Creating A Team Of Leaders

Gone are the days where one senior person is deemed exclusive leader of a team. This old paradigm only sets a team in backward motion, allowing for many missed opportunities from the rest of the team members.

When I asked managers in a recent leadership workshop what are the benefits of including all the team community in their strategizing process, some important positives emerged:

  • Front-line people hear the real concerns of the customers
  • Different members bring complementary skills
  • When suggestions made by individuals on the team are considered during problem solving and decision-making , there is greater support for the outcome
  • Learning how to present critical findings is a great way to grow future leaders
  • Another interesting part of leading is that the leadership role is often very fluid. That means that oftentimes on teams an informal member becomes the leader when their particular talents are needed. There is a fascinating team building exercise I often use that asks groups of people to form five equal squares with mixed-up puzzle pieces. During the activity, the role of leader often changes depending on who has a better idea of which pieces to use. The team that usually completes the squares first had many different leaders. By the way, no talking is allowed either.

    How can a team empower its members to be leaders?

    Commit to everyone leading

    Before embarking on a true collaborative leadership approach, have the team meet and brainstorm the benefits of each person leading. Why will the team be stronger when members are encouraged to share their opinions and insights? How will the team be in a more competitive position with front-line members being open about what is actually happening with customers?

    When teams share leadership roles, they capitalize on everyone’s contributions.

    Get to know each other’s strengths

    Teams are chock full of different talent and capabilities. Look around and take stock of what each member excels at . Also identify the kinds of projects and tasks each team member really enjoys doing. Although we can’t always choose the projects we prefer, it can be helpful having an understanding of what type of assignments each person gains the most satisfaction.

    Stack the team with many different talents

    There is nothing more impactful for a project than to have the necessary skills needed to tackle the different pieces. For teams to do that well means having members with some of these complementary skills:

  • Analytical
  • Quantitative
  • Clear communicators
  • Research gurus
  • Presenters
  • Facilitators
  • Practice communicating perspectives

    Not only do teams need opposing opinions, they also need the tools to share their information in a helpful and clear manner. The best way to present ideas and updates is by being an assertive communicator . When we are assertive communicators, we express our wants, needs, and opinions in a clear and open way, while being respectful of other team member’s points of view. By speaking in a genuine way we create a transparent workplace where teams interact professionally and with concern for one another. By being a champion of assertive communication, we are empowering each team member to be a leader.

    Leading with assertive communication creates transparency on teams.

    How have you created a team of leaders? How do you make sure each team member has a voice and leads?