Team Leaders Play a Critical Role
Have you ever been on a project that just seemed to fly—everyone enjoying the energy from an effective team? Or have you been in a project that seemed to flop—lack of confidence, days dragging on? Sure, we all have been in one situation or the other at one time.
Team leaders play a huge role in the success of a project. In a typical project where there are committees, champions, project managers, and analysts, team leaders are usually at the center of activity. The results of their work stand out…good or bad.
Analysts rely on excellent direction from their team leader. The project manager, who is masterminding the project, communicates objectives and deliverables to team leaders. Without an effective, firm, driven leader across every team, the analysts in the trenches would have no direction, and the project manager would have no way to obtain the project’s deliverables. If that happens, chances are your project will flop. A team leader is the “middleman”—and communication and effectiveness are the team lead’s keys to being successful.
The Difference in Success or Failure Can Come Down to the Team Lead
Atlanticon has been part of hundreds of projects: some that are successful, and some that just barely succeed. Some that allow the team to emerge with smiles, proud of a job well executed, and some in which the team emerges drained and exhausted from a hard-fought battle. What makes the difference? In most cases, it boils down to the quality of the team leaders.
Too Proud to Fail
One of our clients put together a team that did a particularly extraordinary job. The team leaders were all outstanding individuals, competitive in a cohesive way, sometimes using humor to keep spirits high. Proud of their roles, they recognized that they represented a link in a chain. Each team leader was intent on not being the weak link that broke that chain.
During weekly project meetings, each would report his or her progress proudly, ask for help when needed, keep their portion of the plan updated, and speak clearly about what tasks lay ahead. They “GOT” it—they understood that the project could suffer if their team faltered, and they worked as a team to make sure the project manager got what she needed and that their team members accomplished their tasks. Each team leader truly managed his or her portion of the project.
We have also been in projects where one or two of the team leaders just weren’t comfortable in their positions. Too much other work on their plates, lack of communication skills, failure to follow a plan, or a negative attitude—all contributed to a weakness that was felt throughout the entire project. Others had to pick up the slack when this happened, causing their own teams to struggle.
How to Succeed
In order for a project to fly and not flop, the organization must be willing to do these four things:
- – Assign team leaders based on their drive to succeed and their ability to lead and remove them from other distracting duties.
- – Occasionally enlist the help of a team building expert who can energize and help a team maximize their effectiveness.
- – Be willing to replace a team leader if he or she isn’t working out. (Other teams shouldn’t have to be further challenged by having to pick up the slack and suffer a loss of morale.)
- – Train your team leads the value of project management. They don’t need to be PMI Certified but find a way to educate them. Atlanticon offers 8-hour project coaching sessions, tailored to your needs.
When an organization puts together a team, it must make sure that the team leaders are the right people. They must be enthusiastic, diligent, and above all, proud.
If you would like to discuss this article and/or the team structure that’s right for your EMR project, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.