You got hired when they saw something in you. You’ve done everything to meet and exceed expectations. You’ve proven beyond a doubt to deliver profits and you work great with everyone. They’ve now called you into an office, where instead of reprimanding you, they are highly praising you for your work. They inform you that since you are a great team player, you are going to be promoted to team leader.
A team leader is someone who advises, counsels, or directs a group of individuals towards the purpose of achieving a common goal. With this new position of team leader comes a nice bonus and a raise along with a ton more responsibility. You’re excited about it and know you want to do your best and be your best. What you didn’t encounter was the fact that you are no longer the co-worker of your team members, but now you are their leader and it puts you into a whole new position with them. These are some steps to set yourself up for success.
As you read through, ask yourself one question, is it better to be feared or respected?
Introducing Yourself As Team Leader
Some of your team is going to be happy for you, some of your team is going to be jealous of you, and some of your team is going to outright hate you because you got the position and they did not. You need to establish that you are here to ensure the company continues to function, and despite the fact that you are in a new position should not take away or give your team any right to disrespect you. You are leading them and on a mission to ensure your company remains profitable.
Right off the bat, you should understand who has an issue with you and clear up the nonsense, as a non-functioning member who is not on board with you is going to make your company question why they made you a team leader in the first place. Clear up any communication, miscommunication, and earn the respect of your team by calling a meeting to ensure everyone knows what your new position is and what your responsibilities are.
If you are not sure yourself, you will need to speak with your Human Resources department to ask any questions about your new responsibilities.
You Are A Team Leader, Not (only) A Team Friend
Don’t get me wrong, you are absolutely going to try and be friendly towards your team, but there is a thin line between friendship and being a leader to your team. While you will be friendly, have an open-door policy with your team, and always be willing to listen to your team, you are still a leader that is in charge of a team.
Outside of work hours, you may certainly be friends with your team, though you may want to establish boundaries early. There is no way you want to be caught drunk with a team member of yours recording you on their cell phone and then showing the higher bosses or HR what you look like when you’re drunk. Should you ever hang out with your co-workers, while you can trust them, always hold back the full trust, and ensure you remain proper and responsible in their presence. If you know your limits on alcohol, do not exceed or even if you can, avoid it altogether.
Your team is a group of human beings who you are now managing. Your relationship with your team is to ensure they remain the most valuable and resourceful assets for your company. After all, your company chose you to be the leader.
Respect Your Team and They Will Respect You
It is very easy to let the newfound position of power go to your head. Most supervisors, managers, and bosses are hardly good leaders and most of them are not required to even take a course on being a leader. They usually got their position because they put on a great show from the beginning and earned it, but somehow, became more relaxed or changed once they saw the new paycheck and were given more direction and power over the entire team.
Communication is always going to be your key with your team. With your new position, you are probably no longer following your old list of things to do but now you have a new list of things to do that requires you to utilize certain team members to their fullest extent.
When you begin to think like a team, you will also begin to act like a team. To get your team to respect you, you need to not only get to know your team, but come up with challenges that help them learn new things, acquire new skills, and express their talents.
Do not buy your team’s respect. While it is certainly okay to bring in donuts and coffee or even pizza once in a while to celebrate the latest success of an assignment from a client, you should never pay anyone to like you. Respect is earned, not bought.
As comes with the territory of communication, you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of team members. There are some people who are never going to turn weakness into strengths and that is okay. Try where you must, but assign the proper strengths to where they are best utilized. Your company does not care about how you make it happen. They are about the results.
Setting up an activity once a week that allows you and your team to work on a few hours assignment that allows your team members to get to know each other, communicate, and have fun together while overcoming the challenge together will allow you to see their strengths, know their weaknesses, and learn how they work together and act together as well as function as a team together.
Trusting Your Team To Complete The Mission
As you are there to be a team leader, you are there to be their leader. Dress properly. Carry yourself well. Never be afraid of communicating with your team. Do not call them out and it is far better to be respected than feared. When you are feared, your team will only do things to please you to get you to go away. Trust your team to do what they need to do. Give them some leeway and train them to function somewhat without you, as you do not want to be micromanaging your team, watching over their shoulders, and basically letting them see that you really don’t trust them.
Work together with your team to drill the idea of being a team together to ensure you can complete the goals of your company in a timely manner. A good leader knows his team wants to work and wants to ensure not only they look good, but their team leader looks great as well. They are representing you and you are representing them. If you are not syncing up, then communicate and start thinking of each other as family because honestly, you see your team probably even more than you actually see your family.
You’ve done it, you’re a team leader. Now you have the steps to act like one. In your spare time, read up on being a good leader and what good leadership is, and you’ll not only earn the respect of your team, but you’ll continue to show your company why they made a great choice in choosing you as the team leader.