Role

Team leader

Help my team become highly productive, successful and autonomous. Leverage and develop the people and resources available to the team.

Test yourself Copy to your organization

Responsibilities contained in this role:

Alignment and friction prevention

Establish and communicate team purpose and direction

Establishing and communicating a team purpose and direction is a key part of ensuring existence clarity within a team.

Purpose and direction should be easily accessible, succinct and widely understood both by the team, it's stakeholders and neighbouring teams.

Autonomy and enablement

Ensure that the expectations of the team are crystal clear

Use the platform features Unclear expectations and Mentorship to identify specific role expectations that are poorly understood or require support.

Relevant resources:

Enable team members to do their best work in accordance with expectations

As a team leader, one of your most important responsibilities is to get your team members to perform at the top of their game.

Being part of a team where the team members are motivated, properly supported and focused makes a world of difference when it comes to both delivering results and enjoying the experience.

From a birds eye view, this responsibility consists of two steps:

  1. Communicate clear and reasonable expectations
  2. Check in with team members regularly (preferably weekly) in order to
    1. Motivate them
    2. Identify blockers
    3. Support them
    4. Hold them accountable to their priorities

A specific way of practicing this responsibility is to set aside time weekly in order to review and reflect on to which extent your team 

  • Is aware of and familiar their expectations
  • Have clear and up-to-date priorities
  • Require assistance meeting expectations
  • Have access to proper support and mentorships

Use the "My team"-tab on the Focus-dashboard, or the separate "My team"-page as the basis for your analysis.

You may also consider using the Check-in (one-on-one) functionality for a structured and predictable approach to checking in with each individual on a regular basis.

For a more holistic approach to this responsibility, check out the skillset Proactive leadership.

Facilitate deep/uninterrupted work

People are always trying to snag other peoples time and attention in an attempt to make their own lifes easier. Your job is to protect your team members from this intuitive behaviour so that they can remain laser focused on their responsibilities and priorities.

If your team consists of creatives/maker roles (designers, developers, etc), the classic Maker's Schedule, Managers's Schedule essay by Paul Gramam is a relevant read.

Communication

Ensure that people who collaborate understand each others intuitive and preferred behaviour

We've all heard it a thousand times: "People are different". Yet, few people truely understand the implications of this adage.

People are driven by different motivations, opinions, insights and personality traits, and communicating and collaborating with eachother isn't always easy.

As a team leader you should strive to facilitate your teams understanding of the idiosyncrasies of each individual team member in a way that improves consideration and reduces friction within the team.

Reduce the need for interruptions and ad hoc communication

Ad hoc communication means communication which was not planned in advance. Examples include improvised meetings, chat messages, phone calls, 1-on-1 chats at a person's desk, etc.

Ad hoc communication is usually an indication of a person not having easy access to information they need in order to do their job.

As a team leader, you should consider ad hoc communication as a symptom of an insight management problem, and constantly ask yourself "Why is this information not natively accessible to this person?".

Reduce unintentional and unstructured coordination by implementing necessary coordination mechanisms

Coordination mechanisms are roles, routines, rules, and plans that contribute to the coordination of organizational activities.

Facilitate communication/exchange of information across teams

A silo is something which is isolated from something else.

In organizations, silos happen when teams focus solely on their respective departments and team-specific goals. Very often, the goals of one team may clash with the objectives of another. This can create siloed environments resistant to information-sharing. 

As a team leader, you should strive to share information and keep open lines of communication with neighbouring teams and team leaders. The ideal is for the people around you to know what your team is doing and why, and for your team to know the same of other teams.

Maintaining an easily accessible team playbook is a great way of facilitating this responsibility.

Ensure people remain informed of new and updated expectations relevant to their roles

The expectations of a team and its members are constantly changing. The work of the team results in new insights about how work should be done, which in turn leads to new expectations, be it implicit or explicit ones.

Meanwhile, changing circumstances can result in existing expectations growing outdated or needing an update.

As a team leader, you need to make sure that not only new but also existing team members are constantly being fed and automating the most recent expectations of the team and their respective roles.

The Maintaining familiarity with expectations feature is a great way to ensure that you stay on top of practicing this responsibility.

Competency management

Decision-making

Make decisions in the best interest of the organization

Netflix’s expense policy is famously 5 words long. It is simply "act in Netflix’s best interest."

When making decisions, acting in the best interest of the organization means to avoid hurting the organization in the short term, and helping the organization succeed and thrive in the long term.

Delegation

Identify what I can do to free up more of my time (delegate)
  • Which roles and responsibilities am I practicing today that could and should be delegated to someone else in the future?
  • What am I reluctant to delegate and why? Do I feel people lack the proper skills? Information? Behaviours? Motivation? Opinions?
  • What can I invest in today that will free up more time for me in the future?

Feedback

Improvement

Insight management

Motivation and incentives

Offboarding

Onboarding

Operationalization

Learn from and operationalize insight from incidents

When unwanted incidents occur, the opportunity presents itself to analyze what went wrong and to put in place mechanisms which reduce the chance of a similar incident recurring.

It's not sufficient just for the people in the team to learn from incidents, we also want the team as an entity to learn, ensuring that incidents do not repeat within the team, even if the people have since moved on.

Use tools like blameless post mortems to understand, communicate and learn from what went wrong. Then, operationalize post mortem findings by adding to or amending coordination mechanisms like responsibilities, skills, processes, checklists, policies, etc.

Organizational health

Organizational resilience

Ensure that team members carry out their assigned responsibilities

The Wecomplish platform makes it clear who is assigned which roles, and which responsibilities those roles entail.

However, that does not automatically ensure that people actually practice those responsibilities. In some cases their familiarity might be low, in others they might not have set aside sufficient time to practice the responsibility.

