8 Common Mistakes Made by New Team Leaders
Making a mistake is common and can be a learning experience, however, by taking the time to avoid making these common mistakes, new Team Leaders can become more productive, successful, and highly respected by their team more quickly.
Providing a newly appointed Team Leader with the right skills not only benefits them as a new leader but also benefits your team members and the overall culture of the business environment.
1. Misunderstanding Your Role
Once you become a Team Leader, your responsibilities are quite different from what they were before when you were only accountable for your performance. Now you are accountable for the performance of all the team members in your team.
You will soon realise that you will need to use different skills to be effective in leading and managing people.
2. Not ‘Walking the Walk’
Team Leaders need to be a role model for their team. Your team is watching you all the time, and they are going to pattern a lot of their behaviour on how they see you behave. If you are negative some of the time, you cannot expect them not to be negative too. If you want to shape their behaviour, start with your own, and they will follow suit.
3. Not Providing Timely, Constructive Feedback
When you do not provide timely and constructive feedback to your team members, you’re depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performance.
4. Not Making Time for Your Team
Once you are in a Team Leadership role, your team should always come first; that is the heart of what good leadership is all about. Indeed, everyone wants to get along in the workplace.
Make the time to coach your team members to help them improve their skills whether they need help with the way they handle their calls, product knowledge or admin tasks.
5. Being Too Hands-On
Team Leaders want to avoid micromanagement of their team because many team members were their colleagues not so long ago, and they do not want to feel like they’re being lorded over.
But going in the opposite direction with a ‘hands-off’ management style is not a good idea either; you need to find the right balance and not hide behind your desk.
6. Being Too Friendly
Team members will be tempted to take advantage of your relationship if you are too friendly with them. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t socialise with your team; you need to get the balance right by setting healthy boundaries between being a friend and now being the Team Leader.
7. Failing to Define Goals
When team members don’t have clear goals, they muddle through their day and waste time. They need to have clearly defined and achievable daily and weekly goals for them to strive for and understand they will be held accountable for achieving these goals.
When setting their goals, make the goal fair and reasonable for them based on their skill level and be sure to get their “Buy-In” that the goal is appropriate, and they can achieve it.
8. Misunderstanding Motivation
Many Team Leaders assume their team is only working for monetary reward.
There is research around that shows money is not the most important thing to most Team Members; usually it’s far down the list. Often people look for a more balanced work/life and might be motivated by flexible working hours where they can leave early if they hit their daily goal. It is imperative that Team Leaders be positive at all times because doing so fosters harmony and cooperation.
Many people will be motivated by factors such as achievement, extra responsibility, praise or even a sense of satisfaction by achieving team goals with their teammates. Indeed, it's not uncommon for people to feel unmotivated because they feel under-appreciated.