innovative potential (Bateman et al., 2020). As a result, working in teams and leading them if necessary has become an essential skill for career development. Therefore, a manager must understand how to build effective teams, evaluate team lead performance, and which traits a capable leader must exhibit.
Building Effective Teams
A team can be described as a desirable evolution of the group — a significantly more cohesive, task-oriented structure. Whereas group members interact but do not necessarily perform as a unit, team members are committed to a common goal and hold themselves mutually accountable (Bateman et al., 2020). In this regard, a team is characterized by three key features — shared purpose, accountability, and complementary member skills. As such, an organization can build more effective teams by improving each of these departments. For instance, the sense of purpose can be enhanced by setting specific and measurable goals and continuously providing team members with feedback (Bateman et al., 2020). An increase in accountability between team members can be achieved by establishing team-wide norms of behavior. Lastly, an organization can improve team effectiveness by training group members in technical, problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal skills, depending on their role in the team.
The overall performance of the team heavily depends on the team leader’s competence. According to Bateman et al. (2020), effective team leadership is characterized by four behaviors: relating, scouting, persuading, and empowering. Relating refers to building trusting relationships and caring for the team members (Somech & Naamnech, 2019). A team leader can demonstrate relating by listening to the feedback from other team members. Scouting implies gathering information about the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of the team and selected team members (Somech & Naamnech, 2019).
For example, a team leader competent in scouting would quickly realize that certain team members lack the necessary professional skills. Persuading is a communicative activity aimed to align team members’ activities with the organizational priorities (Somech & Naamnech, 2019). A persuasive team leader can boost the social facilitation effect, making individual team members work harder in a group. Finally, empowering team leaders share their power with subordinates, giving them additional responsibility to control their work (Ahmad et al., 2022). This behavior type allows the team leader to shift attention from unnecessary control over the subordinates to more pressing matters.
Evaluating Team Lead Performance
Teamwork is based on integrity, consistency, and accountability to professional and ethical norms; consequently, team leaders cannot be exempt from these demands. Therefore, an organization should establish benchmarks for evaluating team leaders’ performance against effective leadership traits. Bateman et al. (2020) suggest two possible ways of ensuring that team leaders meet the requirements. Firstly, an organization might introduce high entrance and socialization standards (Bateman et al., 2020). In particular, appointed team leaders’ values and attitudes should align with their subordinates. Secondly, rewards should be tied to the set criteria of team performance (Bateman et al., 2020). As a result, team leaders will be incentivized to exhibit effective leadership traits both during the appointment to the role and throughout work.
The team-based organization has become common in many companies across various industries. As such, there is a constant need for improvements in teamwork effectiveness. An effective team is defined by a shared purpose, mutual accountability, and complementary member skills. The primary responsibility for building effective teams lies in the leaders, who must demonstrate superior leadership behaviors — relating, scouting, persuading, and empowering. Due to the crucial role of team leaders, an organization should introduce the means of ensuring their competence, such as high entrance standards and team performance evaluation.
Ahmad, M. K., Abdulhamid, A. B., Wahab, S. A., Pervaiz, A. N., & Imtiaz, M. K. (2022). Direct and indirect influence of project managers’ contingent reward leadership and empowering leadership on project success. International Journal of Engineering Business Management, 14, 1-15. Web.
Bateman, T. S., Snell, S., & Konopaske, R. (2020). Management. McGraw-Hill Education.
Somech, A., & Naamneh, M. (2019). Subject coordinators as boundary managers: The impact on team learning and organizational outcomes. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 47(1), 56-73. Web.