Team Leadership: What It Is, Why It’s Important & Ideas How To Improve

Are you looking to improve your profits and success as an organization? Your first step should be to build an effective leadership team! A leadership team is ultimately responsible for results—they uphold company culture, make important decisions, and can have a positive impact on employees. Read on to find out what makes a good leadership team and what results you can expect to see from developing these leaders.

Table of Contents

What is a leadership team and why is it important?

What can happen to a team that lacks leadership?

What makes a good leadership team?

13 Valuable Team Leadership Skills

10 Questions to Ask Your Leadership Team

5 Leadership Team Building Activities

What is a leadership team and why is it important?

In an organization, a leadership team guides, directs, shapes, and develops employees in their everyday activities. Ultimately, a leadership team is responsible for any results that an organization may have, but their responsibilities don’t stop there. Leaders have the job of boosting employee engagement and buy-in and empowering employees to “run the play” on a daily basis.

A leadership team can be primarily composed of executives, or there can be different levels of leadership teams throughout an organization that reports to higher-up teams. Generally, the people on these teams (whether there’s only one leadership team or a handful that report up) are on the same page on a few different things such as: 

  • What success means to your company
  • Company values
  • Your company’s purpose

But profits and results aren’t the only things that they must focus on! A leadership team “defines and amplifies the culture of an organization.” Leaders help build up their employees and are examples of company values and goals. They can accomplish their ultimate goal of organizational success by leading by example and developing employees properly.

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What can happen to a team that lacks leadership?

If a team suffers from a leadership gap, ultimately the overall organization suffers along with it. Because leadership teams are responsible for results, if they can’t lead effectively, they’ll see poor results. A team can become ineffective and employees might even begin looking for opportunities in other companies.

A team without leadership has low employee engagement, which is a major key to company success. Low employee engagement can lead to a lack of motivation, health and wellness issues, and employees even leaving the company. According to Zippia, staff who are disengaged had a 37% higher absentee rate, had 49% more accidents, and made 60% more mistakes than a team with employees who were engaged in their work. Those are some big statistics to consider when building a leadership team!

A leadership team provides positive direction and unity for a team. Without leadership that can be a positive force, teams can be a liability to both their organization and individual teammates. But don’t be discouraged—we’ll give you all the tools you need to build a good leadership strategy and create a successful workplace culture!

What makes a good leadership team?

As we mentioned earlier, a good leadership team is made up of people who are on the same page about things like defining success and the importance of upholding company values. Those on the team understand the company’s purpose and that they are responsible for results. 

Although they need to be on the same page when it comes to these specific things, that doesn’t mean that a good leadership team is monochromatic! Diversity is a valuable asset for a leadership team, including diversity of thought and areas of expertise. While experience is necessary for a good leadership team, your leaders can bring various skillsets to the table.

The leaders in a good leadership team can also see and address the needs of their employees. They recognize the importance of employee engagement not just for the sake of increasing profit but for the sake of their employees! High levels of employee engagement lead to higher profits, better employee wellness, satisfaction, and better employee retention. Give them opportunities to develop, show regular appreciation, and trust them with bigger tasks. These staff members are bought into the company and want to uphold company values because they’ve benefitted from them somehow. They can shift office culture in a positive manner! 

Selecting your leadership team

When you are choosing your leadership team, sometimes it can be overwhelming to figure out the right people for the job. Each leader brings something different to the table, including different dynamics and priorities. As you go through your list of candidates, there are a handful of principles you should hold on to as you select your team.

  • Be choosy. You don’t have to choose every good candidate for a leadership team, but you do have to choose the right people.
  • Hold high standards. Zippia reports that 50% of people say that they’ve quit their job because of a bad manager. Who you put in leadership matters to your employees as much as it matters to you.
  • Look for strategy. You want your leadership team to help make directive decisions for employees and the organization. Who can you add to your team that will bring insight into strategic meetings?
  • Trust them. You shouldn’t feel like you have to micromanage your leadership team. Believe that they can manage and allow them to do it.
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13 Valuable Team Leadership Skills

As you choose and develop your leadership team, there are several skills you should look for if you want an effective leadership team. These skills are valuable for all industries and team sizes, and they’re abilities that anyone can do with the right training and drive. No leader has to be perfect at every single one of these skills, but they should be willing to grow in all of them. 

1. Problem-solving Skills

Problem-solving skills are a necessity for leaders because they field problems every day, sometimes all day long. You may hear someone say that they are “putting out fires,” and most likely, that person is in a position of leadership. People will come to those on your leadership team with their fires expecting them to have the water supply that can put it out. They should be able to lead with wisdom and experience to handle any kind of situation that is thrown at them, even if that means they need to go find answers that they don’t have at the moment.

