Copyright 2011 TIGERS Success Series
By Dianne Crampton

The wisdom from the TIGERS-Den leadership forum never ceases to amaze me. There is a real synergy that forms when committed, like-minded leaders share their insights on team culture.

It is also rewarding to see them co-create a set of skills they believe are important for emerging team leaders and for new leaders they intend to recruit now that the economy is turning around. This is real stuff from the trenches. And for emerging leaders, these efforts are well worth noting.

In a nutshell, here are the 7 positive characteristics that separate ho-hum managers from team leader rock stars.

  • Develop and apply your soft skills



Express yourself and respond to your team with a refined and grounded set of soft skills necessary to build and strengthen relationships. This includes genuinely caring about people and identifying what they need to be successfu1.

People are different. Use your skills to explore the differences so you can give people what they need to be motivated and achieve professional and personal goals.

  • Be a good communicator.



Be accessible to your team and make sure everyone has an opportunity to express their opinion and insights.

  • Cultivate empathy in yourself and on your team.

Empathy does not mean fixing people’s problems. It does not mean you wallow in sympathy with someone who is experiencing disappointment. What it does mean is that you have the ability to imagine and correctly articulate what someone else is feeling with no urge to fix it.

  • Express your coaching skills daily.

Make yourself approachable and learn how to ask the hard questions that spark interpersonal and technical skill growth, engagement and commitment in your team members.

  • Empower your team.



Trust your team members to do what you communicate to them. Make sure they are trained and have the skills to solve problems at the lowest level of operation.

  • Be productive and results-oriented.



Have a clear vision and strategy for the team and its responsibilities. Plan and communicate your plans frequently and in multiple ways. Show achievements and track goals so the team knows it is succeeding.

  • Be technically competent.



Do what you need to do to learn skills correctly and build your skills continually. Your team will look at your actions and how you do things. If you take short cuts, so will they.

Teams learn when each individual member learns. Teams grow into higher levels of function when people grow personally and professionally, too. Effective team leaders foster this environment and ultimately it is the owner of the company or executive team that sets the stage.