Developing leadership skills within teams

For high performing teams good leadership is the differentiator, says Tara Fennessy.

Reading time: 4 minutes.

Teamwork is a skill everyone should uphold, it is an activity whereby an organisation collectively works towards a set of goals. To build a strong team, you need a leader with direction and vision, and an influence upon their group. Without a leader in charge, a team would only be a group without framework.

A leader that obtains clear vision is important for a team as it inspires the group to work towards the same goal in unison. However, the team should be able to work productively and efficiently to complete complex tasks.

Productivity levels in a team can be increased by improving communication and facilitating an open discussion to allow team members to openly share their opinions and ideas. By then leveraging on the personal strengths of each team member, the group can optimise their output and provide space for personal growth within the team.

However, both teamwork and leadership are becoming more volatile and uncertain with added complexity and ambiguousness. Therefore, leaders need to use a variety of knowledge within their team to find the best solutions to challenges they face. But exactly what skills should you be looking to develop?

Leaders should be able to inspire and motivate their team by challenging the norm and using both their head and heart when making decisions.

Emotion and motivation

Leaders should always be thinking about how to improve the company’s success, this can be done by asking questions that highlight elements within the business that need attention. To improve these areas, leaders need to set goals and make decisions involving the rest of the team.

Leaders should be able to inspire and motivate their team by challenging the norm and using both their head and heart when making decisions. By combining thoughts and feelings, decision making becomes much more rational as each idea is followed through by a strong thought process.

Cognitive flexibility

Cognitive flexibility is how quickly you can shift from one system of thought to another. Leaders should always view their role as flexible, the whole team should be able to call upon them in challenging situations.

Mental agility allows leaders to always be able to step into another member’s role when required. This is the same for the whole team when recognising and dealing with change or ambiguity. It’s all about reacting with empathy and emotional intelligence.


Intuition is important to leaders as it helps them understand the personalities of all team members. This can then help the whole team work more efficiently as everyone can leverage of their strengths and preferred working styles.


Intuition also helps all members of the team adapt to new environments and new people. It gives an emotional side to teamwork by considering the impact on other team members, ethics, and humanity.


Leaders should be able to communicate effectively with their team and learn how their actions can affect others to create the biggest positive impact. Team members’ strengths should be used to collaborate as a team productively whilst also building trust within the group. Strengths in a group can be found by shadowing or profiling team members.

Sustainable success

Success is developed through a synergy of evolution, inclusion, culture and innovation. Measuring success can be done by setting small goals and objectives and keeping track of when they are achieved.

Leaders should be constantly progressing in the workplace to build up their skillset. However, as previously stated, they should also be motivating and inspiring their team to produce a high standard of work. The strong work ethic developed by teamwork will therefore create a positive company reputation that will help draw in customers, colleagues and communities.

Teamwork’s main elements are having honest communication throughout the group, being empathic towards each other and using everyone’s strengths to achieve a collective goal. By implementing this kind of framework into your company training, your team will be working productively and effectively towards the group objectives.

Good team training is commonly found in high performing teams, everyone holding the skills to work through any challenges they may face produces better outcomes. Having a high-performance team is a huge asset to any business as they bring a variety of knowledge and skills to the table.

Their great capacity is for innovation and adaption by producing great results with an efficient use of company resources; in leaderless teams such innovations may fall by the wayside. Investing in even just one member of the team can and most likely will result in trickle-down skills sharing; any costs involved are minute compared with the results gained.


About the author

Tara Fennessy is managing director of Leadership Skills Training Ltd


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