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How to Be a Team Leader

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs — the stories of many successful leaders, past and present, demonstrate inspirational, effective leadership. Specifically, many great leaders are known for fostering a collaborative environment that spurs innovation and productivity. Chances are you personally know someone who has the ability to create and lead a great team. While great leaders have a lot more than team-building skills going for them, part of their greatness is their uncanny talent for getting people to contribute their best selves to a common goal.

We don’t all need to be visionaries and geniuses in our field to be great leaders. Virtually all leaders have flaws or struggle to find their authentic leadership style. Perhaps the most crucial part of being a great team leader is striving to continuously improve and learn how to be more impactful in leadership roles. Studying leadership in an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Management program can provide an excellent path toward this goal.

Degree programs like Lamar University’s online MBA in Management can teach aspiring leaders the essential components of team leadership and develop the skills needed to excel in leadership roles. Below are three essential steps toward becoming a team leader that working professionals can learn about in an online MBA in Management program.

Step #1: Understand the Role of Teamwork

The first step is recognizing the importance of teamwork in business. You can have a company full of all-star players. But a team of all-stars can’t achieve much unless a coach draws them together to work as a team. One player can’t carry a team. That’s not a strategy for success.

How do we know teamwork is important? Research shows that teamwork is essential to a high-functioning organization. In some cases, it’s more vital than the individual skill sets of the team members. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts when it comes to groups of people working together to achieve a large-scale goal.

In fact, the significance of team leadership is now so well-established that MBA programs dedicate a significant portion of the curriculum to management — or even offer specialized MBA in Management programs like Lamar University’s. If team leadership is critical to your career goals, earning an online MBA that emphasizes this area may be an excellent investment.

Step #2: Understand Personality Types

Secondly, any future or present manager should become familiar with personality types. Understanding how each employee communicates and what sets them apart is the foundation of good management. Drawing upon the strengths of individuals and putting those strengths to use for the group is key to optimal productivity.

This also applies to leaders looking inward, practicing and demonstrating self-awareness and active self-reflection. This behavior is essential to the emotional intelligence today’s workers expect from their leaders. Leaders who understand their own personalities — strengths, weaknesses and everything in between — can work to improve their performance while leading authentically. Authentic leadership, self-awareness and humility all help foster the trust that builds strong relationships — forming the bedrock of a collaborative, resilient team.

Step #3: Recognize the Importance of Creativity, Inclusivity, Diversity and the Democratization of Ideas

Current thinking in the business world emphasizes leadership that fosters a positive, inclusive and goal-aligned workplace culture, focusing on encouraging creativity and welcoming a diversity of thoughts and perspectives. Again, the whole of a team is more than the sum of its parts.

Innovation relies on creativity and new ideas, celebrating experimentation and democratized collaborative processes. When everyone on the team has a voice — and is encouraged to use it — people have the freedom and motivation to be creative and share ideas. Collaborative creativity and diverse ideas drive the innovations that change industries, as demonstrated by Apple, Microsoft and numerous other companies that have disrupted the landscape of modern business.

An online MBA program prepares managers for success by offering coursework on the many facets of effective personal and team leadership. Through studying these essential subjects, leaders can create the teams that drive today’s most impactful businesses.

Learn more about Lamar University’s online MBA in Management program.

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