Written by Sharri Margraves, Director for HR Organization and Professional Development
Before you had your first formal leadership role, did you believe you would “finally” have the power and authority to get things done the way you want them, when you want them? Or did you think, “What have I done?”
One of the most significant adjustments in leaning into leadership is that there are multiple ways to handle situations, and there are many variables with respect to authority, responsibility and empowerment. Cohesive teams communicate and build trust and one of the most critical teams is the relationship you have with other leaders in your unit.
Your Role in the Team
The truth of the matter is that we all play different team roles across our careers and in every position. Consider this: what have you done to make a new leader (especially new to MSU) welcome and valued, especially when that leader is also a peer? How we participate and engage with others can change depending on the circumstances and our own beliefs about our roles and the influence we carry, but trust me, everyone is watching what you do and say to make your team and colleagues successful.
Leadership expert, John Maxwell, shares that leaders lead up, across, and down in a complex system of teams. Can you picture a leader who leads only through power? A leader who made it very difficult for a new colleague, or minimally, less than helpful? Likewise, you can likely picture an effective leader that does not have positional authority yet is very effective.
Regardless of position, title, or role, everyone has leadership capabilities that can be developed, practiced and honed when they consider leveraging the skills and talents of the team. Helping others see the importance of their roles and contributions will help maximize effectiveness, results and enjoyment for the whole team.
Define Your Strengths and Areas for Growth
Remember, it takes patience and practice to develop. How would you rate yourself on the following questions adapted from HIGH5 leadership?
- I take responsibility for the teams I’m on and don’t play the blame game.
- I listen more than I talk in team meetings.
- I don’t interrupt others or talk over them. I add to the conversation, acknowledging and building on others’ contributions.
- I am reliable and consistent, and my work is on time and of good quality.
- I help others if they are struggling.
- I can focus on positive solutions rather than making others feel wrong.
- I have a connection with the people on the team, knowing about their lives and what is important to them.
- I bring enthusiasm and energy to the team rather than bringing people down.
- I have worked hard to build trust between me, all my teams, and my organization in general.
- I can apologize to my team.
Another helpful resource is the free Team Roles test from Psychology Today. Take this 20-minute assessment to help you summarize your strengths in being a team player. As it’s not geared specifically to leaders, the quiz covers a wide range of team-based situations to share with your staff.
Organization and Professional Development Resources
A number of options—everything from short videos to live, online courses—are available through OPD to assist you in developing as a leader. Looking for further assistance? Contact OPD at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional course information and customized solutions for you and your team.
- Building Cohesive Teams | April 12 (Live, online course presented by OPD)
- Agile Leadership (2-minute elevateU video)
- Behaviors of Effective Team Leaders (4-minute elevateU video)
- Building and Leading Successful Teams (48-minute, self-paced elevateU course)
- The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork by John C. Maxwell (Book and audiobook available in elevateU)
Maxwell, John. The 360° Leader. Summary and excerpt available at https://edadm821.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/360_leader.pdf