Have you ever stepped into a leadership role not fully knowing what to expect?

A girl is sitting at her desk with a stressed look on her face.

I have. When I was offered a job with a new employer, I was also offered the role of team leader. I accepted it but I felt stressed and worried if I'd be good at it!

Over time, I learned how to be an effective team leader and I'd like to share the most important parts of what I learned with you!

1. Stay Organized

I learned that when you're a team leader, you need to keep up with lots of paperwork and convey important information from management to your team.

It's easy to get overwhelmed and forget things! I once forgot a deadline that I hadn't written down and my whole team suffered for it.

Don't learn this lesson the hard way!

  • Learn to use a digital calendar or use a paper calendar to keep up with deadlines and important dates.

  • Use a team leader journal and/or folder to keep meeting notes, reminders, and other vital information in one place.

2. Delegate Tasks

A cat is pushing a cart back and forth across the floor. The text says,

I thought if I didn't do everything myself, I'd be seen as a failure. I later learned that's not true! It's okay to not do everything on your own. No one said you have to do it all!

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  • Empower your team members by assigning tasks you know they're qualified to do.

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  • Be available to provide assistance and feedback as needed but let them take ownership of the task!

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  • Delegating will help free up time in your schedule while letting your team members know that their contributions are important to the team.

A group of people are sitting around a table with open laptops while a person is organizing post-it notes on a board. Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

3. Develop Strong Communication Skills

The phrase

Leading a team of people can be tricky due to differences in opinions, experiences, and expectations. It’s important to…

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  • Say what you mean! I had to deliver some difficult news to my team and wasn't straightforward about it because I didn't want them to be upset. It backfired and my team was frustrated with me for sugarcoating it.

    So don't beat around the bush when relaying information — even if that information will be tough for team members to hear. They will respect you for your honesty.

David Rose from Schitt's Creek saying,

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  • Be a good listener! Your team members will want to feel heard. Pay attention to them when they speak and be an active listener in the conversation.

    Active listening includes showing interest (facial expressions, eye contact, etc.), asking questions, and clarifying (I hear you saying....is that right?"). Check out this article from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for more tips.

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  • Resolve conflicts. When frustrations arise, actively listen to both sides. Offer solutions that will help people meet in the middle rather than letting one side “win” the disagreement.

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  • Check in! It’s good to talk with your team openly to ensure you’re meeting their needs. This will go a long way in helping build positive relationships.

Quiz: Workload Issues

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A team member comes to you with a complaint that they feel they are doing more work than anyone else on the team. How do you address this situation?

A. Tell them everyone has the same workload.

B. See why they feel that way and then offer a suggestion to delegate some of the workload.

C. Tell your supervisor and ask them to help you handle it.


Which is the best option to address the situation?

4. Boost Morale

A cheerleader holding a sign that says Photo by Jacob Rice on Unsplash

I was a team leader throughout the pandemic. That was a time of uncertainty and frustration for everyone. Many employees were frustrated about policy and schedule changes, and it was up to me to convince them to make the best of things.

It’s hard to always be positive, but your team members will take their cues from your attitude and actions. It’s important to…

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  • Lead by example and show your team how to respond to negative situations that may come up.

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  • Talk positively. Try to look on the bright side by finding something positive to say.

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  • Plan a team-building exercise away from work.

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  • Shout out to your team! Find ways to highlight their hard work (individual notes, message to management, etc.)

A reality show judge claps their hands and says,


Your team is upset because of a new company policy. What do you do?

5. Be Decisive

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Have you ever been in a meeting when a question was asked and most people answered with "I don't care. Whatever you think." This is frustrating for everyone! Make decisions with confidence! It's important to ...

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  • Make an informed decision! Learn about all available options (i.e. make a list of pros and cons).

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  • Be confident in your decision.

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  • Be able to justify your reasons for making that decision should someone question it.

6. Lead By Example

Penguins following each other in the snow.

Actions speak louder than words! It’s not enough to tell your team what to do or how to act.

My team used to joke and say, "You don't need to do that! You're the team leader!" That bothered me a lot! I wanted my team to know that I was still part of the team. I helped them when I could and always shared the workload. This will...

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  • Inspire others to follow your example.

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  • Show that you’re willing to do the work, too!

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  • Show that you understand what your team members are going through.

This will prove to your team members that you're a team player, not someone who just tells others what to do!

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

— John Quincy Adams, 6th U.S. President

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