Team leader in project management
Regardless of the type of the project and industry, the role of a team leader lies in the broadly understood support of the team as well as creating favourable conditions for its team to deliver the tasks without office environment dependent bottlenecks. In addition, the leader is responsible for watching over the deadlines of individual tasks and ensuring positive relations between members of the group.
Good team leader
Leadership is, therefore, critical to project success. However, being an effective leader is a real challenge. According to business specialists, the features necessary to properly perform the role of a team leader are:
1. The ability to inspire and motivate the team: both motivation and inspiration are personality and behaviour oriented, therefore both talent and the right attitude are needed for success.
2. Responsibility: good project leader should be someone responsible and trustworthy.
3. Ability to listen: leaders must be able to relate to problems presented by the team members and act accordingly.
4. Having analytical skills: that part is crucial for correct understanding and estimation of project related issues.
5. Appreciating the achievements of the team: team needs to know that their hard job is not unnoticed.
Styles of leadership
Daniel Coleman divided different leadership styles into several parts. In democratic style everyone has the right to present their opinion, decisions are taken together and everyone feels equally important. Thanks to this the team feels responsible for decisions, company development, project implementation and any changes in which the team participates. The leader must demonstrate the ability to listen well and be open to new ideas and ideas, since this style allows building an atmosphere of understanding and respect. However, the decision-making time is extended by the need to discuss each issue with all team members.
In affiliative style the leader is focused on people, building harmony and understanding in a team. The manager supports team members often praising and highlighting positive qualities. This style focuses heavily on cooperation, commitment and team loyalty and is effective when employees are competent and focused on achieving goals. This style has some important cons though, as not every leader has a personal predisposition to such a management model. Also, the team must have certain clear and specific goals, otherwise this style may lead to chaos and lower efficiency, lack of procedures or even laziness.
Authoritarian style is often associated with visionaries like Steve Jobs who are naturally followed by the team. This style is highly effective style from the business point of view, as the leader mobilises team members to achieve a specific goal, but does not interfere with the path they follow. Team members feel very important because they can construct their own tasks themselves, they also know what are the criteria for assessing their work. Not every leader can implement this style though, since they need charisma, commitment, and must be a natural authority of the team, with the ability to clearly and precisely define the goals and inspire to reach them.
Coach style is common for most developing teams. The leader focuses on each team member and supports its development, delegates tasks adequately to the competence of people. Thanks to this approach, employees know that their personal needs are taken into account and have the opportunity to develop their skills. There is, however, a big need to engage the leader while working with each member of the team, without knowledge and guarantee whether this commitment will bring expected results.
Command style focuses on telling the team exactly what to do, and in my opinion, works well only in crisis situations, where quick and indisputable commands are required. I consider this style highly antiquated, based on continuous monitoring and control of employees with no room for creativity. Unfortunately, in many companies, especially in administrative and governmental institution, this style is still very popular.
Finally, pacesetting style requires the team to do what team leader does. The leader teaches and shows how to do the task, and if necessary executes to prove that his method is correct. This style works best in sales departments, where employees are internally motivated and competent, but there is a very thin border between motivation and demotivation, especially when high results are expected.
The right leadership style can have a huge influence on project outcome. The best leader in any field adapts the style to situation and maturity of individual members, maintaining a high level of empathy and consistency while doing so (an affiliative leader who is acting like commanding just for one or two members of the team might be accused of favouritism).