Coach, Don't Demonstrate
When you're under a time crunch, it's tempting to demonstrate a task
rather than to provide supportive directions. When you say "Let me show
you how" your motivation is probably just to get the work done rather than
help the team member learn. This can be devastating to that team member's skill
development and makes him dependent on you. In the long run, the individual
to whom you've demonstrated skills will require guidance for just about everything.
Since you've done everything for him, he may be hesitant to make decisions or
take action without checking with you first.
Provide Constructive Criticism
you're providing feedback, be sure to communicate the bad and the good.
It's always hard to hear criticism, but if you highlight the good things too
it makes taking the bad a little easier. Also, provide clear suggestions on
how your team members can improve. You don't have to give them all of the solutions,
instead guide the group by sharing your knowledge and experience.
Perhaps you've assigned a project to a team member that's of particular
interest to you. Initially, you should provide some guidance and communicate
that it's an open door policy for additional questions that may come up along
the way. Now, it's important to back off! It may be tempting to get overly involved,
but try and bite your tongue unless the individual comes to you for input or
guidance. As a team leader, you must prove to your group members that you believe
in their abilities and talents. By staying out of the picture, this shows team
members they'll get a fair chance to demonstrate what they can do without interference.
Try To Be Positive
Enthusiasm is contagious
if you're excited about your
group's project, it's likely they'll feel a reason to be also.
As a leader, your team members look to you for direction.
If you notice that the group's motivation and output levels
are in a slump, this is your wake-up call! Have a meeting
to discuss what needs to be changed, and really listen to
what your team has to say. If you think they may have a difficult
time admitting this, get them to write their comments on paper
instead. It's important to stay in tune with your group. You
may be surprised by what they have to say it could
be a dramatically different perspective from your own.
Value Your Group's Ideas
Don't discount your group's ideas. Avoid phrases
like "Yeah, but
" or "We've already tried
that". If a suggested idea was attempted in the past
but failed, consider that it may not have been executed properly
or that it simply wasn't the best time. Consider each and
every idea that your group members generate and encourage
them to communicate their insights on a regular basis. If
you're overly critical of ideas or immediately discount the
ideas of others, your group will hesitate sharing anything.
After all, for every twenty mediocre suggestions, there's
bound to be at least one stellar idea.
Be an Effective Team Member