In an effective team, each member knows their role thoroughly. While having their own strengths, they must also contribute to the “togetherness” of the team. It is the role of either team leader or senior manager to see that this happens. 

Assessing Leadership Qualities

All leaders need strong personality traits to influence and function. Some if these attributes are internal, such as vision, but they always have to be complemented by external qualities, such as high visibility, to produce the utmost from team members.  A team member needs to be both facilitator and inspirer – business team depends upon its leader to provide it with the facility to make decisions and the support to grow.

Leading a Team

The performance of any team depends on the quality of its collective thinking. How good are its decisions? This reflects the quality of its decision-making processes.  The leader should strive to achieve a positive atmosphere, free from rigidity and envy, in which people compete with ideas – not egos.  Team work does not function if the leader consistently puts forward ideas before others have had the chance to speak. In the classic Japanese method, the leader listens silently until every team member has expressed an opinion before making the decision for the whole team.  A true team leader will facilitate, inspire, and implement rather than control.

Understanding Leadership Functions

The main task and function of a leader is to achieve the goals of the team. If you are a team leader, ensure that the team goals are achieved via these processes.

  • Planning roles to be filled, and selecting appropriate individuals;
  • Leading the team in meetings, starting with a discussion of team objectives and values;
  • That targets are met and that values – above all, the values of working collectively – are observed by the team.
  • Analyzing and correcting failures swiftly and surely – but always remembering  to accelerate the successes just as enthusiastically;
  • Carrying the responsibility of representing the team loyally to others, both inside and outside the organization.

Considering Roles

For a team to function most efficiently there are several key roles that should be filled. These include co-ordination, ideas person, critic, external contact, implementer, team leader, and inspector.  It is useful to bear these roles in mind when you are considering candidates for team membership, although you should also look for people with the ability to perform the specific tasks on which your team’s operations depend.  Never forget that the most important function of a team is to achieve the objective of the task in hand. Remember, too, that a friendly and open personality, and the ability and willingness to work with a group of people, are indispensable characteristics for a team player.

Dividing up Roles

It does not make sense to fit people into a strait-jacket. You may find a perfectly equipped external contact or critic, you may not. Try to match roles to personality rather than attempting to shoehorn the personality into the role.  It is not necessary for each person to perform only one function. If the team has only a small number of members, doubling or trebling up the roles is fine – as long as all the needs of the team are truly covered and the members feel comfortable with their roles.



Finds new team members and develops the team working spirit.

  • Excellent judge of the talents and personalities of individuals within the teams. 
  • Adept at finding ways of overcoming weaknesses.
  • Is a first-class two-way communicator.
  • Good at inspiring and sustaining enthusiasm.

Guardian and analyst of the team’s long-term effectiveness.

  • Never satisfied with less than the best solution.
  • Expert at analyzing solutions to find the possible weaknesses within them.
  • Merciless in insisting that faults be corrected.
  • Constructive in pointing way to possible remedies.

Ensures the momentum and smooth-running of the team’s actions.

  • A born time-tabler who thinks methodically.
  • Anticipates threatening delays in schedule in time for them to be prevented.
  • Has a “can-do” mentality and loves to fix things.
  • Able to rally support and overcome defeatism.

Looks after the team’s external relationships..

  • Diplomatic and good judge of the needs of others.
  • Has a reassuring, and authoritative presence.
  • Has an effective grasp of the overall picture of the team’s work.
  • Discreet when handling confidential information.

Pulls together the work of the team as a whole into a cohesive plan.

  • Understands how difficult tasks interrelate.
  • Has a strong sense of priorities.
  • Has a mind able to grasp several things at once.
  • Good at maintaining internal contacts.
  • Skilled at heading off potential trouble.

Sustains and encourages the team’s innovative vitality and energy.

  • Enthusiastic and lively, with a zest for new ideas.
  • Eager for and receptive to the ideas of others.
  • Sees problems as opportunities for successful innovation, rather than as disasters.
  • Never at a loss for hopeful suggestion.

Ensures that high standards are sought and maintained.

  • Strict, and sometimes even pedantic  in enforcing  rigorous  standards within the team
  • Good judge of the performance of other people.
  • Unhesitating in bringing problems to the surface.
  • Able to praise as well as to find fault.


  1. Always choose leaders on merit, regardless of other consideration.
  2. Look for a strong team commitment from a leader.
  3. Always reward merit, but never let errors go unremarked 

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