Serving as a team leader can prove to be an immensely rewarding experience. Helping your team members apply their skills to realize a common goal is naturally invigorating.
That said, leading a team can also be difficult at times. You will encounter a number of challenges. Fortunately, if you prepare accordingly, those challenges are much less likely to get in the way of your success.
Specifically, it’s a good idea to prepare for the following potential challenges. Doing so will boost your odds of being an effective leader regardless of the circumstances.
Allowing Your Skills to Diminish
The odds are good that leading your team is by no means your only responsibility. Even as a manager, you might still have certain tasks that you need to complete on a regular basis.
The problem is, if you focus so much on developing your leadership skills, then the skills that you need to complete other tasks might start to diminish. This can result in highly stressful situations that could prevent you from leading in a positive and enthusiastic manner.
This doesn’t need to happen. You can guard against it by investing in resources to continue developing your skills. This may involve reading books, taking courses, participating in workshops, etc. Your main goal should be to simply ensure that you’re properly utilizing your skills and qualifications.
Disruption is unavoidable in virtually all industries. There will be times when industry shifts will affect the way in which your team operates.
When leaders aren’t prepared for these shifts, they may struggle to guide their teams. That said, there are ways to effectively prepare for disruption. One way is to simply maintain a focus on the company’s overall vision and values. You should, of course, also make sure that your team members share your focus.
Focusing on the company’s overall mission will enable you to more easily determine how disruption should change the way you operate. For example, in recent years, the rise of fintech has forced many traditional banks and financial service providers to change the way that they do business. Newcomers are simply offering more convenient alternatives to existing services.
Bank managers who believe their mission is to provide financial services in the exact same ways that they always have are struggling to succeed in this changing landscape. However, those who understand that their main goal is to simply provide these services as reliably and conveniently as possible have allowed themselves to reorganize their teams accordingly. Instead of relying on past tactics to remain successful, they are focused on their primary goals and are thus able to remain effective leaders regardless of disruption.
Managing Remote Teams
The way in which people work is constantly changing. For example, technology has now made remote work easier than ever. Many companies are embracing the benefits that this offers. First of all, surveys indicate that job seekers want roles that allow them to work from home at least some of the time. Second, when teams consist of remote workers, employers aren’t limited by geographic factors when making hiring decisions.
This means that there’s a good chance you’ll need to manage a remote team to at least some degree in the future. This is of course different from managing a traditional team. When you don’t share an office with your coworkers and perhaps even have different work hours, then you can’t check-in on their progress as much as you typically would.
The specific manner in which you prepare for this will depend on the way you lead a team. For instance, perhaps you’re the type of leader who understands that providing employees with regular feedback is key to sustaining engagement. In an office setting, you might provide this feedback through informal sit-downs with each team member that occur whenever is most convenient during a given week.
Arranging such random feedback sessions will be much more difficult when your team members aren’t in the office with you. Thus, you might need to adjust your leadership style and schedule longer feedback sessions for each employee at specific times each week. These should be longer than in-office sessions primarily because remote employees have fewer opportunities to ask questions and provide their own feedback. You want to make sure that you set aside time each week to address all relevant issues and concerns.
That’s simply one example. Again, you need to evaluate your management style and determine how you can modify it to successfully lead a remote team. This will also provide you with an opportunity to determine if there are general improvements you can make to your leadership style right now.
None of this is intended to discourage you. Again, although leading a team can be challenging, it can also be tremendously rewarding. That’s far more likely to occur if you prepare for key challenges ahead of time.