When you become a leader or a manager, the first realisation that hits you is that you are no longer individually accountable. You are now responsible for an entire team which you are supposed to lead towards a common goal. And that’s why it’s crucial for a team leader to understand what he or she is specifically responsible for and who they are accountable to. You see we are responsible for things and accountable to people.
Without having a clear idea of what encompasses your job scope, you won’t be in a position to perform your job effectively. Following are some of the critical aspects that you’re accountable for as a team leader:
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It’s your team and it’s your responsibility to build a good one. It’s a difficult process that’s why you need to create a strategy and identify the characteristics and qualifications you’re looking for. You should also be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of people working under you. That will enable you to assign the right tasks to the right people allowing your teams to hit their targets within the given deadlines.
As a team leader, you have to clearly lay out what you expect from every team member. Without two way communication related to clearly defined job roles and expectations, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for. It’s also a great idea to let your team know about the shared goal – the single big objective – so they feel accountable to do their part. When employees learn how their contribution will fit in to achieve a bigger objective and how their work will affect others, they’re more likely to keep themselves in check.
A good team leader is an engaged and involved team member. You can’t just assign the task and wait for the deadline to arrive. As a team leader, you need to keep checking in, again and again, to see how different tasks are progressing and whether some of the team members need guidance or assistance to get the job done. This initiative also ensures that everything is going in the right direction enabling you to make the required corrections along the way.
Look, it doesn’t matter how great your team is or how amazing you’re as a leader. There will be times when things don’t go according to the plan. Sometimes someone will struggle with a certain task, the other times some unfortunate incident might become a hurdle. Being a team leader, you need to be there for the team to console, motivate and provide the emotional support they need for course correction.
Every success your team member achieves is your success too. But a good leader gives the credit where it’s due. Celebrate the wins of your team members, provide positive motivation through incentives, and set the bar high with leading by example. A team leader who is hesitant to compliment or appreciate their team can never develop a deep connection with his or her team.
Remember that accountability can’t be forced onto people. It is a virtue that comes from within. That’s why, as a good team leader, your job isn’t to push people into submission and exploiting them until they deliver what you want. Your real job is to bring out the best in people by clearly outlining their job, giving them respect, appreciating their wins, and providing them with a shoulder to cry on when things are tough.
If you are an accountable team leader, your team will automatically follow your suit. Strong leadership is when others follow from your lead and the examples you have set.