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Leadership skills: Powering team success

02 Aug
Team leader addressing a coworkers question during an office meeting.

Many people want to list their top skills on their resumes, but determining which abilities will catch a potential employer’s eye can be challenging. The best skills to develop and put on your resume vary based on your desired career trajectory, industry, and position.

However, two related skills rank highly on employers’ hiring wish lists across jobs and sectors. According to the LinkedIn 2023 Most In-Demand Skills list, management is the number one skill businesses want, and leadership skills are number four.1

People often use “team management” and “leadership” interchangeably, but they’re slightly different concepts. Team managers coordinate and supervise projects, while leaders provide guidance and inspire people to meet goals.2 Despite these differences, both roles require similar abilities.

Read on to learn about essential skills and strategies to help you thrive as a leader or team manager.

Elements of effective team management skills

Leaders and managers often need to cope with stressful situations in the workplace. For example, they may take responsibility for high-stakes projects that require them to solve complex issues.

Additionally, they frequently oversee people with different backgrounds and personalities. These interpersonal skills can help you handle workplace challenges effectively:3

Effective communication

Communication takes many forms, including delivering presentations, speaking with colleagues, and writing reports. Effective communication occurs when two or more people express their messages and goals clearly. All involved parties should feel like their ideas are heard, understood, and valued.4

Leaders and managers with strong communication skills positively impact their teams in many ways. Clearly explaining organizational goals and tasks to employees increases their engagement and productivity. Additionally, strong communication reduces workplace conflicts that often arise when people feel confused or undervalued.4

Conflict resolution

Even the most collegial and communicative teams occasionally experience conflicts. Your employees may have differing views about how to handle a project, or coworkers may have clashing work styles. At times, you may also need to mediate serious conflicts, such as bullying and harassment.

Strong conflict resolution skills enable you to navigate these tricky situations and foster a respectful workplace culture. You can use many techniques to manage conflicts, such as establishing clear boundaries, setting shared goals, and respecting cultural differences.5

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is another vital skill for leaders and managers. This term refers to the ability to recognize and manage your and others' emotions and feelings. Strong emotional intelligence allows you to treat your team members with empathy and recognize when they’re experiencing personal challenges.6

Additionally, this skill can enhance your ability to regulate your feelings and cope with stressful work situations.6 For example, if you recognize that you’re getting frustrated during a meeting, you can take steps to calm yourself instead of snapping at your employees. Similarly, emotional intelligence will enable you to handle difficult conversations—like firing employees or responding to workplace conflicts—with compassion and tact.

Delegation skills

Leaders and managers frequently oversee complex projects with many moving parts. Delegation enables you to leverage the power of your employees to complete tasks as efficiently as possible. Also, handing off work to others allows them to learn new skills.7

There are many strategies to improve your delegation skills. For instance, you can create employee buy-in by asking for assistance instead of ordering them to complete tasks. Also, people tend to respond more positively to delegation if you explain why you’re asking them to handle a particular assignment.7

Decision making

According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, executives and managers spend an average of 37% of their work time making decisions. The survey also found that the most successful organizations have leaders who make and execute decisions quickly.8

Critical decision-making skills allow leaders and managers to make strategic choices confidently and efficiently. These abilities can also help shape organizations by improving employee performance and operational speed.9

You can use many methods to strengthen your decision-making skills, including gathering data and trusting your intuition. Many leaders and managers also find it helpful to get input from other experts before making choices.9

Applying leadership and team management skills and strategies in the workplace

As a business professional, you’ll have many opportunities to apply your interpersonal skills in the workplace. Here are three strategies to help you lead and manage your employees effectively:

Increase employee autonomy

According to a 2022 behavioral science study, autonomy significantly influences employee motivation. People who feel confident in their abilities and empowered to choose often feel more driven to work.10

Leaders and managers can use many methods to boost their employees’ autonomy. For example, giving workers opportunities to learn new skills can help them feel more empowered and self-assured. Furthermore, allowing employees to choose their work location and schedule gives them more freedom and flexibility.11

Use innovative performance management practices

Traditionally, many leaders and managers conducted annual reviews to deliver employee feedback. However, more innovative performance management strategies can increase employee engagement and encourage continuous development.12

For instance, you can provide feedback to employees regularly throughout the year. In addition, you could collaborate with your team to create development plans and set individual goals.12

Develop team member talent through coaching and mentoring

Through one-on-one coaching and mentoring, leaders and managers can nurture their teams’ talents. For example, you can share your experiences to help employees learn from your past mistakes. Also, you can encourage your team members to upskill and expand their knowledge.

