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Leadership vs. teamwork

On02/ 10 /15

Why Everyone Should be a Leader

‘Are you a leader or team player?’ This is a question that often stumps candidates at interview. Can’t you be both?

Clearly, leadership and teamwork are both essential in the workplace, however these skills are often considered to be mutually exclusive. But, we think both qualities are needed for business success.

Why leaders need to be team players

The words ‘passionate’, ‘dedicated and ‘inspirational’ are frequently cited when describing the characteristics of a good leader. Team members feel like this about good leaders because they have gained their respect and appreciation.

Yes, a leader has to step up and provide a strategy for growth and give their team direction to achieve the company goals. However, without knowledge or ‘real world’ understanding of what their team actually does this isn’t possible.

The best leaders recognise that they can’t do everything themselves. Through effective delegation, they must acknowledge the skills of their staff and show that they are ready to place trust in them. Equally when project is falling behind leaders rise to the occasion to inspire confidence in the team, and let your employees know you support them and are ready to help.

Be one of the team, with a bit extra!

Why team players should lead

It may be obvious to say - a team player needs to be ready to participate in the project. A team will only work effectively, if each member actively contributes their ideas and hard work. This will only happen if the team members are enthusiastic and collaborate well with each other. A team bouncing ideas off each other can be an unstoppable force, but only if each member is invested in the team’s success!

While team members are not expected to define the direction for the company, like any leader they are expected to encourage others to keep on track. Meeting deadlines may mean that some pro-active delegate is required when work load increases - if one person finishes their responsibilities quickly they should find out how they can help their team mates.

Again like any leader a good team player must be solution focused. Instead of dwelling on a problem, they need to look at how it can be addressed and actively work with other team members to solve it. On occasion this may need to be done independently of the team leader, every small issue doesn’t need to be escalated.

Fundamentally, team players are do-ers. They are hard working by nature and never frightened to get their hands dirty. At the same time a wider understanding of the company goals and ensuring everyone in the team is using their skills to the best effect takes a good team to a great team. They lead from within.

Building your career

Both leaders and team players bring out the best in other people. They are always ready to pitch-in and contribute. The truth is that it’s hard to be a good team leader, without a team mentality.

Having the skills of a leader and a team player are essential in being a great employee that will succeed in whatever path you are on. Just because ‘leader’ is not in your job description it doesn’t mean you cannot lead. Similarly, just because you have your own office, or a slightly bigger desk, you should still understand and support your team in their daily activities. When the team does well it reflects well on everyone!

So whether we aspire to head up an organisation, or simply love collaborating with others, there are qualities we can take from both leaders and team players that will equip us with the tools to take the next steps in our career.

If you are looking to progress your career, why not get in touch with Berks and Berks to discuss your aspirations? Our experienced consultants can help guide you to your ideal role.
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