Leading a group that has come together with a shared purpose to reach a set of goals can be a very rewarding experience. Here are 10 tips for group leaders that will help your team to be cohesive and effective.
Establish a Common Goal
What is the purpose of the group? Brainstorm and develop clear, agreed upon goals. Make sure the scope and the nature of the common goal is well defined. Put the group’s mission in writing and build a game plan to accomplish it.
Clarify Everyone’s Skill-set
Have open and honest conversations with group members to determine what they can contribute based on their own personal skills, past experiences, and interests. People work best when they are working in their areas of strengths and interests. As a team leader, it is your responsibility to assess what each person can contribute to accomplish the mission of the group.
As the leader, your best route to a successful project is getting the most from your team. Utilize your active listening skills to make every member of the group a part of all discussions, decision-making, and activities that affect them. Give everyone a chance to speak, and in return, you’ll gain a much greater level of commitment and group cohesiveness.
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Divide and Conquer
Any effective project is divided into unique and definable tasks that are assigned to teams or individual members of the group. When everyone is given a defined, manageable task, team members stay focused, don’t feel overwhelmed, and are more likely get the job done on time.
Do Your Part
You do not want to be the person who gives all of the direction but does little else to carry out the group’s vision. Don’t delegate every responsibility. A leader’s primary responsibility is certainly to oversee the team, but make sure you are leading by example, assisting with the team whenever possible.
It is vital to communicate often and in a clear manner. Failure to communicate effectively can result in the mismanagement of time and resources. Schedule regular meetings or conference calls to give all team members a forum to share their perspectives and keep up with others.
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Stay on Track
Make meetings count. Meetings should be held on a regular basis, especially when the deadline is looming. Keep the focus on the project and don’t drift into irrelevant subjects. Eliminate socializing until after the meeting has adjourned. Be respectful to group members and their schedules. Start and end meetings on time.
The phrase, as soon as possible is not a deadline or effective planning. Everyone has a different version of what as soon as possible means. Setting specific dates is a critical step to ensure everyone has the same understanding of when work needs to be completed.
It’s normal for individuals to have different ideas on how things should get accomplished. Conflict is inevitable. It’s how it is handled that counts. Keep the focus on what is best for the project. Respect others at all times, especially when things take a nosedive.
A team that communicates and works well together can achieve much more than a group that is unfocused. With great leadership, your group will be well position to achieve its goals in a timely fashion.
Sara Kendall is a freelance writer and mom of two daughters.