There’s been a lot written about qualities of great leaders and what makes a great team. As meeting planners we often rotate between being the team leader and being a team member. Here are some leadership lessons I’ve learned to take your team from OK to awesome.
It’s a wonderful concept, but often poorly executed. In order to delegate effectively, you need to give your team adequate information and the tools to do their job. Explain what needs to be done, assign a deadline, confirm they understand the task and then let go. Don’t tell them how to do it – give them guidelines/checklists/templates and then allow for innovation and creativity where you can. Don’t micromanage – there is nothing more discouraging than having someone over your shoulder criticizing how you are doing something or trying to do it for you.
Share information, don’t keep it to yourself. The more your team understands their role in the organization or project, the more committed they will be to the outcome. The more they understand what is expected of them and what the timelines are, the better they can plan and prepare.
Ask for feedback (this goes for the team leader and team members). The occasional “how am I doing?” (to quote former NYC Mayor Ed Koch) will help you make changes as needed.
Part of being a team leader is letting team members know what is going right – and what’s not. If something is not done correctly or a deadline is missed, share that information immediately and get the project back on course. Ask why things went wrong – did they not understand the request? Were they pulled in too many directions? Is something else going on that you don’t know about? Don’t jump to conclusions, criticize or ridicule your team members – either in public or private.
The best teams are made up of members with a variety of skills. Assign tasks to make the best use of skills and let team members share their knowledge with others so they can develop a new skill. It’s never too late to add something to your “bag of tricks” and never a bad idea to have a backup plan if a team member is unavailable.
We work long hours and sometimes the job seems thankless. Remember to take time to have fun, whether an organized outing, an impromptu dance party (those ladies on Grey’s Anatomy are onto something!), or lunchtime trivia contests, it’s the little things that make team members feel appreciated, reinvigorated and ready to tackle the next project.