Steering A Team Through Deep Waters

Leading a team can be tricky business when members have so many different personality and work styles. Even though diverse opinions and ideas are critical for innovation, leaders need to have the skills to successfully connect the team players. When a project steers a team down a deep, divided path, great leaders must navigate carefully by drawing on the strengths of the different working styles. Here are some hints on how to bring out the best in each individual while keeping a confluence of enthusiastic personalities on course.


  • Lead with openness: Be the kind of leader that is open-minded to personality and working styles different from your own. If you tend to be more methodical in how you approach work, it may be challenging to deal with a spontaneous decision maker. It is however in the team’s best interest, to realize that your approach is not the only way to tackle a project. In fact, the most successful leaders develop strategies to connect with a team member’s particular style. If a team member prefers to get their assignments in a written format with detail, then leadership should try to present the workload in that format.
  • Lead with honesty: Above all, be truthful to yourself and your team to achieve great end results. Honesty is the cornerstone of any team’s success. It is imperative for a leader to create a culture of trust and transparency. When team members sense a feeling of honesty in their workplace they speak up more often and are not afraid to make mistakes. When there are no hidden agendas and people can speak freely, better decisions will be made and deadlines will be met. There is no place for game playing when steering a team.
  • Lead with direction: When taking the reigns of your team, always be clear in your purpose and vision. When your team has a clear understanding of where they are going and why, there is a higher probability of achieving your goals. Another helpful strategy in staying on track is to create precise objectives for each of your goals and coach the team how to do the same. Breaking the goals down into smaller milestones is a great way to measure the progress of obtaining a goal. Provide feedback periodically to make sure milestones are truly met.
  • Lead by integration: All aboard together! A great leader can combine the best ideas and research so all team members will feel part of the final result. Being able to include input from everyone is empowering to the team members. Conduct working meetings where the entire team shares their suggestions and project work. Individuals should feel that at least their ideas were heard even if they are not included in the final presentation.

What ways have you found can help lead a team through deep waters, while navigating different working and personality styles? I welcome all comments and suggestions.

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