Knowledge, talent, and skill will take a person far but if you want to win, it starts with teamwork. Having a strong team directly correlates to growth, innovation, and success. By that measure, having a great leader in place is key to providing thoughtful insight, driving common goals, and executing tasks effectively. When team management is effective there are measurable outcomes that benefit all involved. A team leader should focus on promoting the best working environment to help boost collaboration, morale, and productivity. Building a great culture has a direct effect on co-worker happiness; this responsibility that lies with the team leader, and that support from leadership is the most important element of a company’s culture. Creating the environment where workers thrive means that everyone’s interest in doing the best work is at the forefront.
While work output and quality are important considerations, it is essential to keep factors such as retention and company reputation in focus. A solid reputation for a great culture will not only retain your most talented staff, but attract new valuable additions to the team. As any company CEO will tell you, the cost of replacing a team member is not just a dollar amount but also a considerable knowledge drain.
In my role as a design leader, I have found that while there is no single metric to define a great leader, instead there are approaches that build an invested and well performing team. As a manager I am most successful when I provide a clear understanding of everyone’s role, inspire a drive to achieve team and organizational goals, and provide open communication channels of unidirectional feedback. Transparency in all aspects of the department is fundamental as this avoids any miscommunications that cost time and effort. This means regularly checking in with my teammates to provide assistance, thinking, and fostering their personal growth. In my personal experience, poor communication lowers everyone’s morale and productivity, which is often reflected in the end work output and client satisfaction.
While these approaches may sound systematic, one can never lose sight of the human value in personal relationships. Knowing a coworker beyond just their skillset results in a balanced workload and being able to build on their individual goals. These relationships also help a manager to easily identify stress points, ultimately allowing them to best delegate work and build a culture where everyone feels like the MVP.