How Does Leadership Impact Team Performance?
If the first component of team performance is the members, the very second is the leader
If you’re aware of today’s corporate and startup-like business climate, then you are probably familiar with the concepts of leadership and team performance. In a company, those two aspects shape much of the enterprise’s structure and mainly defines the successful outcome of pretty much every project.
We often hear about the efficiency of this amalgam — if a company has a dazzling team of experts and a leader, the chances are it will drastically improve its chances for long-term success. At first, you may be wondering what advantages a team has in comparison to individual work — a possible answer can lead us to the pandemic, which showed us just how much we value human interaction and mutual work.
Of course, being part of a team doesn’t erase an employee’s individuality. Quite on the contrary, if managed right, it even can enhance it and showcase everybody’s strengths.
On the other hand, we have the leader whose main goal is to keep the team together and focused on one certain goal at a time. Usually, we are referring to the successful outcome of a current project. Ultimately, we end with team performance.
In today’s article, I’d like to share with you my views on the relationship between a leader and their team and why there are strong pieces of evidence that this relationship further improves the team’s performance.
In a business setting, what does a team represent?
Even though there are people who certainly define themselves as solo players, the majority of individuals strive in a group of other like-minded peers. Also, there are instances when a person used to prefer going solo only to soon experience a change of heart and transfer to a team setting. But why?
Being in a team is quite a dazzling experience. A positive working environment can enhance everyone’s mood, as well as further boost their motivation and work-related inspiration.
When a person works solo, they have the chance to fully coordinate and distribute their workload which, especially in the early stages, can feel like a breath of fresh air. But reality shows that frequently when a person is working mainly alone they tend to lose focus and eagerness to keep up the good work.
In a team, people are gathered by a mutual goal and oftentimes they share the same core values, virtues, and aspirations. It’s the team spirit that, essentially, manages to bring people together and help them get back on track even when they seem to have lost their professional way. Through discussions, communication, and shared teamwork, the employees can individually improve their skills and abilities; they can share experiences and even educate one another on specific topics.
If a team is well-structured and thriving in a positive environment, it will certainly enhance its performance.
But there is another missing ingredient to the equation that leads to professional success — essentially, that’s the leader in charge.
The leader and the leadership — the much-needed ingredient for a dazzling team performance
As much as people in a team are like-minded, motivated, and inspired by the same goals, they ultimately need a role model, a figure that manages to keep them together even in the hardest of times.
Of course, that’s the figure of the leader. In a team, it’s the leader who carries the biggest of responsibilities and it’s them who must try everything in their power to bring the best out of each employee to the surface.
In a nutshell, a leader’s job is to combine each individual’s strengths and the whole group’s strengths in order to reach a certain objective.
It’s up to them to carefully observe each member of the team and to pay close attention to what they are best at. In a team, usually, there are people with a majority of talents and capabilities. What a leader should do is distribute the workload in a way that allows every member of the team to showcase their best skills. Essentially, that’s a great formula when it comes to the execution and success of projects.
Other than that, outside of project scenarios, the leader should engage the team in additional education and skills improvement. This way they can ensure constant development and even more opportunities both for the team and the company in future project experiences.
Leadership is more interconnected with influence than most people expect
There is a reason why many people call leaders role models.
In a team setting, the members feel guided and supported by their leader. They are often influenced by their approach to work, manner of speaking, attitude toward people, and overall work ethic.
This is why the leader must be the best role model possible — if they manage to gain the respect and trust of the team, there’s a high chance people will look up to them. Along with all the professional responsibilities, this adds up to a great deal of personal responsibility as well.
If I have to list the most important leadership skills that successfully shape the figure of the leader, I’d choose the following:
- openness to communication and different opinions
- a sense of team spirit and skills that help in building one
- adequacy and patience in various turbulent and dynamic scenarios
- natural charisma and easygoingness
- willingness to offer and accept feedback
- ability to distribute the workload adequately, having in mind each team member’s strengths and work ethic
- working as hard as the team to inspire them and serve as an example
Together the leader and the team succeed in team performance
In today’s business climate, team performance is key when it comes to a company’s success. The majority of enterprises are indeed structured by teams so it’s the next logical step for everyone to aim at the best performance possible.
So to speak, a team is performing well whenever it manages to meet its KPIs and ends up finishing a project successfully. Of course, the path that leads to this goal is rarely an easy one — usually, the leader and the team go to great lengths to score.
But what matters most is the working environment. That’s why the team needs someone to help its members stick together and constantly elevate their motivation.
There are times when quarrels and issues emerge in a working environment — in times like these, the leader needs to step in and help the team solve whatever problems they might be facing. There can also be work-related matters that require the leader’s immediate attention — client queries, misunderstandings in work distribution, etc.
A leader can also think of various types of team building activities whose goal would be to close the gap between the members — we all know that every individual is a whole universe and sometimes the best teamwork comes from a friendly environment and people who ultimately get along and know each other well.
Also, whenever a team member feels a sense of belonging to a group or a leader, they are more likely to aim high at achieving goals and implementing skills and hard work. Essentially, that’s another important asset of team performance — it elevates each individual’s motivation and sense of worth in the company of others.
In contrast with popular belief, being part of a team doesn’t mean a member would lose their individuality. Quite on the contrary — with the help of the leader and other team members, anyone can be cherished for who they are and would serve as a great asset for the team in general.
Team performance is the very crucial step right from the beginning of a project to its finalization. What matters is how the work’s been distributed and, of course, executed. The leader can successfully navigate through the whole work project and help the team build a positive environment. In this day and age, when mutual work is cherished more than ever, we need a leader, a role model who can unite the team and enhance their best skills and abilities.