On life…and learning

5 Things You Should Say Today As A Team Leader

with 7 comments

LeadershipWhen I wrote my recent blog on ’10 Mean Things You Shouldn’t Say To Your Star Performers’, many of my readers, friends and colleagues, who were team-leaders themselves, asked my views on the things they should be saying to their teams. That made me think… for there isn’t any dearth of to-dos on this subject. Try googling, and you will get a laundry list of things leaders should be saying to their team-mates.

However, after much deliberation and digging into my own experience of observing leaders and managers and managing large, diverse teams, I am of the view that as a Team Leader, you should be saying these 5 things to your team, given the opportunity, daily:

  1. I am observing the efforts being put in by you. Thank you and keep up the good work. I am sure many subordinates don’t get to hear this sentence from their Team Leader. And worse, at time when they do hear it, it is mostly a lip-service done. Authentic and timely recognition is what a team looks for from their manager.

  2. Hey, all conflict is not necessarily negative. Let’s use it constructively to get better as a team. At times, two or more teammates, either in their pursuit of excellence or otherwise, enter into conflicts of all sorts. Affirmation from the leader that all conflict is not necessarily negative, will not only bring positive energy, but will also help teammates connect better, resolve the issue and not confuse conflict with personal vendetta or mala fide intentions.

  3. It is great that you disagree with me on this subject. I am sure It will bring a different view, let’s understand what you have in mind. This one’s a real big gap today. Leaders often have and/or demonstrate, sometimes inadvertently, big egos. Allowing your teammate to disagree with you is not only helpful in building an open culture, it also saves you from falling prey to the ‘The Boss knows it all syndrome.’

  4. Let me know if you need any help; I am there. All of us look for help from our leaders, and the need is all the more crucial when we fail or make mistakes. When the team hears its leader say that it is OK to fail, and that she will help if they do, it does wonders to the team’s morale and output.

  5. Hey, I told you that I will call you back when you reached out to me. Sorry, mate, I was not able to. Let’s connect quickly now. We all know boss is always busy; but if he is so busy that he forgets to call back most of the times, disconnects start. Even if you say this sentence once a day to one of your team-mate, albeit authentically, not only he, but others will also appreciate your leadership.

Are you a team-leader? Then do you agree with above? Please tap into your experience feel free to add to the above list.

Do you work with Team Leaders? Do you hear above sentences from your leaders? Do share your experiences.


Post-script: You would have observed the extra stress I have laid on the word ‘Authentic’. Well, that is the real key in leadership & communication. You may read about it in detail here (‘Are You An Authentic Leader’).

7 Responses

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  1. Awesome.

    Mohsin saifi

    mohsin saifi

    September 19, 2013 at 9:25 PM

  2. Thank You Sir, for a much needed insight… I think Every Team Leader should read this and implement. Taking out few minutes for the Right Communication with the team actualy works wonders… 🙂

    Sunanda Sharma

    September 20, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    • Sunanda, thank you for your comments. I am sure there are many leadership aspirants who would make note of these small little crucial things.


      September 20, 2013 at 11:41 PM

  3. I posted my comment and realized it was just a wishful thinking that every team leader should read that and implement.
    We can not decide who will read it and who will not… Implementation is in the second place. But Sir, do you think the team leaders can be trained for this? Or should they be..??? Trained for considering the point of view of their subordinates and their responsibility towards them, for saying those right things when needed? With some measurable factors which should be visible to them directly.
    Or does this depend upon the attitude and nature of the team leader only?

    Sunanda Sharma

    September 21, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    • Sunanda, you have posed few very important questions here. Let me answer them as I think:

      Can managers be trained to be better leaders? While a plethora of leadership development programs claim to do just that, I am a little wary of this scholastic approach. The necessary skills of leadership can be imbibed by learning, reading and developing – and it all starts with SELF. The leadership aspirant must be self-aware and willing to work on herself to better his leadership style and capabilities. Here, the key help to her could be good reading, seeking 360 degree feedback and being open to developing and changing. Training programs can help, only if the candidate is a willing recipient.

      Organizations today, though, are doing a lot in this regard. Leadership development is a big ask for today’s times. Yet, I can see a lot of lip-service – in form of surveys and inventories and trainings – yet little intention towards real, impacting development. Consequently, the rate/degree of visible improvement is slower than it should be.

      However, on the other hand, I do see a surge in own efforts of several leadership aspirants and the young brigade. This class is quite willing to make positive changes in self, are more accommodating and less hierarchical in mindset, leading to my hope that better days are ahead.

      And the biggest driver would be youngsters like you, who would motivate and urge everyone around to be better leaders; it all starts with one being a better, authentic person first. So, keep it up… I am sure this positive force move necessary mountains.


      September 21, 2013 at 11:09 AM

  4. Thank You Sir, it made the things clear now. And as you said it actually starts with the SELF. I think the discrepancies in the results of such training programs arise because there is more emphasis on the content and the delivery ( No doubt important factors to be considered always) than its reception by trainees and the Willingness and confidence to implement it even after the program is over. I think there can be hope if the programs are designed right.

    Sunanda Sharma

    September 21, 2013 at 10:09 PM

  5. Sir, this is a very good read. Every leader should read this to handle & influence their team mates in a positive manner

    Gurpreet Singh

    September 25, 2013 at 8:57 PM

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