How to Develop the Skills Needed to Become a Team Leader

An effective team leader has a vast range of characteristics and skills that enable him to lead and motivate team members to follow, to achieve optimal results in the workplace. Team leaders possess certain qualities and traits, including compassion, integrity and charisma and work on developing further leadership skills through experience, observation, reading and formal training.

It is important to develop leadership skills and traits that inspire the respect and trust of the team, encouraging and motivating increased production and harmony within the workplace.

team leader

Communication Skills

Good team leaders need to hone their active listening skills and elicit information through good questioning skills; hence it is imperative to develop excellent communication skills. It is a good idea to attend training that teaches communication techniques such as:

  • Rapport building
  • Building strong relationships with peers, subordinates and management
  • Public speaking skills
  • Strong negotiation skills
  • The skills of persuasion
  • Active listening skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Verbal and written Communication skills

In addition to training in communication skills, it is essential to practice these skills in a variety of settings to become a natural team leader, with excellent ability to communicate with your team members and others.

Facilitation Skills

Effective team leaders are powerful facilitators, helping the members of their team to understand and work towards their personal and work orientated goals by organising and implementing strategic action plans enabling efficient goal setting and meeting of objectives.

There are numerous facilitating workshops and courses available to further develop these skills.

Negotiating Skills

Team leaders have an ability to utilize their negotiation skills to achieve optimal results within the team. They are able to prevent or resolve workplace conflict. With effective negotiation skills, decision making is streamlined in the interest of everyone involved.

There are also many books written on this topic alone and training courses available which help you develop crucial negotiating skills enabling you to become a successful team leader inciting a harmonious work environment.


To be an effective team leader, it is necessary to develop your confidence skills and to develop the ability to instil confidence in members of your team. A confident leader feels secure in his decision-making abilities and reassures team leaders of his authority within the company. Develop your confidence via training, reading and practice.

Confident leaders are respectful to themselves and their team, which encourages respect by empowering and encouraging all team members.

Delegation Skills

This is another important skill for effective team leaders to develop, the ability to know when to delegate certain tasks to skilled and knowledgeable team members. This comes from effective staff observation, feedback, of obtaining information about the strengths and weaknesses of various team members.

With efficient delegating skills, the leader can focus on overall production and workplace functioning strategies.

Strategic Thinking Skills

A vital role as a team leader is to be able to think strategically. You need to be able to easily form a vision of what you want to achieve and have the ability and strategies in place to accomplish this vision each step of the way towards completion.

To develop strategic thinking skills, you need to determine where you are currently. It all begins from the present then have the ability to gather evidence, identify the desired future position through the intermediate milestones and implementing the actions required to overcome them.

Develop strategic thinking skills through formal training and workplace experience.

Problem Solving Skills

Problem solving skills are essential in the area of team leadership. To develop this skill it is important to maintain a positive attitude and a belief that problems offer learning opportunities and growth for each team member and the company. Know the stages of problem solving from identification, definition and communication of the problem to developing observational skills, fact finding and creating a clear picture and communicating this effectively. Look for potential solutions and action steps before making an evaluated decision for the most effective solution before structured implementation.

Self-motivation and Motivational Skills

It is of utmost importance to possess self-motivation skills to be a successful team leader. Practice self-motivation techniques in all areas of your life, as you will need to lead by example to gain trust and respect from your team members. If you lack motivation, it will be difficult to inspire your team members.

Many successful academics have written extensively on the topic of motivation theory, read up on this expertise and apply it to your own life, inside and out of work. It is key in developing useful leadership skills, ensuring you meet your own goals and enable the team to meet theirs.

Self-motivation allows you to develop good organisational skills in addition to time management skills and developing confidence and self-esteem.

When you fully understand what motivates you, intrinsically and extrinsically, you learn to use these motivating strategies on others, which is one of the most important features of effective team leadership. Develop motivational techniques from tried and tested professionals on yourself and your team members. Be analytical in the results rendered to ensure you are using motivational strategies that are effective within your work environment.

Other skills needed to be a successful team leader can be found via websites dedicated to skill building, professional training and qualifications, ongoing workshops and books by dedicated professionals on the subjects include:

  • Innovation Skills
  • Project Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Decision Making
  • Time Management
  • Understanding & Implementing Change
  • Managing Resistance to Change
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Giving & Receiving Feedback
  • Working in Groups
  • Coaching Skills
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Empathy
  • Assertiveness
  • Mediation Skills
  • Report Writing Skills

Leadership roles are everywhere, not just in the workplace. By being self-aware and observant, you can apply the skills gleaned from varying life experiences to lead professionally.

Not all people can be taught to be a leader; it takes certain personal qualities and traits which are apparent to the individual himself and those choosing workers for team leadership roles. Many successful leaders have never received any formal training in leadership, but if you have a vested interest in becoming a team leader, it is useful to look into formal leadership training courses to ensure you hone your leadership skills and qualities accordingly.