Taking your team to the next level

Leadership goes beyond managing and requires a different skillset. Successful leadership involves engaging your team in your vision and inspiring them to give the very best of themselves. It’s about influencing rather than controlling outcomes. I hope the seven questions that follow will give you some food for thought on your leadership style and how you can take your team to the next level. I suggest you reflect on the seven questions and give yourself a score out of ten for each one. Next, rank them from strongest to weakest and discuss the results with a colleague or coach to determine what actions will take the least effort and have the biggest impact on team performance.

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How would you rate your Team Culture?

Visualise your team in your mind’s eye. How are the team positioned relative to each other? Are they a team or a collection of individuals? Are they excited to be together or would they rather be somewhere else? What is the mindset of the team? What is their attitude to you as leader? What is your attitude to them?
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Are there clear and fair accountabilities on the team?

How is the workload distributed amongst the team? Who is accountable for what? Who is under-utilised? Who is carrying more than their share? Who delivers? Who isn’t delivering? What are the reasons for this? Are you getting the best out of everyone? In your team, who focuses on individual delivery and who focuses on team delivery?
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How well do you communicate with your team?

Do you consult with your team before making decisions? Do they have a say in how things are done? Or do you present them with a fait accompli? Are you as leader transparent as to why decisions are made? How does the team feel about communication from you and senior leadership? Do they feel heard? Do they feel like they have influence?
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How well do your team communicate with you?

How much input do you get from your team? How often do you check in with them about how they are getting on with tasks or projects or other team members? Can you rely on them to speak openly and honestly about their experience? Do you take what the team say at face value or do you listen to them on a deeper level? What are their physical cues to indicate that what they think might not be in alignment with what they say? What physical cues reinforce what they are saying?
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How open are you with your team about your own challenges?

What are you modelling for your team? Are you supporting a culture of open and honest communication, where team members can look to each other for input when they hit a bump in the road? Or are you supporting a culture of individualism, where everyone needs to have everything under control and will hide any evidence to the contrary?
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How do you celebrate success with your team?

Do you celebrate progress on goals? Or does the celebration happen at the end, when you are over the finish line? Do you take time out to celebrate individuals, whether one-on-one or with the whole team? How do you celebrate team success? How do you define success? How do your team define success? Do you celebrate risk-taking on your team? Do you celebrate failure as an opportunity to learn and get a better result next time?
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How do you rate yourself as team leader?

How do you evaluate your own performance? Do you ask for feedback? From whom? Do you get feedback from peers and reports or simply from those higher up in the food chain? Are you open to feedback when you do receive it? What do you do with it?