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Leading a team

Generations of social conditioning has ensured that women make good team players because of their ability to work in harmony with others and ability to work under a leader. Now, with women breaking the corporate glass ceiling, there are more leadership positions open to them. In the software industry, for instance, there has been an increase in the number of women project leaders.

The current industrial scenario requires a shift from women subordinates to women leaders. There are different skills for a subordinate role and different skills for leadership roles Women should learn to tap their inherent potential, develop their leadership skills, and project their leadership qualities as strengths.

Here are some of the difficulties that a woman team leader may face:

  • Some team members may be unwilling to work under a woman's leadership

  • Some team members may refuse to acknowledge their limitations to a woman

  • Some team members may refuse to take the leader seriously

Tactful handling is essential in overcoming these problems, as egos are fragile and easy to hurt! But a woman plays many roles in her life… daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, mother... where she has to deal with different people to be effective in her given role. Extending the same policy to the office will help maintain good inter-personal relationships as well as being a good leader.

Leadership and power:

Power is the ability to influence other people. For example, when you are a project leader, you are given positional power. You are able to express your authority because of the position you are in. However, this position of power is only temporary.

A good leader is one who shifts from positional power to empowering power - i.e., using power to develop skill and knowledge in others.

Your role will be to use the skills and knowledge of others appropriately to achieve team goals.

Here are some skills that will help you become a good team leader:

  • The ability to lead by example; to inspire other members of the team
  • The ability to listen to the opinions of team members, and not dominate meetings
  • The ability to encourage team members to give of their best
  • The ability to handle conflicts with tact and firmness
  • Being flexible enough to accommodate others' opinions and ideas
  • Accessible to all members of the team
  • Getting the team to respect the authority of the team leader
  • And, above all, getting the job done with maximum efficiency and minimum fuss.

A team is a group of people with diverse backgrounds, varied skills and abilities, and different experiences. The team leader must bring these different people together to work as a cohesive group. Tactful use of her authority and delegation of responsibility, along with the ability to understand each member of the team are vital qualities for a team leader.

Remember:

  • Set challenging goals
  • Do not let the failure of some part of the project jeopardise the entire project
  • Be assertive, not aggressive
  • Try to use conflict constructively
  • Assign responsible roles to deserving team members
  • When the goal is achieved, share the success with the others.

If you have the opportunity to join the growing community of women leaders, grab it! Make the best of it - for there will be many other women looking up to you and hoping to learn from you.

Also Checkout
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Navigating behaviour maze
How women handle emotions at work

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