How important is the role of a team leader? The commitment of the team leader must precede the commitment of those who choose to follow. John Maxwell put it this way, “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” Therefore, personal leadership development must become a priority before others follow.
Values of a Team Leader
The value that the leader places upon the cause is essential for successful team development. “Most leaders do not hold back because they do not know how to lead, but because they wonder if the vision will continue to be important to them.”1
The major issue for long-term leadership is not talent but rather the issue of importance. The struggle that many team leaders deal with is their personal commitment. This statement brings up the issue of dedication. Is the investment worth the leader’s time and participation?
Dreams and Visions of a Team Leader
Dreams and visions for any organization are frequently never realized because of short term investing and a narrow view of what is in the future. The fact that a leader does not have a dream will become obvious to those whom he is trying to lead. Dreams take time to develop.
The Energy of a Team Leader
One of the primary functions of a leader is to create energy. Another area of influence by a committed leader is that of energizing those with whom he works. If team leaders do not instill in people constructive energy, then there is a strong indication that leadership is not taking place.2
The Stability of a Team Leader
Stability in a leadership structure is extremely important, so the changing of leadership among teams could cause problems for any organization. Thus, the tenure of team leaders or the lack of tenure can also be connected to the successes or problems of organizations.3
Sharing Authority as a Team Leader
When teams are created, developed and used, it is essential that team managers give team members enough authority to work and manage their processes.
This allowance should increase as the team matures and gains confidence in their tasks.4 If a leader does not allow his authority and leadership to convey confidence to those he is leading, then the results will be negative. When overpowering authority or leadership intervenes in a team, it can affect the team by
- throwing the team off track,
- decreasing the motivation of the team,
- reducing the commitment of the team members, and
- causing more problems than solutions.5
The Influence of a Team Leader
The healthiest way for a team leader to persuade those he is trying to direct is through his or her influence. The development of influence takes time.
“Classical sociological theory asserts that authority exists only when directives occur. Voluntary compliance depends on the perception by subordinates that those who issue directives are acting within their rights that the initiation of action is legitimate.”6
When a team leader of an organization intervenes negatively or in a micro-managing fashion over the development of a team, the effects of such intervention can be quite destructive.7
- Geoffrey M. Bellman, Getting Things Done When You are Not in Charge (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1992), 18.
- Geoffrey M. Bellman, Getting Things Done When You are Not in Charge, 19.
- J. Richard Hackman, ed., Groups That Work (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1990), 485.
- J. Richard Hackman, ed., Groups That Work, 485.
- J. Richard Hackman, ed., Groups That Work, 486-487.
- Gene W. Dalton, Louis B. Barnes, and Abraham Zaleznik, The Distribution of Authority in Formal Organizations (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1968), 37.
- J. Richard Hackman, ed., Groups That Work,