2. Delegation

Team leaders are able to delegate tasks, projects, and work to other employees. They don’t see themselves as the only person on a team capable of getting something done. A leader must be able to delegate well and clearly because 1) it frees him or her up to do more, and 2) it shows employees that they are trustworthy and valuable to the organization.

3. Motivation 

The leaders on your leadership team should be motivated, and external forces shouldn’t be the only things that motivate them. They should have a measure of self-motivation that they dig into every day! Of course, people go through ups and downs that affect their level of motivation. A good leader does his or her best to not let personal trials get in the way of work. Their self-motivation can inspire others and will help to get tasks and other things done on time.

4. Integrity and Honesty

These might not seem like “skills” but they are valuable traits that your leaders should be able to exemplify. If things in an organization flow from the top-down, you should have leaders who can model integrity and honesty to their employees. These traits inspire others to act in a model manner, and they help build a good rapport with team members and clients alike. Characteristics like these come out in interactions with others, so you’ll want to know how your leaders treat other people in order to see these “skills” displayed.

5. Flexibility

No two days are exactly alike. Employees are different, projects are different, problems are different—you see the trend. Your leaders have certain character tendencies or work routines, which is not a bad thing, but you’ll also want them to be flexible where needed. Whether it’s in their approach to leading, how they communicate, or how they meet challenges, flexibility is key to good leadership. This doesn’t look like changing so much every day that no one knows what to expect. Rather, watch how your leaders handle complex or time-consuming problems or how they work with different employees. Can they adjust to put out their best work in a given situation? 

6. Communication Skills

Leaders help guide and direct employees, so it’s important that they have good communication skills. Can they communicate clearly and effectively? Are they reinforcing what they’ve said and using different forms of communication so employees fully understand what’s expected of them? Your leadership team should also be able to communicate with each other effectively, especially when they’re planning things for the organization or working through strategic meetings. Communication is a skill that can be developed, especially between people who are new to each other.

7. Ability to Make Decisions 

Decisiveness is a necessary skill for leaders—how can they lead others well if they’re not planted in a decision? This particular skill helps employees know that they can trust their leader and run with a task or project after it’s given because it won’t change on them. They can give out their best work with the full assurance that it’s beneficial to their team and the company. These kinds of leaders can be positive about their decisions and can share that positivity with the rest of the team.

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8. Mediation Skills

Teams and companies are made up of people with differing opinions, and sometimes those opinions cause friction. We can’t be afraid of that friction because many times, it can lead to personal growth for employees or needed clarity from an organization. Your leaders should be able to mediate tensions that grow between the employees they manage, as well as treat all sides of disagreement with kindness and professionalism. If they have the ability to mediate different situations well, they can potentially deepen team unity and help boost trust.

9. Stress Management

Leaders are handed all kinds of responsibilities, timelines, decisions, and teams to manage. Stress management is a valuable key for your leaders because you don’t want them to feel overloaded and stuck under the weight of their role. When your leaders have good stress management, they stay healthy (mentally and physically!) and that positively impacts how and who they lead.

10. Time Management

One skill that every employee must learn and use is time management. The case for good time management is similar to the case for stress management. Leaders field problems and carry responsibilities that no one else has to manage. In order to be effective at doing their work, leading others, contributing to the others on the leadership team, and more, they have to figure out what their time looks like. Awareness is important when it comes to time management, so a leader who is well-organized is likely one who can manage their time well.

11. Persistence

When problems or heavy last-minute tasks come their way, how do your leaders react? We hope that they would persist through tough situations! Like integrity and honesty, persistence is more of a trait than a skill, but it’s one that can be developed and encouraged the longer that someone is entrusted with a leadership position. Remember, your leadership team is responsible for results, and if you collectively want to see positive results and profits, a certain level of persistence is necessary. That doesn’t mean they will never fail, which is only natural from time to time—but it does mean sticking through rough patches with positivity, wisdom, and a growth mindset.

12. Leads With Their Team in Mind 

Team leadership requires a team (that one was too easy). According to Gallup, there are four things that followers need from their leaders: trust, compassion, stability, and hope. These can be natural characteristics of a leader, but more than likely leaders need to be intentional in how they treat their employees. Do your leaders respect their respective teams? Do they regularly reward achievements or celebrate team members? The obvious may need to be stated here: leaders can’t lead if no one is following them. 

13. Ability to Learn

Last but not least, the ability (and desire) to learn is a highly valuable skill in team leadership. New information comes to your organization every day. You hire new employees with different skills and experiences. Industry standards and best practices are always improving. Since there’s tons of information out there, your leadership team should be able to look for ways to grow. This requires a humility that says they don’t know everything yet. You can provide avenues to learn (subscriptions to news outlets or access to industry experts), but your leaders should have some level of self-motivation to get better at what they do.

