How to be a Good Team Leader at Work
My days of leading teams lie in the past. Stepping out of an employee mindset to an entrepreneur many years ago, my job today is to teach people how to be a good team leader.
The very essence of team leadership is to pull the team together for better results. When teams work well together, they have the capacity to harmonise and build on each other’s strengths.
But not every team leader is as lucky to find a team that is seamless. Most often, leadership characteristics are expected of the team leader who would excel if he possessed skills of an NLP coach.
So how does Neuro Linguistic Programming help? The NLP model is a toolbox that contains a bunch of processes, used to help build rapport, use influential language and manage conflict, amongst others.
It provides the structure for how to be a good team leader. Like a jigsaw puzzle it gives people an understanding of how to diagnose a situation, when problems arise and where to find solutions.
According to many past participants, an NLP for work course that I conduct, has been known to be extremely helpful. Why? Team leaders learn how to stay out of content and work only with context, structure and process.
So the days of “he said” and “she said” are over. Rather, a good team leader who is trained as an NLP coach will know how to ask the right questions that take the person out of “content”.
For instance, when a conflict erupts in the team, rather than asking why it happened or what happened (which associates the team member back into the experience), a well-trained team leader could ask any of these questions, to dissociate them:
Questions like this interrupt thought patterns of the team member and force them to re-direct to a solutions-based focus. We call this a “break state” in NLP. Simple to do and fast in results.
It is these little tips that produce leverage to problem solving in a timely manner, where both team member and team leader are able to get back to their jobs, feeling resolved.
So an NLP for work course would be filled with little tips and hints that are most valuable to the team leader, looking for assistance especially for team leads who are also managers.
What are some fundamental truths about being a good team leader?
1. Be clear about your leadership style
What leadership characteristics do you display? Are you confident and communicative? Do you see yourself as effective, in managing time well and being organised?
Whoever you are, be clear about it. Recognise your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. In fact, be candid and speak openly about it so your team members are aware of your misgivings and are able to fill in the gaps for you.
This sets the pace for your team to also feel your sincerity and transparency, two factors that are poignant in creating a strong team.
2. Understand motivation
As an NLP coach you would know the link between values and motivation. It is imperative that you have a one-on-one with each team member to elicit their values. Find out what makes them tick.
It is easy to then be a good team leader and give each member what they want, within the framework that is allowed. For instance, one team member may feel extremely rewarded with announcements of their success and achievements. Another may be a quiet achiever and shy away from it.
Knowing how to do these NLP processes to elicit values are some of the topics covered in an NLP course.
3. Establish structure
Structure helps team members tremendously. People like to have certainty. For example, to know that their week consists of a Monday morning meeting or a Friday evening briefing for the following week.
This beds them down into a feeling of safety hence communicate, communicate, communicate is the mantra you must learn. A leadership characteristic that stands out from the rest!
When in troubled times, this factor rises even more in importance. It eliminates rumours, gossip and other negative spillovers of conversation that could easily happen.
At the end of the day, being a good team leader can be easily felt by team members. The glue that binds the team together is, leading from your heart. Even though you may be firm and strict on a daily basis, your sincerity and kindness will shine through!
Sylvia Fernandes is the Founder & CEO of VIA Frontiers. She is a Master Trainer of NLP who is specialised in corporate applications. She started her business in Sydney in 2002 and has been operating in the Asia Pacific Region ever since. She is currently based in Singapore. She is also the author of Bye Bye Black Cat -- Turn Your Luck Around and Realise Opportunities. Visit VIA Frontiers for more information.