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A Summary of the Qualifications of a Team Leader

by Naomi Millburn

Being a team leader can be exciting and fulfilling. The role isn't for everyone, though. Some people work better when they're in charge of paving the way. To be a strong team leader, you need to possess the right qualifications.

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If you lead a team, your job is to encourage the rest of the group, both in attitude and in work ethic. If you can't be excited and eager about the tasks at hand, you can't really be surprised if the rest of the people you're working with aren't, either. A leader has to have a genuine zest for his goals. If he would rather be doing something else, then he's probably not the most appropriate leadership candidate. A leader is, in many ways, a role model to his teammates.

Truthfulness

A team leader is the ultimate group worker. When you work closely alongside people, you need to be truthful and candid. If you're a leader and your teammates sense you're not always forthright with them, they probably won't feel the need to be forthright with you. Without a strong backbone of truthfulness, a team cannot function effectively. If your teammates feel you're a person of your word, they will be able to trust you. Trust encourages a healthy, straightforward working environment devoid of uncertainty and confusion. Trust is the foundation of strong communication -- one of the keys to successful teamwork.

Upbeat Outlook

A strong team leader is someone who is able to maintain a cool, can-do outlook even in the middle of adversity. Challenges are just a natural part of trying to get things done. The goal is to always stay focused, upbeat and calm, even when things are their most complex or frustrating. If a team leader feels uncertain and gloomy about the objectives, her teammates will probably react by feeling the same way. This can be a big problem for both morale and team productivity. People gravitate to self-assured leaders.

Management Skills

Strong management skills are a team-leader must. The job of a leader centers heavily around coordinating teams. Whether you're assigning tasks to certain individuals or arranging group meetings, you have to always be on the ball. If you're a scatterbrained type, you're probably not qualified to lead a team. The last thing you want is to forget to tell half of your team about the week's upcoming brainstorming session or project deadlines.

Good Instincts

A lot of leading a team effectively is about the ability to quickly make good decisions. When you're in charge of a team, you do have the assistance of your teammates, but a lot of the choices you make are ultimately up to you. This can cause a lot of pressure because not only do your choices affect yourself, they also affect the rest of your group. As a leader, you need strong instincts that can help steer you in the right direction to success. The ability to make decisions in time-sensitive situations that arise quickly is also crucial.

Willingness to Adapt

Stubbornness is the enemy to leading a team properly. When you're a leader, you need to have the clarity to periodically analyze yourself and the actions of your teammates. If you realize that something just isn't up to par, you need to have the willingness to do something about it. Resistance to adjustment stunts team improvement and growth.

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