Key Success Factor 1: Team Leadership *
Leading an IPT is a challenging and different role from classical line management. It requires a combination of good leadership principles and management skills coupled with a flexible style that leans heavily toward participation and cooperative relationships. A team leader must work with their team to create and build team performance. Team member sensitivity to the management style, task knowledge, and interpersonal skills of the team leader will significantly impact their perspective of the team and their role in it. A consistently autocratic team leader can quickly negate most of the gains from team empowerment and collaboration.
IPTs almost always have team leaders; they sometimes have co-leaders. Whether team leaders are permanently assigned or rotated periodically depends on the team's responsibilities and its organizational structure. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages and can be found within the DoN acquisition system. A permanent team leader lends stability to the team and provides a consistent management style and approach to task implementation. Rotating leadership provides an opportunity for leadership development and broadens team member perspectives. Building on diversity, developing people, sharing authority, staying flexible, and continuing to learn are essential traits and competencies for an IPT team leader.
The team leader has great influence over the team in setting performance standards, determining training and development, and developing a strategy for team success. In building team performance, the team leader and the team should determine the appropriateness of each key success factor and major process in the team model. As the team performs its work, various success factors and processes may be needed and can be acquired through just-in-time development or by individual team member training.
Team leaders play a major role in setting learning objectives and monitoring real-time team performance. They should think about the interactions among the key success factors and how to balance team development and task work. This tradeoff is always difficult because work demands are immediate and team development has a delayed payoff. Every team leader is challenged by this dilemma. Team leaders must also understand and manage the forces that make their teams effective and develop the right balance among these forces to optimize the teams relations with customers and other stakeholders.
* Navy IPT Learning Campus, Version 1.1.