As team leader it is your responsibility to ensure that your team members carry out their responsibilities in a manner which you see fit and consider sufficient based on their current role maturity and the overall priorities of the team.

Use the role list of team members if you need help remembering the responsibilities each individual is expected to practice, and Expectations in focus to communicate which specific expectations you would like people to improve their familiarity with or practice more.

People development

Clearly communicate the development potential of individual team members

Use Assessments to communicate potential.

Use Ambitions to agree on improvement potential.

Use Expectations in focus to break down specific expectations to focus on.

Ensure team members grow and improve their familiarity with their role and skillset expectations

Use Explore familiarity to learn about the current familiarity of your team members and Development over time to learn about recent updates to their familiarity development.

Use Requesting familiarity updates to request familiarity updates where missing, or to request an update of expectations in focus.

Alternatively, use check-in to follow up with an individual more closely, including both their projects, objectives and expectations in focus.

Use Skillsets with insufficient proficiency to identify gaps between how proficient people's roles require them to be, and how proficient they actually are.

Identify and help improve the weaknesses of team members

Everyone has the potential to improve, and with a growth mindset, we also have the ability to.

However, in order to identify what to work on, it's beneficial to get some outside council as it can be difficult and even painful to identify and address our own weaknesses.

As a team leader, your interaction with team members and observations of how team members interact with eachother puts you in a great position to identify weaknesses.

Use this insight to carefully and considerately communicate to your team what they might benefit from improving in, and discuss how you can help them address the obstacles they experience.

If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable identifying and addressing weaknesses on an ongoing basis, you might find it useful to associate a weekly, recuring allocation to this responsibility and use the My team view as a tool to reflect on the potential of individual team members.

Collect feedback, reflect on and improve my own ability to be a well functioning and effective team leader

Use the "How well do I master basic management skills?" survey to reflect your current ability to master the skills required by a great leader.

Use the "How effective is my manager?" survey (or something similar) in order to collect feedback from your team members on how they experience being led by you.

Risk management

Review and manage risk within the team

Any team is subject to risk due to the nature of its work. The key is identifying and mitigating these risks in a way that is considered manageable and sufficient by the team and it's stakeholders.

Learn more about how to manage risk within the platform.

Robustness and longevity

Ensure a healthy mix of documentation, execution and improvement of work

A busy team can easily get caught up in an execution-loop, focusing solely on executing work and neglecting documentating and improving how work gets done.

As a team leader you should strive to maintain a healthy balance between delivering on the results expected from the team, and ensuring that the way the team works is cleary articulated and improved upon in order to improve effectiveness and efficiency in the future.

Strategy

Review and update the team strategy

The team purpose helps set a direction for the team. The strategy explains how the team plans to move towards that purpose.

Depending on the maturity and dynamism of the team and organization, a strategy can be a detailed plan looking several years into the future, or a set of objectives which will brings the team the next steps closer to fulfilling its purpose.

Support and accountability

Check in with team members

My team

Check-in (one-on-one)

This video discusses the concept of "weekly accountability talks" (from 6:40 - 7:53):

Take away excuses and justifications for not meeting expectations

Includes:

  • Identifying and removing obstacles
  • Asking questions that make people think
  • Holding people accountable to their responsibilities and priorities
Enable, support and develop people in order for them to better master their roles and required skills

It's easy to get caught up doing work, and as a result neglect improving how effectively and efficiently we complete said work.

As leader, it's your responsibility to enable, support and develop your team members so as to make them continously better at practicing the responsibilities and skills expected of their roles.

Use the "People" tab in the Priorities-section of your Focus-dashboard or the separate My team-page to review the support-card of who report to you, and reflect on how you can best help them move forward.

For input into how to read and reflect the support card of each individual, please review the My team-documentation.

Team effectiveness

Assign, maintain focus on and hold team members accountable to their top priorities

In order to contribute effectively to a team, everyone team member needs to know what they are expected to prioritize, both on behalf of the team, and on behalf of themselves.

Communicating clear and up-to-date priorities ensures that each team member focuses their attention, time and cognitive capacity on what is expected to produce the most impact and value.

As a team leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone in your team has a clear set of priorities, and to support and hold your team members accountable to making progress towards those priorities.

Use the focus dashboard of the Wecomplish platform to make the priorities of an individual clear and transparent to everyone, and use Check-in (one-on-one) in order to support and hold people accountable to those priorities.


Skillsets relevant for this role

Fix organizational bugs

Organizational development Improvement Organizational health

Communicate clearly

Communication

Expectation design

Organizational development Organizational health Management Organizational resilience Role clarity

Business process modeling

Organizational development Organizational modelling Organizational resilience

People development basics

People development Organizational development

Use Wecomplish as a team leader

Platform

Organizational development basics

Organizational development Scaling up Organizational health

Proactive leadership

Leadership Leadership style Management Organizational development Employee experience Leadership support Organizational health People development Organizational resilience

Organizational friction

Organizational development Organizational health Alignment and friction prevention

Surveys

Organizational health Organizational clarity Organizational resilience Management

Organizational health Organizational development Onboarding Employee experience Leadership support Management

Employee experience Organizational development Organizational health Startup Leadership support Alignment and friction prevention Management

Employee experience Alignment and friction prevention Organizational health Organizational development

Employee experience Organizational clarity Organizational development Organizational health Onboarding Startup Alignment and friction prevention Leadership support Role clarity

Employee experience Organizational clarity Organizational development Organizational health Startup Alignment and friction prevention Leadership support

Role autonomy Onboarding Autonomy and enablement Organizational health Role clarity

Organizational development Onboarding Organizational health Leadership support Employee experience

Employee experience Organizational health Leadership support Management

Organizational health Organizational clarity Organizational resilience Management