Best Practices for First-time Team Leaders

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Are you starting your first day as the head of a team? If you haven’t had prior experience managing others, you will most likely be a little nervous about taking the lead. You may even have a bit of an imposter syndrome. However, you should remember that you were chosen to lead for a reason.

A big part of being a team leader is creating habits that benefit you and the rest of the team. Some of the best leaders have managed to make the most of their team and situation. This starts with the practices that you do every day. By creating good habits and traits, you set yourself up for success. To help you make the first step, considering doing these things.

Learn from your teammates

Just because you are a leader, it does not mean that you are the only person in the right. Part of leading involves learning about their strengths and using it to achieve a common goal. Oftentimes, teams are composed of people with highly specialized skills and experiences. It’s not uncommon for some team members to be more knowledgeable about certain aspects of a job than the leader.

When you start as the head, make sure that you keep an open mind to others’ suggestions. Not only does this improve overall productivity, but it also establishes good connections with the team. This then translates to more engagement and better performance.

In this sense, the team leader’s job becomes less about ordering people around and more about guiding everyone to a common goal. By understanding everyone’s skill level and knowledge, you can maximize each person and achieve results.

Make yourself presentable

As a leader, you need to appear composed to reassure your team. There will be times that you will be representing the team, so it’s best to maintain your appearance. Be mindful of how you present yourself to your team. Make sure that your clothes are always clean, and you look like someone reliable.

You can step up your appearance by following a good skincare routine. Regularly cleaning your teeth with a dentist can also benefit you. Leaders that look polished are taken more seriously and are respected more by their colleagues.

Another benefit of looking clean is to show that you are confident and collected despite the stress of work. It shows that you can still stay on top of things despite the challenges you are facing. When your teammates see this, they feel comforted because they see that their leader is unaffected.

Face challenges head-on

Team leaders are always the ones to make hard choices. However, you must remain strong and work to overcome the challenges ahead of you. The best leaders are those that can thrive despite the pressure and lead their team to success.

As the one managing everyone, you should not be afraid of taking risks. This shows that you are confident in yourself and the skill of the team behind you. If the others see you constantly hesitating, they lose faith in you and get anxious themselves.

However, you also have to remember to choose your battles. Consider if the situation is just a barrier that can open up to new skills or a doomed project to fail from the start. It’s important to be realistic with the goals and avoid overworking your team with impossible tasks.

Motivate your team

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Statistics show that uninspiring leaders have a 93 percent chance of receiving low ratings. This often leads to low productivity and high turnover rates because they lose faith in their leader’s ability. Leaders need to find ways to motivate their team and keep their spirits up. Low morale can be infectious and can sour the entire team’s mood.

One thing that you can do is be positive and praise them for good work. Nobody wants to feel that they are just being used for their skills. Praise and encouragement will make them feel more appreciated.

Surveys say that employees who feel valued have overall more engagement, satisfaction, and motivation. This will greatly help you in accomplishing projects and meeting quotas. It will also make them physically and mentally healthier, which then turns into more efficient work. You should be able to look out for your team’s well-being because sick days cause delays in the workflow.

The most important thing about being a team leader is remembering that you are part of a group. It’s not a one-person team, and you are not the only person working. Make sure that the rest of your subordinates feel equally fulfilled and motivated.

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