How to Be an Effective Team Leader

It has nothing to do with a cheesy poster on the wall

Mitch Ditkoff

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On planet Earth, there are millions of teams. They are everywhere — in schools, businesses, communities, sports, organizations, armies, religions, and jails. If you are reading this, it is very likely that you are either a member of a team or a leader of a team.

Some of the teams you belong to are achieving their goals. Some are not. In either case, there is a 95% chance that somebody is playing the role of leader, captain, coach, coordinator, or director. You know, the person where the buck supposedly stops.

While there are thousands of books on the subject, very few people have the time or desire to read even one of these books. And, even if they did, reading a book doesn’t guarantee success. Because, in the end, the reader of even the best book on team leadership will need to translate what they read into action.

The reality is this: very few team leaders understand what it really means to be a team leader and how to be a team leader — especially those who have been drafted into the position by someone further up the food chain.

And so, to save you a ridiculous amount of time and the illusion that there is some kind of formula or roadmap to ensure team success (there isn’t), I’m offering you 12 simple principles, insights, and best practices to noodle on. Ingredients, if you will, in the big soup of teamwork.

What follows is not theory. Nor is it fairy dust, pep talks, hype, or consultant-speak. Nope. None of that stuff. Instead, it’s the distillation of what I’ve learned (and am learning) from the past 33 years of consulting with these organizations in 11 different countries. Street smarts. In the trenches stuff. Practical takeaways you can use, starting right now. Take what you can. Leave the rest. And don’t forget to wash your hands.

1. Clarify, Communicate, and Reinforce Your Team’s Mission: Unless team members understand the purpose/goal of the team, they will never become a team. A group? Maybe. A club? Possible. A loose affiliation of people being…

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Mitch Ditkoff

Co-Founder of Idea Champions, Face The Music & Sage Catalysts. Author of Storytelling for the Revolution, Storytelling at Work, Unspoken Word and Free the Genie