Many teams fall short of their potential. Whether an organization's teams achieve the benefits of teamwork depends in part on the teams' leaders. Broadly speaking, the goal of a team leader is to develop a productive team. Experts in teamwork have linked team productivity to the team characteristics. In general, these characteristics describe a team whose members want to participate, to share ideas freely, and to know what they are supposed to accomplish. To be an effective leader you must be able to coach the team, select your team members, and develop the ability to have members work together, communicate your ideas to the team, and be able to reward the team for the job well done.
The team leader who can stimulate this high-quality performance is one who focuses on enabling team members to do their best. Providing resources includes making sure employees have the training they need to be effective team members.
Typically, employees are not used to working on a team and can benefit from training in decision-making, conflict resolution, meeting management, interpersonal skills, problem solving, negotiation, and dealing with customers. When a new member joins a team, the team leader can enable that person's full participation by making an experienced team member responsible for showing him or her the ropes and by ensuring that the team gives the new member an assignment.
A team leader may be charged either with selecting candidates for jobs that involve teamwork or with selecting existing employees to participate in a team devoted to a particular task. In either case, the supervisor should look for people who work well with others. If the team is to include people from several departments, the team leader should talk to other supervisors and employees to learn which employees would do best on...