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Do Team Leaders and Supervisors Really Need Leadership Skills?


The above title may be very odd sounding to some people. It seems normal to think of team leaders and supervisors as people who execute orders handed down. Yet, the question strikes to the very centre of modern organizations. There was a time when leadership was the domain of executive management. That was before the global economy took off into the stratosphere. We now live in an international corporate environment where both speed and productivity are the competitive advantage. You cannot always wait for the executive suite to show guidance.

The New Corporate Challenge

Teams are at the very heart of the software and mobile applications industry. Autonomy is given to these groups of 10 or fewer people in order to get a top quality job done as quickly as possible. The supervisors and team leaders are now being asked to do more than just monitor activity. They are now given the permission to behave in a manner where leadership is critically important for project success.

Those Skills Necessary

This can be a very daunting change for some of the old team leaders and supervisors, but leadership traits are needed more than ever before. Coaching the rank and file, being able to motivate them to achieve higher levels of quality and productivity, is a new body of knowledge which needs to be mastered. Team leaders by and large like to be hands-on, but the new corporate identity will require them to be able to delegate, not to mention evaluating team members with performance appraisals. Problem-solving may be entirely novel because the old order required just carry out instructions and plain by the book. There is a level of dexterity that is going be expected of team leaders and supervisors because the new economy is going to insist on it.

The Distance of Globalism

A very critical skill that must be mastered is communication. The new supervisors and team leaders must be able to clearly convey instructions, the objectives, and mission of the organization to what may be a very diverse group of subordinates. Globalism is going to result in distance. A supervisor may be directed the work of people who are miles apart and in different countries. Fortunately mobile applications can help keep projects on task and schedule; the supervisor or team leader may be sending information all over the place. It is going to require an ability on their part to use communication tools and organizational apps (e.g. Evernote) to keep everybody focused on a project. It will possibly mean being able to easily handle dashboards, such as HootSuite or Base Camp to get needed data to the right places.

Team leaders and supervisors are being asked to oversee activity and also be communication hubs. Their jobs are going to require a whole new toolbox and set of knowledge. On the other hand, there is amazing opportunity for those who can see the forest for the trees.

Opportunities Abound.

A smart supervisor or team leader with an ounce of ambition should be able to see the long-term benefits in this corporate paradigm shift. They are being asked to take on leadership skills, but these are the very qualities that lead to executive titles. Being able to master coaching skills and delegation paves the way to added responsibilities and even promotion. It might not be at the same company but a new position, with the more prestigious title and higher pay, someplace else. The need for leadership skills can be seen as a career development process that pays its benefits later on. It is very doubtful that the corporate environment is ever going to go back to the old days. As the international marketplace expands there will be a growing need for leadership skills on the supervisor and team leader level. It is definitely to person’s advantage to perfect those qualities.

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