Every individual might have essayed the role of a leader in childhood to complete some gaming mission or led a group of students in school during some competition. It might have made your parents heart swell with pride. In the same way, as you moved up the positions in your organization, the resume would have included of the usually common bullet 'Experience in handling a team of x number and demonstrated leadership abilities'. This is actually a common phrase present in the job descriptions. Leadership skills are something that we all believe we have. However, what does it exactly mean? What does an employer seek in a team leader? What are the things that make a team leader apart from other employees? For recent graduates who are trying to step into a job, or who have been toiling in the workforce since years, here is a brief about leadership skills that an employer looks for.
As a team leader, it is expected that you succinctly convey the specific tasks and clients' requirements to your team. To ensure this, a leader must first be able to understand clients' demands and then decide which team member should be entrusted with the tasks. Team leaders must always keep their doors open and encourage a free flow of communication right from the beginning of the project. A good leader is a pro in all forms of communication – staff, departmental, one-on-one or via email and mobile. It persuades the employees to discuss their concerns freely.
Ability to motivate others
A leader with a positive mindset can motivate his team howsoever challenging the situation might be. A person who can keep his calm when the project's 10-hour deadline is abruptly reduced to 5-hour and plan proper execution steps, has all what it takes to be a leader. Such an individual would not panic in any conditions and motivate the team to complete tasks on time. Not only does he has a better understanding and good judgment of how to accomplish the project, but also possesses a positive energy which is essential to get any task done.
Leaders who just sit back and send out strict orders to get things done are usually despised by the employees. When the times are crucial and a project is on a critical deadline, a good leader not only delegates the tasks amongst the employees, but also brings out the best in them. He is aware of every team member's skill set and usually takes the first step to overcome the challenges and encourages his team to follow. Employers are always on the look out for leaders who hone risk taking abilities as well as bring a range of fresh perspectives to the organization.
Commitment towards decisions
A person who steps into the shoes of a leader would be tested at every moment. There might be times when your thinking process would be completely opposite to the senior-level employees or you might have to take a last-minute decision without consulting them. In such a situation, they might even frown at you or express sheer disapproval openly. It is necessary to remember that a good leader is one who has quick decision-making abilities and the strength to stand by them even if it means dire consequences. Whether it is minor client's suggestions before closing a project or throwing a party for your team for their hard work, you need to stick to your words.
Perseverance under pressure
A team leader is responsible for both success and failure of the team. Last minute mishaps are common at the workplace. A module that was executing well until yesterday may break down suddenly. What is your reaction at the first place? Does this have a negative impact on you, or you are able to stand firm and take appropriate steps to resolve the issue? Competition and the urge to strive for the best are very high between different organizations working on similar projects in any domain. It is at this time that a leader's ability to work under pressure is tested.
Working in the role of a team leader is no easy task. There would be days when productivity is on the high, and you get desired results, as well as days when a leader needs to be flexible enough to gain trust of the team members. To be a strong team leader you need not be the most popular kid in your block. Just have the above traits that inspire others to work towards a common goal and get assured benefits to the organization.