Keys to Effective Team Leadership

Nearly 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies use some form of team-based structures within their daily operations to help in organizing work (Magni, & Maruping, 2013). A majority of employees are involved in teamwork as a part of their daily job duties and responsibilities (Magni, & Maruping, 2013). Leaders are responsible for broadening and elevating team members’ goals as well as creating team confidence (Ishikawa, 2012). The leader is also responsible for managing team conflicts, building relationships, engaging members, and taking responsibility for projects (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014). Leaders have a considerable impact on team members’ attitudes toward their jobs, team climate, and performance (Ishikawa, 2012). Team members must learn to self-direct and execute multiple tasks concurrently (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014). A team leader should begin management by setting a meeting with team members and have them introduce themselves to one another. This will allow members to build relationships and get to know one another on a personal level and in a comfortable setting (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014). As a leader, my role would be to establish a team that can work efficiently to satisfy stakeholders, customers, and team members (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014). I would build my team based on their strengths, and past performances. Conflict in time management and task priorities can affect the task schedule (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014; Ishikawa, 2012). Without proper leadership, there could be concern of power struggle within the group as new stronger members would likely take the lead role and potentially ignore the lower status individuals’ suggestions and ideas (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014; Hoch, & Morgeson, 2014). I would need to not only manage the needs of the team, but also of the individual members.

Within a team setting, team members should be able to react effectively to unanticipated, non-routine, and unstructured situations in order to achieve team objectives (Ishikawa, 2012). To manage an effective team, the leader should create a structure that allows for good and efficient communication, shared responsibilities, and proper goal and time management. Sharing leadership task can help build trust and cooperation among team members. By sharing task, members gain strength, motivation, and encouragement (Hoch, & Morgeson, 2014; Ishikawa, 2012). Time is paramount within a team setting. Being able to overcome barriers by reacting to task, unexpected issues, and delivering positive results are essential to achieving efficient outcomes (Ishikawa, 2012).

Project teams are composed of individual team members who have varying viewpoints. This is heightened in virtual teams where members are from different locations and with different cultures, beliefs, interest, time separation, distance, and standards (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014; Ishikawa, 2012). To keep up morale for virtual team members, I would have to remain in touch on a regular basis and build rapport with team members. It would be my responsibility to motivate members via telephone calls, and video conferencing, which could help decrease member isolation (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014). When working in a virtual team, culture and diversity can affect how the team functions (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014). Leaders interacting in diverse teams will be more susceptible to volatile relationships because of potential cultural misunderstandings. This is because diverse virtual team members can hold very different assumptions about mental modes and social interaction (Ayman, & Korabik, 2010; Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014). In a virtual setting, the leader should create and manage clear goals, considering virtual team members are better led when goals and direction are clear (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014; Hoch, & Morgeson, 2014).

Virtual teams may have an issue of technology in addition to communication barriers (Balthazard, Waldman, & Warren, 2009; Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014; Ishikawa, 2012). Having strong technical skills allows the member to minimize the need of outside technical assistance. Virtual team members should have high self-esteem so that they can support themselves through motivation and limit disrupting the other team members (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014). Reaching individual goals can be daunting, so being goal oriented will allow members to motivate themselves to go above and beyond when necessary to achieve their objectives (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014). Virtual teams and projects create increased response time for demands, greater productivity, and the option to work around the clock (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014; Ishikawa, 2012). However, team members who are located more than 50 feet away from one another, have a significantly decreased frequency of communication (Ishikawa, 2012). Being near one another, creates better circumstances for team members to communicate about issues that affect projects (Balthazard, Waldman, & Warren, 2009). Communication is a significant factor in team environments considering it is essential in helping gather information (Balthazard, Waldman, & Warren, 2009; Ishikawa, 2012). To overcome barriers, the team leader should influence members to have good technical skills, high self-esteem, be goal oriented, and not be afraid of friendly debate and admitting to mistakes (Barnwell, Nedrick, Rudolph, Sesay, & Wellen, 2014).

Ayman, R., & Korabik, K. (2010). Leadership. American Psychologist, 65(3), 157-170. doi:10.1037/a0018806

Balthazard, P. A., Waldman, D. A., & Warren, J. E. (2009). Predictors of the emergence of transformational leadership in virtual decision teams. Leadership Quarterly, 20(5), 651–663. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2009.06.008

Barnwell, D., Nedrick, S., Rudolph, E., Sesay, M., & Wellen, W. (2014). Leadership of International and Virtual Project Teams. International Journal Of Global Business, 7(2), 1-8.

Hoch, J. E., & Morgeson, F. P. (2014). Vertical and shared leadership processes: Exploring team leadership dynamics. Academy Of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 1607-1612. doi:10.5465/AMBPP.2014.96

Ishikawa, J. (2012). Transformational leadership and gatekeeping leadership: The roles of norm for maintaining consensus and shared leadership in team performance. Asia Pacific Journal Of Management, 29(2), 265-283. doi:10.1007/s10490-012-9282-z

Magni, M., & Maruping, L. M. (2013). Sink or Swim: Empowering Leadership and Overload in Teams’ Ability to Deal with the Unexpected. Human Resource Management, 52(5), 715-739. doi:10.1002/hrm.21561