One of the most critical factors for successful leadership is competent cooperation with the team. The perfect leader must perform two important tasks at once. First of all, it is necessary to assign roles and monitor each participant. Evaluating the effectiveness of the team as a whole is also essential. Thanks to this, the leader will be able to identify any problem in the team at an early stage and come up with ways to resolve it. In addition, the coordinated functioning of the team in all aspects will positively affect the results of its work. It is crucial to understand what factors should be considered when assessing team effectiveness. The leader must also always know what issues may arise.
Each member of a team should be aware of their goals and objectives within the group, as well as relations with each of its members. For the work to be productive, team members must regularly report on the results of work in the prescribed manner. After collecting information from the entire team, the leader will be able to assess the stage of work on the project, its strengths and weaknesses, and necessary adjustments. This will allow the leader to redistribute responsibilities between people for more productive work, if required. It will also be useful to convey information about one’s performance to the rest of the team. In this way, everyone will be immersed in one information field, and the number of errors and misunderstandings will be significantly reduced.
Leaders must take an active part in the work of the team. They need to give clear feedback to each member of the team so that they understand what they are doing well and what areas require attention (Aldag & Kuzuhara, 2015). Another critical leadership quality is the high level of responsibility. They should always be ready to help members of their team in various matters because sometimes people lack the authority or knowledge, which would allow them to make decisions.
Different challenges arise in almost any team, and even working on projects during the educational process, I often noted these difficulties. For example, it can be difficult for people to agree with each other on common views on an issue since they are too impatient. This is one of the problems associated with effective teamwork: it requires time and involvement of the participants. Many people can also feel uncomfortable during teamwork. Some of them do not want to evaluate each other, while others are too sensitive to criticism. In my experience, this often leads to disagreements and even quarrels. To avoid such situations, the leader must control what is happening in the group and notice approaching conflicts in time.
Thus, the assessment of team performance is made up of many factors, and leaders should take full responsibility for this. They need to establish contact between team members and clearly define the common goal and personal objectives. Leaders are also responsible for allocating resources, giving the necessary information, and providing all possible assistance to team members. Because of this, leaders will be able to see the big picture and the position of each person in this group. This will allow them to fully assess the quality of the team and correct any errors in time. Moreover, “there is a need for the leader to gain specific knowledge and training in order to unlock the team’s full potential” (Brent & Dent, 2017, p. 3). The professional qualities will allow this person to create a capable and reliable team.
One of the crucial stages of work on any project is building a productive team. Responsibility for this also lies with its leader. Levitt (2016) states that “team leaders must understand team dynamics, grasp the concept of shared responsibility and accountability, and foster synergy through effective team planning” (p. 13). First of all, it is necessary to determine the tasks that the members of this team must solve. It is also essential to understand how big or small the team should be. The most comfortable team size is from five to seven people (Aldag & Kuzuhara, 2015). If the team is smaller, then everyone will bear too much responsibility and overly worry about their results. If the team consists of more than seven members, then it will be too difficult to manage them. In this case, a leader will have to take into account the interests of a large number of people and possess information about each of them.
After the team has been assembled, the leader’s task is to establish basic rules, team goals, and other aspects of the work. Each participant must have a role: they can be initiators, energizers, or, for example, harmonizers. People must understand both the general goals of the team and their own responsibilities. Often, unspoken norms are established in each team, which all its members follow. They may relate to politeness, punctuality, or the degree of closeness of people. The leader’s task is to monitor people following these norms and timely adjust the behavior of team members.
At the stage of creating a team, leaders must determine a global goal of the team and break it down into stages of implementation. In each of these stages, there should be tasks for which one or another member of the team is responsible. Monitoring the timely-phased implementation of these tasks is another area of responsibility for a leader. If people encounter any problems with performing tasks or lack of work, leaders must take measures to correct the situation.
It is vital to make people feel the team spirit. For instance, in the framework of school projects, we did not always succeed in this: we did not have enough time and experience. However, this is one of the key points affecting all teamwork indicators. Functioning within the framework of a formed team should become something attractive. If there is such an opportunity, team members can come up with a whole branding system for the team, for example, a name and a logo. Leaders should also praise and even celebrate all, even the smallest, team achievements. It will be useful to make them public, so that others see the success of the team.
In order not to violate team spirit, it is also worth limiting the size of the team. In a small team, it will be much easier for people to get along than in a large crowd. The longer they work together, the more coherent they will become. However, in addition to the positive aspects, the leader must inform the team about potential threats and errors of the team. If this information is conveyed competently and calmly, people will become even more united by solving problems together. Thus, the creation of a capable team and its support is a challenging but essential leadership task. If leaders pass this stage successfully, then subsequent work will be much more effective and enjoyable.
- Aldag, R., & Kuzuhara, L. (2015). Creating high performance teams: Applied strategies and tools for managers and team members. Routledge.
- Levitt, G. (2016). Team planning for project managers and business analysts. CRC Press.