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Key team leader skills and qualities allow leaders to build the essential elements of high-performing teams.


Which crucial qualities and skills are key to being a great team leader?

The answer, we believe, lies in what we know about what makes a high-performing team.

Crucial skills and qualities for a team leader are those that allow her to contribute to building a high-performing team, period.

Now here is the really good news: all these skills can be learned, all these qualities can be trained. While there may be a factor of inherent talent - the gifts bestowed upon all of us in some uneven measure - the practice of leading teams is not some secret craft that can’t be observed, reflected upon, and learned.


Effective team leadership: the best team leaders master these six key team leader skills and qualities

Here are the key qualities and team leader skills that team leader trainings and coachings should focus on to develop great team leaders:

  1. Team leaders have the skills to lead conversations with their teams about the overall purpose of the team, about specific performance goals, and about how the two are related.

  2. Team leaders manage to assess the capabilities and the capacity of their teams. They can develop (and execute) strategies to develop capabilities and capacity in line with the team’s purpose and goals.

  3. Team leaders display the qualities required to instill shared leadership and a sense of mutual accountability within their teams. They have the skills to play their formal team leader role in a way that the team essentially leads itself. The qualities of a team leader and of a team player are essentially the same.

  4. Team leaders master the skill of effectively developing and upholding rules for the team - both formal boundaries and informal behavioral rules. They model the according behaviors and help others to make them part of the team’s shared leadership interactions.

  5. Team leaders understand and shape effective team communication patterns; they build and maintain relationships with their team members and between team members as a basis for trustful collaboration.

  6. Team leaders master the skill of moderating tension in the interest of advancing the team’s purpose. They can understand team conflicts and have the nerves and can establish routines to manage those conflicts productively.

A good team leader can acquire and master these skills.

And in turn, the knowledge required by a team leader comprises an understanding of the six dimensions discussed above, allowing the leader to focus their own development work accordingly. This holds true for any type of team leader: whether you are a technical lead, a squad leader, a functional leader, or an HR team leader, the basics of leadership and teamwork skills are never really different.


Lead your team to success