Success in the role of the Team Leader, at any level, is measured by the performance the Team. The effective Team Leader knows that developing a high performing Team involves many Leadership skills, people management competencies and effective use of Leadership processes. There are some fundamental building blocks that must be worked on by the Team Leader on an ongoing basis. These building blocks influence motivation, performance and the drive to achieve high performance.

The Importance of Aligning the Team
One of the most important of these building blocks is aligning the focus of the Team and Team members in a way that will enable, rather than disable, them to achieve their goals. This will affect motivation, performance, and job satisfaction.

Think of a group of footballers on a pitch. The high performing Team is totally aligned to their purpose – long term purpose and their purpose today. They know exactly what the game is all about, they know the rules of the game and they will know when they have won or lost. Each player knows their role, and they know how that role impacts on the overall aim of winning the match. Their effort counts and extra achievement counts more.

But more than that, the whole Team knows what the objectives are this year, and where they are at the moment in terms of achieving those objectives. They know when to celebrate milestones, and when to dig deep and increase performance. They share the satisfaction of digging themselves out of a hole and coming out on top.

This is what motivation and job satisfaction is all about, and this is what the effective Team Leader is re- creating in the workplace.

The Results of Not Aligning
Most of the issues with poor performing teams can be traced back to lack of alignment. This is easy to see at a distance, but tricky for the Team Leader to be aware of in the working situation. Think of it this way. Compare our high performing team with a group of athletes who have been told to move the ball round on a field, but they have not been told what the game is that they are playing. They soon lose interest in moving the ball, and far from being motivated, they can quickly become frustrated and annoyed. The same is true of a Team in the workplace.

The Key Elements of Alignment
Each Team Member needs to know what game the Team is playing, how we can win and what impact his or her effort will make on the shared effort of the immediate Team and the wider Team of the Organisation. The good Team Leader is working on this constantly with each Team member and with the whole Team – monitoring the alignment levels and working at improving factors that dip.

It is useful for the effective Team Leader to have an alignment checklist, so that they can assess the current state of play of their Team, and identify which areas of alignment to work on.

The factors that the Team needs to know, internalise and have a shared understanding of are –
1. The Purpose of the Organisation. What is the purpose of this Organisation? Who are our Customers? What is our Role with our Customers?

2. What are our Organisational goals this year? How will we achieve this, what is the strategy? The detail of this depends very much on the level of the Team, but every Team must have some awareness of this. The aim is to ensure the focus and compass of the Team is pointed in the right direction.

3. The Team Purpose. What is the purpose of this Team? Who are our Customers, internal and external? What is our role with our Customers? What is success? How will we know we have succeeded – our measures? In what way will our Team results contribute to the Organisational goals? How do we relate to other departments?

4. What type of Team must we be to achieve our Goals? How do we work together, what processes do we use, what type of values and attitudes will we have? The Effective Team Leader must be able to paint a picture of the type of Team we will be and HOW this will enable us to achieve our goals.

5. The Team Member’s Role. What is my role, my targets and goals? How does my contribution impact on the shared Team goals? What is expected of me as a Team member, what contribution must I make to the Team? How will I know I have succeeded, or when I have exceeded, my Team Leader’s expectations?

Working on these alignment fundamental building blocks will help the Effective Team Leader to give the Team an immediate lift, a revitalised sense of purpose and a drive to achieve.

Author's Bio: 

Kate Tammemagi specialises in Management Training . She provides fully customized Team Leader Training for Teams at all levels.