Furthermore, encouraging employees to develop solutions for complex problems enables them to build their critical thinking skills.13

Mastering effective team management

It's important to note that good team management goes beyond just handling individuals. It involves overseeing the entire team dynamics, ensuring everyone is on the same page and moving towards the same goal.

Effective team management skills entail knowing your team members' strengths, fostering a collaborative team environment, and setting the tone for constant and effective communication. A good team manager recognizes that every team member is vital to achieving the team's objectives and must therefore be treated with respect and dignity.

Enhance your team management style through professional development

Continuous professional development is critical to becoming a more effective team leader or manager. Various courses and workshops can help build and enhance your team management skills.

For instance, you can undertake a project management system course to enhance your team management and leadership style. Such training can provide valuable insights into maintaining good team management, including the importance of giving positive feedback and the role of effective communication in team building.

The role of design team manager

A design team manager serves as a crucial link between the design team members and other stakeholders. This unique leadership role requires not only excellent management skills but also a creative vision.

As a design team manager, you need to understand your team members well, create an environment where your team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas, and ensure that everyone's contributions are valued. With good managers at the helm, the team's productivity and creativity can increase significantly.

The impact of communication on team management

Communication skills form an integral part of effective team management. A team leader or team manager should facilitate constant and effective communication to ensure that all team members understand the team's goals and their role in achieving them. Encouraging open dialogue also helps to make sure that the team members feel heard and appreciated, boosting morale and enhancing overall team performance.

The significance of management in an organization

Team management is critical to the success of any organization. Good team management ensures all team members are working towards a shared goal, promoting efficiency and effectiveness. It involves making the best use of resources, including the unique skills and talents of each team member, to achieve the organization's objectives.

Effective team management fosters a collaborative work environment where all team members feel valued and appreciated, thus boosting morale and productivity.

How good team management fosters a positive work environment

Good team management can create a positive work environment where team members are motivated to give their best. When team managers and team leaders practice effective team management, it shows in the quality of work and the level of team member satisfaction. Good team management skills can encourage collaboration, foster a sense of belonging among team members, and promote an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

Final thoughts: Why is team management important?

In conclusion, team management is a crucial aspect of any successful organization. It involves directing and coordinating team members to work together effectively and efficiently. Good team management not only maximizes productivity but also creates a positive work environment, boosting team morale. Therefore, developing effective team management skills should be a top priority for every team leader or manager.

Amplify your leadership and management effectiveness with an online MBA

Influential leaders and managers use a variety of skills and tactics to help employees and organizations flourish.

Unlock your full leadership potential by enrolling in the University of Kansas’s online MBA program. Our top-ranked online program provides an elite business education at a competitive price.

You’ll take your leadership and management skills to the next level with career-focused courses like Leadership Philosophy and Practice, Managing Internationally, and Strategic Organizational Design and Change Management.

With these, you’ll gain practical expertise and make professional connections as you study under renowned faculty with years of industry experience. Get in touch with an admissions outreach advisor today for more information.

  1. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from linkedin.com/business/learning/blog/top-skills-and-courses/most-in-demand-skills
  2. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/pages/viewpointmanagementvsleadership.aspx
  3. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8039519/
  4. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from forbes.com/advisor/business/effective-communication-workplace/
  5. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from ndcnews.org/2018/06/27/how-leaders-effectively-manage-conflict/
  6. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from forbes.com/sites/goldiechan/2022/08/22/5-ways-emotional-intelligence-can-make-you-a-better-leader/
  7. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2022/05/11/how-to-master-the-art-of-delegation/
  8. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/decision-making-in-the-age-of-urgency
  9. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2023/05/05/16-proven-methods-to-enhance-executive-decision-making-skills/?sh=6db77fa03a31
  10. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8869198/
  11. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from hbr.org/2021/10/forget-flexibility-your-employees-want-autonomy
  12. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2022/05/11/performance-management-in-the-future-of-work/
  13. Retrieved on July 13, 2023, from forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2023/06/13/20-tips-to-help-leaders-decide-whether-to-coach-or-mentor-team-members/