How to Survive a Bad Team Leader
Larry Buhl | HotJobs
For almost everyone, having a job means working on teams. But not all team leaders know how to create successful teams—by building consensus, setting agendas, meeting deadlines, encouraging good ideas, and so on. In fact, many team leaders are thrown into the role without training in any of these areas. If your leader seems to be less than fully competent, there are ways you can make the experience bearable, and even successful, without stepping on toes. Experts recommend the following:
Set a good example.
Maybe your leader isn’t setting the most positive course for the team. But you should still be the kind of person you’d want to work with, experts say. Before you start casting stones at others, make sure your team behavior is exemplary. Are you on time for all meetings? Do you complete your action items? Do you leave your ego at the door? Do you respect other peoples’ ideas and acknowledge their contributions? Do you attempt to build consensus?
A team thrives on connections, according to Stephen Balzac, president of the organizational and management consulting firm 7 Steps Ahead. “Talk to people, and take the time to get to know your coworkers as people and find common interests,” Balzac says. “It’s the little things that hold the team together.”
Balzac adds that looking for opportunities to praise other people will go a long way toward encouraging group cohesion. “Appreciation builds camaraderie,” he explains. “For example, if you hear that a coworker’s child just did really well in a soccer game or landed a big part in a school play, congratulate them.”
Schmoozing and praising work, but gossip doesn’t, experts say. Gossip kills group cohesion and it can come back to haunt you.
Sharpen your communication skills.
Non-verbal communication is just as important as what’s being said, according to team-building training expert Bob Lancer. “Most communication goes on non-verbally, so you have to observe others closely to receive the messages they are sending you. From that skill, develop adaptability. In this context, adaptability means that you work on relating with the unique individuality of each person in ways that work for you, rather than against you.”