A leader who is interested in performance outcomes that have to do with job satisfaction, good work environment, and productive collaborations will seek to be the kind of leader that fosters a culture of teamwork. Yet it is not always easy to balance leadership with skills in teamwork.
The traditional approach to leadership relies heavily on status and positionality, where submission to a superior is the determining factor in why people complete tasks assigned to them. Leaders who persuade others through their charisma, or who model positive characteristics which others aspire to be are more effective than leaders who merely rely on their position of superiority to achieve an outcome. A leader who understands teamwork skills can cultivate a culture of “team”, and allow the team insight into a common vision and a set of shared values. This kind of leader brings people into the heart of the work, and gives them the means to achieve success gladly. This kind of leader allows transparent process, which means that there is always communication about how things are going, and each person can answer the question, “How can things be improved?”
How can a leader combine leadership skills and teamwork skills to establish a culture of teamwork? Through using the soft skills of leadership, inspiring vision, and including others in the process.
Soft Skills of Leadership
Although a leader should have a complete set of leadership skills, some have to do with organizational skills, some with experience, and some with communication skills. Some also have to do with a set of skills which are harder to define. A person may look up to her leader and say such things as, “He’s so authentic,” or “I feel I could really trust him in an emergency situation,” or “He is just someone you want to be around.” These are all statements which reflect a leader’s soft skills. A good leader has integrity, passion, confidence, optimism, and cool. And each of these soft skills can be developed further through fostering a culture of teamwork.
A leader can express honesty through how he gives feedback to team members. A leader can foster openness through maintaining open lines of communication, and through being authentic. A leader can cultivate a culture of consistency by establishing roles and expectations. A leader can establish respect by being non-judgemental, and constructive during active listening and negotiations. Each of these soft skills of leadership are best expressed during these moments of practicing good teamwork skills. To understand the communication needed for good teamwork skills, read our previous blog post about teamwork.
Big-picture thinking is necessary for a leader in making many administrative decisions, whether it be about the future, or the current plans of action or connections of the team. Inspiring a vision and the goals which come from that can allow a leader to share the passion and direction of the company. Big-picture thinking includes roles team members play, ways they communicate, and cultivating a culture of respectful honesty and openness, and consistency.
Seeing those you are in leadership over as a team, inspires all to take charge of their part of making it all work. Including others in the process means allowing others to see what each person really does, and to imagine themselves in another’s shoes. This fosters a culture of teamwork, and makes for a much more trustworthy leader.