how team leaders show support

8 10 2005

in my regular ramblings around the web i ran into this interesting interview, how team leaders show support – or not with teresa ambile at harvard business school working knowledge.  ambile is an expert on leadership and creativity.  in the interview she outlines 4 types of behavior project team leaders use to to positively effect team members performance and 3 types team leaders use that negatively effect team member performance.

Employees’ perceptions of team leader support were more positive when the leader engaged in four types of effective behavior: 

  • monitoring the work effectively
  • giving timely feedback
  • reacting to problems in the work with understanding and help
  • providing socio-emotional support
  • showing support for a team member’s actions or decisions
  • helping alleviate stressful situations for subordinates
  • socializing
  • keeping team members informed about stressful situations
  • addressing subordinates’ negative feelings
  • disclosing personal information
  • recognizing good work privately and publicly
  • consulting subordinates about the work
  • asking for team members’ ideas and opinions
  • acting on subordinates’ ideas or wishes

hit the button below to read the rest.

  • avoiding solving problems
  • creating problems

my experiences both as a team leader and as a team member confirm ambile’s findings.  i know that when i’ve fallen into the trap of micro-managing it’s always been a disaster.  but when i hire good people, give them the room to work and the resources they need, and act as "team cheerleader;" the teams i’ve lead have exceeded every expectation others, i, and even they themselves had of the work to be acheived.

the one warning i’d add to ambile’s work though is that the ability to behave in the positive mode she outlines can be hard work for a manager. it requires deep trust of your team members, a willingness to let them create something that might run counter to your instincts, and a understanding that failure will happen but your job as team leader is to help the team get up and move forward just when you want most to scream at them.

any thoughts?  hit the comment button below and speak up!


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