Leading a team: top tips on how to become a successful team leader

Great leadership boils down to skillfully and successfully managing the relationships within your team. It drives communication and trust in your team, and helps everybody to work together to complete a project. A successful team leader knows how to communicate with each member of their team, and what motivates each person.
One example of a truly great leader is Mahatma Gandhi. His resilience, people-skills, knowledge and motivational approach helped him to lead by example. Gandhi’s approach inspired the people of India, and he eventually led his country to freedom in 1947.
When you take charge of your first team, it can be a daunting task. You’re likely to be wondering how you can gain their trust and motivate them to work well. Which is why we have pulled together our top tips on becoming a great team leader.

Appreciate & motivate

You need to understand the importance of praise and how it affects an individual. Praising the actions of your team members, regardless of how small, will encourage them to continue the behaviour. Praise will motivate your team, and help them to feel appreciated and noticed. On the flip side, do not criticise or complain about members of your team at all. Try comparing their mistake with everything they do well to put things into perspective. Criticism will only demotivate your staff, instead use their mistake as an opportunity for development.

Great leaders listen

A good team leader will encourage their team to talk, whilst they actively listen and show a genuine interest in what they have to say. People want to feel important and be heard, try repeating what they have said to show you are listening, but don’t patronise them! No one likes to feel ignored or unappreciated. Making an effort with your team will help you earn their cooperation and gratitude.


I can’t stress this enough, always respect your team’s ideas and opinions. Try to understand what they are saying and respect it, even if you disagree. If they say something that is wrong then be sensitive, don’t call them out or make them look bad in front of others. If you respect your team members, they will respect you.

Admit it...

When you are wrong or make a mistake, own up and admit it. Being honest and humble enough to admit when you are in the wrong is a great trait in a leader. Also, if you have the humility to apologise when you have made a mistake, your team members will respect you even more.

A leader lights the way

Naturally, as a team leader you want your team members to look up to you and view you as a role model. A great leader builds their team up, gives them the tools to succeed and guides them towards a common goal. Your team needs you to coach, motivate and inspire them to be great at their job. Give back as much as you receive and your team are sure to be on your side.
Remember, a team is a reflection of it's leadership!
Did you know that Open Study College offer several management courses which could help boost your skills as a leader? Go to our website or call 03300 563100 for more information.

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Sharnie Carter

Passionate about marketing and education. Currently studying a CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing via distance learning. When I'm not working or studying, I'm spending time with my young son and husband or hinching!

Leading a team: top tips on how to become a successful team leader