This week we've been considering team dynamics, team leadership and leadership behaviours. We all have natural preferences in our working style that we revert to, particularly when we're under pressure to simply get things done and the same applies for our leadership style.
It's important to periodically remind ourselves that we have a balance to achieve between 'task leadership' and 'relationship leadership.' Both play an important role in how we direct our teams to be successful. We need to be mindful not to over rely on our preferred way of leading and we should take opportunity to reflect on our style from time to time and adapt it, as appropriate to the needs of the task and the team.
Perhaps you find yourself to be largely task-oriented, viewing your people as a resource to get jobs done. You may spend the majority of your time setting and agreeing procedures, policies and tasks that need to be performed in order to meet certain goals or standards. Your team benefit from structure, clear direction and clear timescales. Your team hits deadlines efficiently.
Alternatively you may take a more relationship-oriented approach to team leadership, focusing on the motivation and the general well-being of your team members. You'll be putting more effort in to relationship building, and creating a positive team environment. The idea behind this is that a happy, engaged team will be at their best. Your team benefit from your open, supportive nature, with strong channels of communication and positive relationships.
Here's some ideas to help you adapt your style if you're over relying on one approach.
To use task leadership more:
Ensure your team has clear goals and a shared common purpose. Your team need to have an understanding of what they are going to achieve.
Agree SMART objectives so each individual appreciates what they are contributing to the wider goals.
Develop shared and visible plans around this work, agree timescales and monitor it as a team. Acknowledge and recognise success periodically.
To use relationship leadership more:
Use more active and regular listening. Get to know your team and talk to them about what motivates them personally.
Feedback and sharing of information will help the team to foster a culture of openness, trust and interdependence. Develop processes and behaviours to get the most out of this
Understand and appreciate each others differences and how you can play to each others strengths.
Consider how you're using your team meetings and team time. How could you structure and plan them differently to achieve the right balance between task focused work and the opportunity to build better working relationships and dynamics across your team.
For more useful advice on teams I've provided a link to a Harvard Business Review article on how to ensure more resilience in your team.
All team members must be on the same page about their roles, responsibilities, and the ways they interact with one another.