Every self-respecting person holding a managerial or executive position, often wonders how they can actually motivate their delegates more. What does it take for a successful team management strategy? Is it enhanced business acumen? Is it expertise or experience? Maybe both?

Well, maybe all of the above!

In our previous posts, we have discussed time and project management; Now it’s time we focused on team management and all the best team leader and people management skills.

Before we move on to tips and ideas for effective team management, let's talk about the responsibilities and skill-set required for a successful team leader.

The importance of team leader skills, qualities and responsibilities

In our “6 key leadership skills for running a small business” piece, we pointed out some of the most important qualities a small business owner should possess. In this week’s article, we are going to focus on tips on how to be a better team leader.

Leadership is important, but people relationships are a broader concept that, in the majority of cases, has nothing to do with marketing and business textbooks but has everything to do with social skills and psychology.

Effective team leader communication skills should be the number one priority of any executive who truly wishes to create a strong team and boost their motivation and productivity.

A good example of team leadership skills is when a manager adjusts their style to address each employee’s weak points. In order to do that, you need to understand the underlying causes of somebody’s procrastination issues or poor performance.

This can be achieved by acquiring basic psychology knowledge so you can make out what motivates each team member or discourages them from reaching their true potential. Moreover, team leader communication skills are equally important so as to convey the right message and tone to your employees, especially during stressful situations, when everyone is under heavy pressure to deliver their best.

Traits and abilities necessary for being a great team leader

1. Developed emotional and social intelligence

One of the best people management and team leadership skill for managers is being empathetic. In simple words, being able to understand people’s feelings and carefully observe their reactions, especially in difficult situations, is crucial.

Everyone can be an excellent leader when everything is running smoothly, however, it takes substantially effective team management skills to keep your employees gathered and focused during hard times.

Apart from adjusting yourself to others, you need to be aware of your own emotions as well. All of that takes a great deal of self-awareness and it’s really an ongoing process. The first step towards mastering yours and other people’s feelings is recognising that fear and anxiety can be overwhelming sometimes.

A good leader finds ways to circumvent instinctive reactions by putting them into a less stressful context.

Rationalizing these otherwise paralyzing emotions is key to control yourself from making irrational decisions. This way you can help your team do the same by believing in your company’s vision and product.

2. Self-esteem & humility

Great leaders have another thing in common; they possess high levels of self-esteem. In order to increase your employee management skills, you need to be a master of yourself first. This essentially means not being prey to your emotions. Inferiority complexes, megalomania and any other unhealthy issues can and will impair your judgement.

Healthy levels of self-love are essential if you want to set a good example for your team members.

Among employee management skills, being humble enough to know that arrogance is quite destructive, is important. For example, when your team completes a project successfully, give them the credit they deserve. They are your most valuable asset so treat them accordingly!

Which brings us to the next point of our list of actions to take toimprove your people management skills...

3. Acknowledge & reward good performance

If you want to become the best leader you can possibly be, providing positive feedback to your employees is a must if your goal is to keep them highly motivated and productive.

Verbal praise is one way of doing it, however, rewarding your team in more practical manners will work miracles with their engagement and future performance!

Always keep in mind that an excellent leader provides incentives and appreciates his team members for the effort they put in their work. Therefore, you can reward them by giving them promotions or bonuses after difficult projects.

4. Conflict management skills

A true leader’s job is to cultivate a positive workplace environment. In that context, you have to make sure your employees feel safe in expressing their opinions. However, there are cases when the team leader must resolve conflicts among employees.

Establishing efficient communication channels between you and your team members is key if you want to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Managing and resolving conflicts is important, as hiding problems under the “rug” actually exacerbates them and intensifies the negative atmosphere in the office, which ultimately is counter-productive.

5. Discipline

Exercising discipline, first upon yourself and then, on your employees is another team management skill you need to develop if you want to become a successful leader. Conflicts often occur when members disagree because they have incompatible beliefs or attitudes.

To manage conflicts, the team leader has to gather all the necessary information about such incidents and make a decision towards resolving them in a civilized manner.

Again here, basic psychology knowledge is important in order for you to spot those incompatibilities and even prevent them from creating a problem altogether. Several team management skills training courses provide useful advice on that subject, so you might want to check that online and see how you can better yourself in that regard.

Executive management skills are important for company growth!

In this article, we discussed team leader and people management key skills you will need in order to cultivate a creative environment among your employees. Next week, we plan on diving further into the workings of teams and how to make the most of yours as a leader!