Developing the right team leader skills will be crucial for the next step you want to take in your career, but it is precisely that mindset that you need to put to the side as you take on your leadership role.

While there is nothing wrong with ambition, your desire to be a better team leader must be based on helping your team perform to their best. If you can do that, then the by-product will be your success and potentially the career development you seek.

So as a team leader, what skills do you need to be successful? We have pulled together a list of seven core skills we think are essential.

Emotional Intelligence

This is probably the most critical as the other leadership skills result from having strong emotional intelligence.

Your team are looking to you for guidance but also to help them through the tough times. They want help and support when the pressure is on and calming influence when the stress levels reach a peak.

So as a team leader, you need to manage your own stress levels to help others manage theirs. You need to have a bigger picture view and fully grasp the magnitude of the situation to add some perspective.

The best team leaders can diffuse conflict and find solutions while others struggle to comprehend the situation.

However, one of the most critical aspects of this is being self-aware, having the emotional intelligence to know that it’s not all about you and that your team’s satisfaction is crucial. Claiming personal victories for your team’s hard work or being unaware of your shortcomings will become an issue.

So work hard on developing your emotional intelligence.

Team Leader Skills

Problem Solver

Your team will face challenges every day. There will be problems with customers, difficulties with tech, challenges with other departments and teams; the list is endless. What they want from their Team Leader is someone who can take on these challenges and find solutions.

So you need to become a problem solver, although I suspect you already are if you’re taking on a leadership position. Learn to look at things differently and take an alternative perspective; the answers rarely stare you in the face.

A great deal of your work now is management, so take the time to find a solution, don’t walk away from a problem, especially if it means managing upwards. Your team will respect you for it, even if you don’t find the ideal solution.

A Good Communicator 

You need to become an excellent communicator. One of the main reasons problems arise is from a communication breakdown. It isn’t always easy; it is often a balance between what you can say and what you can’t.

However, good leaders are transparent. They have an open approach to their communication, and crucially, it is two way. As a leader, while it is essential to make sure everyone knows the state of play, it is also critical that you become a good listener.

Take the time to listen to your team, don’t just hear them talk and find a half baked solution. Give them the time of day and listen to what they have to say. There is a difference between hearing from your team and listening. As a leader, you need to know and understand the difference.

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Be Accessible 

As a team leader, there is no hiding. Your job is not to pour over reports and budgets huddled away in your office. Where possible, you will be expected to provide as much face to face communication as you can.

You will lead on performance reviews and have regular one to ones with your team. You will conduct team meetings and always be available, nurturing that culture of openness and honesty.

Team Leader Skills

Good Management and Organisation

Your team needs leadership, they need direction, and they need the processes and systems in place to make sure they are delivering results. You need to have a handle on the longer-term objectives while making sure the day to day activities get done.

You are responsible for ensuring the smooth running of all the different aspects of team management that can relieve the pressure on your team to allow them to do their job.

But the keyword here is responsible; it doesn’t mean you have to do everything. As a Team leader, you have to learn to delegate; otherwise, things won’t get done, and people will lose faith in your ability.

Management and organisation are crucial team leader skills, so welcome the opportunity to attend management training sessions to give you the right tools.

Innovate and Inspire

For some people, this is easy. It comes naturally, and their personality and through process inspires their team without trying. However, for many, it is something they need to spend a bit of time focusing on.

It can be hard to quantify, making it hard for those that this doesn’t come naturally to learn. But many of the best leaders are avid readers. Broaden your mind, really get to know your subject and become an expert in your field. Commit some of your day to learning. Encourage others in your team to do that too. You have to value that time; otherwise, it is the first thing to go.

It won’t be a case that you are un-inspiring and ill-informed one day, and the next day you are not. But a commitment to good practice, challenging yourself to look at things differently and being passionate about learning your craft will shine through to your team.

Have You Got The Right Team Leader Skills

There are many skills beyond our list that you will find valuable when you start leading a team. But if you can continue to keep your team at the forefront of your focus and you are committed to learning, you will find yourself acquiring the right skills to successfully lead your team.