“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”

– John Maxwell – Leadership Expert & Author

Team leadership is one of the most, if not the most important leadership skill. There are few nobler pursuits than to lead people, helping them elevate and realize their potential as individuals and teams. There is the adage that “people are everything.” Without them, there is no business no future.

The collective energy and actions of the people in an organization can tank a business or grow it to billions in sales. And the beauty of team leadership is that it comes down to some basic and commonsense principles and tools.

Here are the top team leadership tools and concepts:

1. The Right People, in the Right Roles
Team leadership begins with getting the right people in the right roles. Great leaders address weak people on their teams with expediency; understanding the gap between low performers vs. high performers is too great for the team’s potential to ignore for very long. Great leaders take the time and energy to properly define the team members’ roles to set them up for success. Be sure to download the free ROLES worksheet.

2. Clear Accountabilities & High Expectations
To improve your team leadership, focus on developing clear accountabilities for everyone and elevate your expectations of team members. Learn the best practices and tools to create clear accountabilities and set high expectations.

3. Empowerment & Delegation
A challenging skill to master as a team leader is true empowerment and delegation. Our ego and desire to control is typically in our way. Once you learn how to empower and delegate to others, you start freeing up your time and responsibilities while gifting others the opportunity to grow and feel a sense of ownership.

4. Developing a Winning Leadership Team
The right leadership team is the single most important driver in creating a winning business. Teams that thrive have individuals with high will & skill and a diverse and complementary team composition.

4. Leadership Mindset
The right leadership mindset will unlock you and your team’s potential. Learn all about the key mindsets of growth, team-orientation, value, and core values.

5. Will Skill Matrix
The Will Skill Matrix is such a simple and effective way to frame people’s performance while providing prescriptive management levers to improve performance. Once you internalize and apply this framework, your team leadership skills will flourish.

6. Myers Briggs
Managing interpersonal and team dynamics is a big part of team leadership. Myers Briggs helps frame the personalities of individuals and potential conflict or issue areas in working relationships.

7. Be a Coach, Not a Manager
Great team leaders don’t manage teams; they coach them. Managing instantly creates a false conceptual hierarchy of power. No one likes to be managed. But everyone is open to being coached. To elevate your leadership, start having a coaching mindset. It will be more productive and fun for everyone.

8. Effective Meetings
Meetings have become a terrible productivity-sucking virus in most companies. As a team leader, you have the power and responsibility to set and enculturate appropriate norms to make meetings more efficient and effective. Learn how to eliminate terrible meetings and the culture that proliferates them.

9. Execution
Getting things done is how positive change happens, not by constantly thinking, planning, and ideating about what needs to be done. Turbocharge the execution of your team by learning the best practices and minimizing the strategy trap.

10. Change Management
Change management is one of the top skills of team leadership. Learn how McKinsey approaches behavioral change with the change management model. Ensure you always have the four elements of the model in place as you are effecting change. Be sure to download the free framework and worksheets.

11. Complexity Reduction
Often, team leaders find their team is constantly in a fire of complexity. Understanding how to reduce that complexity will pay dividends to your team’s productivity. Learn the different ways to reduce complexity and the best practices.

12. Crowdsourcing
Your team doesn’t need to be constrained by the number of people on your team. You can tap into the cognitive surplus of customers, partners, and others through crowdsourcing. Dramatically improve your team’s capacity by utilizing the best practices of crowdsourcing to help solve your team’s problems and capitalize on their opportunities.

Sometimes, team leadership necessitates laying off team members. When facing this challenge, be sure you understand how to do it right, with empathy, and utilizing best practices.

 Learn more about Joe Newsum, the author of all this free content and a McKinsey Alum. I provide a suite of coaching and training services to realize the potential in you, your team, and your business. Learn more about me and my coaching philosophy.
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