The role of a leader cannot be undermined when it comes to establishing the direction of a team. A leader plays a principal role in the organization’s success to achieve its goals effectively. When we look at literature, we realize that most of literature is focused on the common features of leadership and how it affects and influences the organization but few works of literature focus on leadership and team dynamics.
There are several approaches and theories when it comes to leadership and team dynamics. One example is known as the path-goal theory in which a leader influences the organization in achieving its goals by setting goals for and with the subordinates. So, the involvement of the leader with individual members to set expectations is barely minimum. There are other models which emphasize leadership progression as a key driver for the success of the team.
The general practice as to who will lead in a team depends on the seniority of individuals and their qualifications. Well-qualified or senior people are often preferred over others and are appointed to lead the team. There are some cases in which this traditional criterion is not followed while appointing a leader. Several staff members can be identified as team leaders although they fall behind in the seniority order. Research has been done to get an insight into such personalities. Being vocal and actively participating in team meetings and discussions at an early stage is a strong predictor of a team leader. Such that, individuals who actively participate in the initial team discussions usually end up leading the team. The passive personalities rarely end up leading the team.
Team members usually look for two important characteristics in the team leader. First, they focus on the social and emotional competencies of the individual. Members who are good at social dealings because of being adept in communication skills, and members who take into consideration the opinions and views of other members such that they have high emotional intelligence. The second characteristic that members look for in a team leader is their willingness, intensity, and frequency to get themselves involved in the problem-solving process. Being a team leader highly supports the transformational leadership concept.
A leader in a team is in a position of power and can impact others. A leader should persuade team members through words and actions, so the members act accordingly to drive the organization towards its goals and to achieve the desired values.