Team leader vs. Team player: The difference and why it matters

Apr 01, 2016 | Posted by admin in Faculty Talk   No Comments »

Business is largely a team sport. Without a good coach, no amount of team spirit or unique skill can help the players. A team leader is someone who is goal-oriented and keeps the team on course by facilitating communications and mediating conflicts between the members. He aligns work with company goals, management’s demands or clients’ needs. He establishes and communicates the goals which are adopted by the team members. A team leader also trains and evaluates the team. Such an individual has strong communications skills and an expansive vision for the projects at hand.

According to Prof. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director and Principal, L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research (WeSchool), rather than a skill that someone is born with, leadership is more like an outcome of a process. His own process in the journey to leadership involved asking himself, ‘Do I take the lead, do I have the initiative, do I have the commitment?

Welingkarites are groomed to become good leaders. They are taught that it’s the efficiency and progress of a team which decide how good its leader really is.

“Leaders should be measured not only on their own accomplishments but also on the progress of each member of their team in professional development efforts.” believes Prof. Salunkhe.

Just as leaders can be made, members too can be coached to become team players. Team players are essentially good team members. These productive members value group camaraderie, thrive on collaboration and are enthusiastic about their team’s shared goal. A team player always puts the team’s success before his own. He follows through tasks although he might not be the greatest of initiators.

Prof. Uday Salunkhe is of the view that it’s important for a leader to make others feel that their work has purpose and meaning beyond the tasks which they perform each day. If a team is meeting targets, it’s because the members are optimally motivated. A leader can only motivate the members when he knows what motivates them. Familiarity with their talents and aspirations can be easily achieved by working alongside the team and spending quality time with members. A participative leader decides on the team objectives in collaboration with the members after evaluating their inputs.

A good team leader is charismatic and not miserly with knowledge. He can relate to the team members, guide them through problems and even share a few laughs. He gains respect by showing them through example how to perform a task before he delegates work.

To be a good team leader, a manager must be a good team player first and encourage his team members to become team players too. However, being an effective team leader means maintaining a balance between interpersonal relations and authority with the team members. Such a leader never forgets his informational and decisional role as coach and mentor.

To summarize, all team members should be team players, and though, not all team players are team leaders, all team leaders ought to be team players and more.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved. Designed by Singapore SEO SEO Blog  SEO Web Design  Mind Movies