Leadership Styles

Team Leadership Training: Recipe for Leadership

Akhil Shahani asked:

Whoever believes that leaders are born and not made, never heard of team leadership training. Companies spend millions of dollars each year coaching managers to become better leaders of people. Why is team leadership training so important, and what can one hope to gain by participating in such a program?

Who needs someone breathing down one’s neck at the workplace? Employees of all organizations need their bosses to be more than mere supervisors. An effective boss is one who plays the role of mentor when required; he must “know the way, go the way and show the way”. Leaders must therefore be sensitive to the developmental needs of their subordinates and committed to mentoring them to achieve success.

A wise man once said, “A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” This is at the heart of team leadership training. Such programs use a variety of techniques to impart better personnel management skills to managers and leaders at all levels. Would-be leaders are taught the importance of understanding subordinates’ needs; they are guided on the different approaches that are appropriate in diverse people-related situations, so that they do not employ a “one size fits all” tactic. Team leadership training programs are tailored to the specific requirements of the audience – thus, a new supervisor might be introduced to the dynamics of leadership, whereas an experienced manager will be guided on how to hone his or her leadership skills.

The broad objectives of team leadership training can be set out as follows:

• To help leaders understand each employee’s distinctive personality and their need for supervision

• To train leaders to develop their subordinates into competent and committed professionals

• To equip leaders better so that they can easily take on challenges

• To align the leadership style of participants with that of the rest of the organization

This is achieved by following a scientific process along the following lines:

• Helping participants assess their leadership strengths and identify areas of improvement. Generally this involves a written self assessment exercise, discussions, and group activity.

• Guiding participants to identify the skills and attributes of an effective team leader. Participants also learn why different skills are needed to manage different employee interactions, and the appropriate style of leadership to be employed in each situation. Once the participants are able to identify their individual leadership styles, they are guided on how to make certain adjustments depending on the circumstances.

• Teaching participants best practices in managing relationships with their teams. Useful practical tips such as how and when to schedule group meetings and how to review the team’s progress are also shared.

• Helping participants identify their comfort zones, and potential sources of team conflict. The training imparts insight into how different group members make decisions, communicate with each other and process information. Leaders are taught to manage interpersonal differences for the overall benefit of the organization.

While we have generally talked about what goes on in a team leadership training seminar, such training need not necessarily be on-site – one can also access a wealth of resources in terms of books and videos at sites .

Whatever be the format, ultimately, all team leadership training aspires to create leaders who are “ … close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

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