I have a very simple view of the role of a Team Leader. Basically the Team Leader is there to shovel all the smelly stuff so that the rest of the team can get on with real work.
People must be given clear goals and allowed/encouraged to own them within a framework that encourages innovation whilst providing a safety net for those that find they need help.
People are not “resources” like pencils and PCs – people are people with all the fun and complications that come with that.
I have five fundamental principles by which I try and lead any team which I am assigned to …
- Everyone is a person and therefore deserves to be treated in the manner in which I myself would wish to be treated. This does not mean that tough things can’t be said if required, but it does mean that they must be said carefully and after due thought. Say “Thank You” a lot and mean it. Fun and enjoyment are fundamentally compatible with high work rate.
- Everyone must be presented with clear objectives/goals and then encouraged to own them. This must be done within a support framework that encompasses the entire team and where asking for help is a positive thing.
- People must not be micromanaged. Nobody likes to feel that they are just there to implement somebody else’s ideas (See 1). Everyone must be allowed to innovate and, within reason, as long as good principles are followed and the end result is as required (see 2), then they can/should “do it their way”!
- Decisions must be made when they are needed with as little delay as possible. A “good” decision made in a timely way is normally better than a “perfect” decision made a week late.
- “Pain” from above the team directed at the team is absorbed by the team leader. “Praise” from above the team directed at the team passes though the team leader without touching the sides!