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How to Be a Good Team Leader

Much of leading a team is trial and error.  The more often you do it, the better you become.  While each situation presents unique challenges, the following characteristics are essential for any team leader:


Ability to see the “big picture”.

Is comfortable taking the initiative.


Ability to persuade or influence others.


Can communicate clearly and effectively.


Is trustworthy and honors commitments.


Is interested in helping others achieve.


Is well-organized.


Is a good listener.


Ability to manage and resolve conflict.


Is basically optimistic.



Develop a Team “Mind-Set”


One quality of a successful team leader is the ability to place his own interest aside for interest of the team.  This doesn’t mean having things done your way.  It does mean you should weigh your own interests against the best interest of your particular organization and team.  If a team decides they could work better by having a meeting twice a week rather than once, your workload might increase.  It’s important to look past that extra work and see the benefits of the additional meetings.  Another example would be presenting the results.  A leader might want to take credit for much of the work, but the team should get the credit they are due.


Likewise, a good leader does not harbor resentment, distrust or other useless feelings against a difficult team member.  Take the appropriate action to correct the situation, but put aside negative emotions.  The team member might be a brilliant individual who is not cut out for teamwork.  Weed out these difficult individuals and focus on the team project rather than waste your energy feeling angry.


A good leader will respect the needs of the organization as a whole --- his superiors, peers, customers, and subordinates.


A strong team leader also respects the team.  If the team makes a valid but unpopular decision, the leader should not modify it to remain popular with others or to soften the blow.  The purpose of creating a team is to find new information; if the team has achieved that goal and the outcome is unpleasant, it is still the leader’s responsibility to act on the information he sought in the first place.

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