Congratulations! So you have secured that promotion you had always wanted and you are now leading a team. As a leader, it is now your responsibility to influence, motivate and change the mindset of your team to work together towards getting the best results. According to the book Enhancing The Effectiveness Of Team Science, research shows that team leaders are especially important in shaping their team members’ perceptions about the shared work environment and team relationships. The book also details about the transformational approach to leadership that induces followers to transcend their interests and behaviours for a greater good.
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The key to a sustained organisational change is, thus, an altered mindset. Such a change in mindset does not happen overnight. It is a result of constant effort and proper planning. But if a positive mindset is brought about in a team, it will lead its members to be more committed to the organisation and more productive in their operations. So here are a few tips on how you can induce such positive mindset changes once you get promoted to a team leader:
Set clear expectations and be transparent
The main reason why performance dips in many teams is a miscommunication of the goals or objective between the leader and team members. Let it be known to your team what is expected of them and make the work atmosphere conducive to work to their full capacities. That is where transparency kicks in. It is foolish to expect your team to work efficiently when you hide important details from them.
Make your dealings transparent and make facts known. In this way, your team will be able to use these facts to arrive at solutions to problems, rather than objections to your idea of operation. Transparency and clarity will thus make your team feel more involved and will change their attitude by making them more invested in working to achieve a collective goal.
Lead by example
The best way to make your team learn or imbibe a new mindset is by practising it yourself. Be what you want your team to be. Do not laze around yourself and expect your team to put in extra hours to get work done. Model your behaviour keeping in mind the company’s strategies. A study published in the Journal Of Applied Psychology,which analysed leadership patterns and team behaviours in 218 teams of a Hong Kong-based bank, found that adopting a transformative approach to leadership ensures high team performance. It says that a good leader should exhibit confidence in his team, model himself with the required qualities, show concern for his team’s needs and promote co-operation among team members. Lead your team by showing them that you would never ask them to do something that you are not willing or able to do yourself. So if you bring in a new rule, follow it first and be a role model.
Foursquare’s Sales Director, David Greenberger,says that he sets quotas for his sales representatives at a third of what he can accomplish. So if someone were to come back to him with complaints, he could confidently tell them that it is not impossible and up to three times that figure can be achieved. Thus, you are setting your team up to look at challenges in an aspirational way by showing them that goals can be achieved rather than making them think that you are burdening them with unrealistic tasks.
Give them the time and opportunity to update their skills
If you want your team to perform at its maximum efficiency, you should make sure that they have access to the best technology and are equipped with skill sets to use it effectively. If you dole out instructions to a team that has no clue how to go about achieving them, you are only setting them up for failure.This will lead to an increased sense of disengagement and resentment.
Give them time to pick up new skills or adapt to a new working style because studies say that adults take much more time than youngsters to learn something new. David Kolb, a specialist in adult learning, showed that adults cannot merely learn by listening to instructions. They must absorb the information, use it and integrate it to their existing knowledge. This means you cannot expect your team to learn a new thing or change their mindsets in one training session or meeting. Impart knowledge in smaller capsules, allow them to use it in their work and learn by doing. This will make them feel that you are truly invested in their professional and personal development and will make them want to better their skills to meet the expectations laid out for them.
Finally, lend them full support. There is nothing more inspiring and encouraging than a supportive leader whom you can reach out to in case of doubts or problems. Taking up a new job role can be intimidating at first, but if you understand the power of a positive mindset and how it will drive your team to success, and communicate it in its true sense to your team, then more than half your job is done.