MP recently caught up with Dmitriy Kondratiev, an Idaho-based international law attorney with over twelve years of experience. Kondratiev is also the CEO of LLC.Services.
What are three non-negotiable things a team leader must do for their team, and why?
Coach the Members
A team leader should coach team members and help develop their skills to achieve the team’s goals and expected results.
Identify Team Strengths and Their Weaknesses and Offer Feedback
Effective team leaders should identify their team members' strengths and weaknesses and find ways to improve their weaknesses. A team leader should also offer feedback to boost engagement and steer the team in the right direction.
Calmly Resolve Conflict
Teams consist of people with different personalities and beliefs. So, conflicts are not uncommon. A team leader should resolve conflicts and prevent them if possible.
How important is it for a team leader to provide feedback, how detailed and frequently should feedback be delivered, and why?
It is very important for a team leader to offer feedback because it helps foster better relationships amongst the team. Feedback also assesses progress, ensures everybody is on track and steers the team in the right direction to avoid mistakes and wasted time.
The feedback should be detailed to foster healthy communication and give deeper insights into what everyone on the team can do to improve their focus, effort, and productivity to achieve desired results. Feedback should be done regularly, at least once a week.
How do you determine what things to delegate and the team members to delegate things to, and how has this changed over time?
To determine what to delegate, identify if the task is something another team member can handle or if it is sensitive and you need to handle it yourself. Also, see if someone else is competent enough to complete the task or not.
As for the team members to delegate to, earlier, I mentioned it is important for a team leader to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their team members. Delegate a task according to the member’s strengths. If the task can help develop their skill, or if they have previously done it exceptionally well, you can delegate it to them.
Previously, delegation was uncommon. Currently, delegation is seen as a tool that helps build and advance skills among team members.
How important is it for a team leader to communicate with their team, and how detailed should such communications be?
Communication is essential because it helps to share the team leader’s vision and understand and implement it. Communication should be simple and as detailed as possible.
What are three communications mistakes you’ve made with teams in your charge, and how could those mistakes have been avoided?
Overloading My Team With Information
I thought communicating with my team meant giving them information. I ignored how I relayed the information, so I bombarded them with information, not knowing it would be counterproductive. Now, I avoid this by selecting my communication channels and dividing the information into chunks, detailing each point to avoid overwhelming them.
A team consists of human beings whose minds may be engaged or might miss some key points in your talk. I have learned to repeat my messages since repetition helps with emphasis and ensures everyone is on the same page.
Holding Back the Truth
Sometimes, there is some bad news you want to hide from employees or some truths you don’t want them to know. Not being transparent loses trust with your team, which could be hard to gain back. I now tell them the truth, and we develop solutions together.
How have you used conflict resolution as a team leader, and what conflict resolution principles should team leaders know about, and why?
Yes, I have. I believe in three principles of conflict resolution. First, listen actively to understand the conflict's source and make each party feel heard and considered. Second, focus on the problem. In my experience, conflicts are often emotional and could attack the people involved instead of focusing on the problem. Third, agree on a way forward. After addressing the problem, you can have both parties find a suitable and fair way forward that they agree to.
How do you approach building relationships within your team, where is the line drawn that shouldn’t be crossed, and why?
Listening actively is the most valuable way to build relationships with your team. Showing them their opinion matters and that you consider their thoughts is the first step to cementing your relationship. Being empathetic and recognizing their emotions and having a reward system where you acknowledge your team’s effort helps foster a good relationship with your team.
I draw the line at past work-related talks. Non-work-related topics like religion, politics, or romance should be avoided to avoid favoritism, counter-productivity, and a hate culture in the workplace.
What are three unique team leadership mistakes you see entrepreneurs make, and how can these mistakes be avoided?
1. Struggling To Fix Everything
Entrepreneurs want what is best for their business and try to fix everything. However, you waste a lot of time and effort. Provided the team has enough resources, let them struggle to develop solutions instead of always trying to save the day.
2. Micromanaging Your Team
Yes, you own the business and want everything to be successful. However, micromanaging your team does more harm. Trust your team and their skills, and give them the freedom to do their work; their results may surprise you.
3. Lacking Humility
Do you admit your mistakes to your team? Everyone has something new to learn. So, don’t be afraid to recognize your failures and admit you are wrong.
Responses provided by Dmitriy Kondratiev, Legal Board Advisor at LLC.services.