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Watch your behavior as team leader

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

What’s the most important factor in determining whether your team will succeed?

You might guess it’s the participants’ skills and talents, their willingness to collaborate or the organizational culture within which they operate.

Yet the right answer is your behavior as team leader. Your actions and communication skills can influence up to 70% of the team’s ability to thrive.

To set the stage for collective suc­­cess, create a climate of mutual respect. Here’s how:

Listen to employees—even if you hear what you don’t want to hear—and they will model that approach with each other. Cut people off at your own risk.

Deliver on your promises. Show that your commitments matter. If teams suspect that you’ll shift direction abruptly, they’ll question your credibility as leader.

Pounce on ideas. Welcome input and act on it. If you reject the team’s ideas, explain why.

Exhibiting these three behaviors is a good start. But you also need to avoid traps that can befall in­­effectual group leaders. In a 2013 survey of the worst actions of bad bosses, the No. 1 culprit was stealing the credit for others’ work or ideas. Other mistakes team leaders make: communicating poorly, failing to recognize groups and individuals for their effort and lying and gossiping.

To foster trust, get to know team members as fully dimensional people. By understanding what drives them, you can appeal to them more forcefully.

—Adapted from “Horrible bosses,” Graham Scrivener, www.theguardian.com.

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