Team leadership is an important aspect of team performance within organizations. Stagel, Salas, and Burke (2007) have summarized the findings from the team leadership literature into twenty best practices, including:
- Define and create interdependencies.
- Reinforce task interdependencies with congruent goals and feedback.
- Identify who is responsible and accountable for outcomes.
- Designate the team’s decision making authority.
- Strive to keep teams intact.
- Exercise authority to establish a compelling direction.
- Stimulate and inspire by challenging the status quo.
- Instill collective aspirations via a common mission.
- Provide consequential direction to fully engage talent.
- Promote self-goal setting, self-observation, and self-reward.
- Establish norms for how the team scans its environment for opportunities and what teams must and cannot do to seize opportunities.
- Allocate the optimal number and mix of personnel.
- Implement team-based performance-contingent rewards.
- Institutionalize multi-tiered reward systems.
- Ensure provided information is performance targeted.
- Negotiate access to sensitive information if it facilitates planning and selection of performance strategies.
- Provide and secure developmental opportunities.
- Utilize prebriefings to instill shared affect, cognition, and behavior.
- Offer novel task performance strategies.
- Engage teams in a two-way discussion of lessons learned and how they can be utilized to address challenges on the horizon.
These twenty best practices have, in turn, been consolidated into a framework of five conditions for team effectiveness based on the work of J. Richard Hackman, Ph.D. Dr. Hackman is the author of “Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performance.” The five conditions, with their corresponding best practices listed in parentheses, are:
- A real team (#1-5)
- Compelling direction (#6-9)
- Enabling structure (#10-12)
- Supportive organizational context (#13-17)
- Expert coaching (#18-20)
The authors close the chapter with the following observation:
“Team leaders who spend a majority of their time establishing these five conditions rather than directly intervening in team performance will likely find that their teams are increasingly capable and willing to adaptively respond in a coordinated manner, and thus they and their teams will ultimately be deemed more effective in the wild” (p. 197).
If you have an interest in increasing team performance within your organization, I’d suggest taking the time to read this chapter.
Stagl, K. C., Salas, E., & Burke, C. S. (2007). Best practices in team leadership: What team leaders do to facilitate team effectiveness. In J.A. Conger & R.E. Riggio (Eds.), The practice of leadership: Developing the next generation of leaders (pp. 172-197). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.