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Teamwork plays a quintessential role in any organization, be it at a higher management or at the executive level. Being a team leader, whether chosen or elected, is a tough job - managing people with different mind sets and goals, as well as, getting everybody to work together.

According to Mary Shapiro, author of HBR Guide to Leading Teams, the first step to managing a team effectively is by:

  1. Knowing team members.

  • Although work is important but knowing your team’s strengths and weakness first will actually lead to better outcomes eventually.

  • Having lunch with them, sharing experiences and laughter builds bonds and team spirit.

  1. Show the team what you stand for.

  • Use your experience to engage your team and talk to them about what the goals to be achieved.

  • Team members would like to know how would you define success.

  • By setting goals, your team or teams can strategize better, complete critical tasks and produce optimum results

  1. After you define success, explain to your team how you would like them to work.

  • A successful team leader must dedicate the time to teach new members the ropes and not leave it to senior members.

  • Assigning seniors to teach is a good idea when being inclusive. However, be specific when letting seniors know what is expected from training new members by the end of the day.

  1. Problem Solving.

  • Be prepared to face problems, as no matter how secure and full-proof team strategies are, problems will occur. It is important to note that problems can be both good and bad. Each problem needs to be addressed differently. Remember your team looks to you for guidance, so always get to the root of the problem, whether by swift tactical manoeuvres or change of strategy. Ask your team members for their opinions and discuss with them to on the remedy. Ensure everybody understands what is required to be done and appreciate them for their feedback.

To be an effective leader, remember:

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

-Douglas McArthur

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