If you lead a team, this one is for you

By 16th September 2021QED Leadership Lens, Resource

The start of a new semester often brings a new energy to strategy and purpose.  One thing I’ve learned over many years of working with organisations is that it is all too easy to get caught up in the bigger issues of organisational leadership – and far too easy to forget the individual humans who are led. Yes, values and purpose and culture matter – but the individual’s experience of work is much more local and particular. The primary concern starts in an individual’s team – and only when that is “right” can it move to the bigger organisational picture.

So – if you lead a team – what questions are you asking yourself?

As a team leader, are you both competent and compassionate?  It doesn’t seem much to ask but it’s alarming to note that research suggests that one of the most stressful parts of most people’s work lives is the time spent with their immediate leader.

Questions that might help you to reflect on your role as a team leader include the following:

  • Does each individual feel clear about her/his role and where it fits with others’ – what are we doing and why?
  • Does each individual feel respected and recognised?
  • Can issues be safely raised and are they addressed and resolved?
  • Is conflict at work about the right stuff and is it managed appropriately?
  • Do we make any real progress on the things that matter?

And, if the answer to any of these is “no” or “maybe”, what are you doing to remedy the situation?

Because when people head back to work, the first thoughts or energies will not be about lofty organisational issues. The first instinct will be assessing how they feel about returning to the small group they work with and interacting with that leader.

How will that assessment rate?  Because that’s what largely determines the focus and energy and goodwill that’s available to our organisations when we restart.

If you have any thoughts on the above, we would love to hear from you.


Joan Baker

Leadership Consultant

QED Associate (Leadership)