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10 Questions to Ask Your Leadership Team

As you begin working with and developing your leadership team, you’ll know what goals and values you have in mind. It can be easy to think, “Hey, we’re all on the same page!” but when you get to the nitty-gritty of leading, you might find out some things about their leadership that you didn’t anticipate. What you discover might not be bad—you might find out something that’s actually valuable to the rest of the team!

Here are 10 questions to ask your leadership team to help better know their leadership style.

  1. What is your definition of success?
  2. What kind of example do you think that you set for your team?
  3. How do you solve problems?
  4. What skills do you think you need to develop?
  5. What’s the best way you can uphold company values?
  6. If you could change one thing about the culture of our workplace, what would it be and why?
  7. How can you encourage others on your team to be creative?
  8. What are your top three goals this quarter?
  9. What has your team done well this week?
  10. Are there any problems that you are anticipating this quarter?

You don’t have to ask these in an interview-style, one-on-one session, but these questions can come up throughout a quarter or through a month of meetings as a way to team build.

What is leadership’s impact on team dynamics?

The impact that leadership teams have on team dynamics is important to note. Attitudes, morale, perspective, expectations, and more flow from leadership to individuals on their teams. As team members interact with leadership, both individually and as a team, their thoughts about their job can become more negative or more positive based on leadership.

Generating and encouraging positive team dynamics separates great leaders from good leaders. If a leader can understand how each member of their team works and help them navigate working together, then they can produce an effective and happy team. It may take some time to get to know each person, but it’s worthwhile and helps the organization overall.

Forbes published an article that found only 30% of employees in the United States are engaged in their work, which can be directly correlated to how leadership, well, leads. As the ones responsible for their team, leaders have the opportunity to do some team building to increase employee engagement. Byproducts of increased employee engagement include increased satisfaction and productivity, which of course lead to better results in your organization. 

There are plenty of different ways to do team building, from taking your team off-site to doing activities online. Team building can help employees with their work-life balance, help you run effective meetings, and strengthen their overall wellness. These activities can also provide a smooth onboarding process for new team members and can be an additional form of training that your team goes through. 

Leadership teams can take their teams through these kinds of activities to strengthen team dynamics, but other kinds of managers can see success in team building, such as:

  • HR personnel
  • Business owners
  • Event planners

If you want a positive team dynamic, start with team building activities that can build trust and unity among your employees.


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5 Leadership Team Building Activities

Team building activities are one thing, but leadership-focused activities are another. These leadership team building activities and ideas can help your leaders get to know each other better and help them find more effective ways to lead together.

1. Minefield

This activity works on communication and trust! Teams of two (one will be blindfolded and the other will be the guide) will make their way through a “minefield” made up of different obstacles. You can set up the obstacles, such as office furniture, around a big conference room or make your way outside to the great outdoors and bring those obstacles to a nearby park or playground.

2. Skyscraper

This activity can be both frustrating and fun at the same time, all while building leadership skills and testing your leaders’ knowledge of physics. Gather everyday items from around the office such as newspaper, tape, string, coffee stirrers, and toothpicks. Divide your team into smaller groups and give them 10 minutes to build a skyscraper with their items. The team with the tallest skyscraper wins! To make it more challenging, you can give them the stipulation that their structure has to be strong enough to hold a marshmallow.

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3. Coat of Arms

A coat of arms or a family crest traditionally tells what a family’s values are through images. Have members of your leadership team each create their work-related coat of arms. They can cut out photos from magazines or search for images online. Give them about 15 minutes for this activity, and once they’re done, have them explain each image and why they chose it.

4. The Survival Game

The survival game asks the classic question, “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one thing, what would it be?” You can make this game more leader-focused by changing it up a little bit. Split team members into groups and allow them to choose 5 items off of a list of 10 that you provide, then ask them why they picked their items and why. You can also put each group in a different situation. Some of them might be on a desert island, others might be on a sinking ship, and some might be in a plane that’s about to crash.

5. What if?

This game will make your leadership team think through solutions to possible work situations. You can divide them up into teams or have everyone brainstorm their own individual answers. Give them scenarios that relate to issues with team dynamics, budget restrictions, employee training, and other real-life things that they would likely come across as they lead.

Let your leadership team lead!

Now that you’ve got the basics of what team leadership is and how it can positively impact your organization and employees, it’s time to let them do just that! If you’ve got a leadership team in place, start working on skills and activities to build their leadership. You can expect to see positive results both in the workplace and in your results as a company as you begin developing a strong leadership team.