What makes a good team leader?
<Originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse>
I have found there are always two visible sides of a leader, one that their teams see, and the other that rest of the world sees.
For their teams, leaders provide:
The North Star - A shared goal or vision, that tie the team members to each other and the leader. Frequent re-iteration of this goal and providing visibility of any changes to that, due to external factors, is a very important part of the value a leader adds to the team.
A Shield - Personally and with the aid of others, leaders find ways to shield their team from the turbulence in the outside world. While its impossible and often unnecessary to shield teams from all the turbulence around them, reducing the impact on the team is very important.
Guide Rails - Providing guidance to keep the team on track, if they veer too far off course, is especially important when your team includes young and inexperienced members. This doesn't mean micro-managing the team's work, its just meant to stop the team from driving off a cliff or heading to a different destination.
A Safety net - It gives the team more confidence to take risks and innovate during their journey together, if they know the leader has their back and won't let them fall.
The outside world see the leaders as:
Lightning Rod - They channel all the good energy and input from the outside world and channel it to the right places for the team's use.
Lightning Rod - They act as the conduit for all the bad energy directed at the team and divert it away from them.
Spokesperson - The outside world often hears from or about the team through the leader. Good news can flow from any team member to the outside world. However, it is often the responsibility of the leader to communicate any bad news the team has to share with others.
Negotiator - When the outside world wishes to make changes that conflict with the opinion of team members, it is often the responsibility of the leader to negotiate with the outside world on the team's behalf. A good leader will honestly and objectively advocate for both sides to come to the right decision.
This is the first of two posts about team leadership that I will be publishing. If you like this post, or even otherwise, stay tuned for the second one which will talk about "What I learnt as a team leader".
If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. I hope you found this post useful. Please do add your thoughts via comments below, about other things you think good leaders should do. I also, always welcome constructive feedback about my writing style and/or content.