Mistakes Made by Team Leaders

Mistakes Made by Team Leaders

Mistakes Made by Team Leaders

Mistakes Made by Team Leaders – In a recent survey (early 2011) of a current and former employees working in the banking and financial services firms in the UK. Team leaders and team members revealed 17 Among the mistakes made most frequency by managers in banking and financial services firms are:

1. Poor Communication

If you are new to the role, ensure that you arrange meetings with all members of your team, as a group (and individually, depending on the size of the team) soon after you have been appointed. This will ensure that as a Manager and Leader you share the overall team goals, provide an update on the needs of the business and set expectations for contributions from each member of the team. Even more importantly, meeting at an early date will allow you to answer questions and provide clarification for all team members. In this way, there is less likelihood of your team receiving information from the ‘rumour mill’, instead of official sources. It will be your opportunity also to identify members of the team that may be resistant to any impending change and to begin understanding personalities and strengths among members of your team.

2. Poor preparation for your role and tasks

Part of your own preparation for a new job or promotion should be improving your knowledge about the organisation as a whole and specifically the objective or purpose of the department you will be managing. Your preparation should include discussions with others who were part of the team previously -both team leaders and members. Such discussions can provide invaluable insights. You will begin learning about the strengths and weaknesses of your team. In so doing, you can begin to develop strategies and identify concrete actions that will enable you to develop a more effective and high performing team. In this phase of your research, you will be able to assess if you have the relevant skills to manage the team.

One way of conducting your skills review is through self-assessment with a relevant skills matrix. This can be done using a SWOT analysis (SWOT -Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats)s. The findings from your self-assessment will help you to decide which skills you need to develop more urgently. Especially through training and/or coaching.

3. Setting unrealistic timelines to achieve individual and team targets

Your success as a Leader and Manager depend on the effectiveness of your team. Therefore, do not set up members of your team for failure! If you do not understand the scope of the task, discuss with your own line manager or members of your team. When you insist on setting unrealistic time-lines, you are setting your team up for failure.

A simple way of ensure you set relevant timelines is through prioritizing. When there are urgent and important tasks to be completed. Ensure you set out clearly what is required and provide resources necessary to ensure timely completion. Sometimes, in order to achieve this you have to subdivide a priority project into a number of tasks. Which might then be completed by different members of the team working to very clear timelines. As the Team Leader or Manager, your role will be to ensure you have updates at agreed timelines. Identify unexpected problems and resolve those immediately.

4. Demonstrating very poor interpersonal skills when interacting internally

Your research on the team you are about the lead will enable you to conclude. Which of the five stages of team development they will be when you begin your role. When you can decide whether your team is at the forming, storming, norming, performing or adjourning stage. In this way, you will be more attuned to the needs and working style of members of your team. A key requirement during this stage will be very strong global and active listening skills.


To improve your listening skills. You should consider a short training course/refresher in effective communication skills or work one to one with an Executive Coach. Alternatively, for a longer term strategy, consider joining a club dedicated to improving communication skills, e.g., a local Toastmasters club.

Identifying ways of avoiding some of the costly mistakes made by Team Leaders and Managers at a very early stage. Will give you a head start in getting up to speed rapidly. This will allow you to empower your team to even higher levels of performance.

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