A team leader is one who is expected to lead and guide a group of individuals to achieve an objective which has been articulated. The team leader monitors the performance of the team in both qualitative and quantitative terms (Dubrin, 2010). The team leader is expected to motivate the team members and ensure that the group dynamics remain healthy. This will ensure that the team performs well and achieve its set objectives (Maddux and Wingfield, 2003). A leader must always explore how to increase the productivity of the team under his charge. One way in which this can be done is to build and empower the team members so that each member makes maximum contribution to team work.
The Role of Team Building and Empowerment
Employee empowerment involves allowing employees the opportunity to take definitive actions and make decisions (Ammeter and Dukerich, 2002). Employee empowerment means that the leader actively solicits contributions from the team members and takes their contributions seriously (Dubrin, 2010). This enables the employee to be able to grow as an individual and as a professional. Studies show that when leaders make efforts to empower their employees, and showing an employee that his or her input is valuable; the leader is able to motivate the team member to perform better (Dubrin, 2010). An example of employee empowerment is when the team leader assigns each member responsibility of a certain aspect of a project. The leader assumes a role which is supervisory over the team members (Maddux and Wingfield, 2003).
Team building also increases the levels of motivation among team members. Team building improves the interpersonal relationships among the team members. Each member must be encouraged to create work relationships which will facilitate and enhance their ability to work together (Ammeter and Dukerich, 2002). Team building activities may involve various activities including deliberate enhancements; assessments which will evaluate the team’s progress; and focusing on efforts which will bring out the strengths and downplays the weaknesses of the team.
The team leader must first carry out a profiling exercise where he will assess the team’s position in terms of cohesiveness (Dubrin, 2010). The leader should then be able to identify areas which need to be improved to build the team based on this profile. The team leader should then explore which actions or exercises would be necessary to address the issues which have been identified. In addition, specific methods which would evaluate the success of the exercises must be put in place (Dubrin, 2010).
When employees are motivated and work cohesively in teams they are able to achieve the performance goals set out for them. The successful leader is one who understands why having a cohesive and motivated team works towards the team’s success (Ammeter and Dukerich, 2002). When the team leader empowers the team by assigning responsibilities, the members feel valued and trusted and therefore are more likely to take personal responsibility for the project. Motivated team members also possess enthusiasm for their responsibilities making them more effective. The team leader should strive to ensure that the team members to work well and enthusiastically; because the team’s success indicates good skills in leadership.
Ammeter, A. P., & Dukerich, J. M. (2002). Leadership, team building, and team member characteristics in high performance project teams. Engineering Management Journal, 14(4), 3-3-10. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/208987019?accountid=45049
DuBrin, A.J. (2010). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills. (6th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning )
Maddux R. & Wingfield B. (2003). Team Building: an Exercise in Leadership. US: Crisp Publications Inc