Two years ago, I found myself as the part of the team that included the construction fabrication manager of a turnkey engineering project. As an expatriate employee, he had to take vacations at intervals. On one of such vacations, he instructed that I stood in for him for 3 weeks. My work was to oversee the various team leaders and interact with contractors who were also part of the whole process.

In handling the personnel working in those teams, I learnt very remarkable lessons with regards to performance, treatment of team members, and response to awry situations.

Any time a leader takes an action or doesn’t, a message is passed across. Treatment of an insubordination, overlooking a female employee’s indiscretion or complimenting a team member all pass across messages.

Our human frailties often play a role. We may naturally like an employee to the extent that we find it difficult to reprimand such a person. He or she becomes the golden goose. The others have taken note of your soft spot for the team member. Forgetting to compliment one and not the other may be taken sourly.

As an employee, you’re used to just focusing on your own assignments and deliverables – meeting targets, producing the required spreadsheets, closing a deal or calling a prospective client. Fast forward a few years, your resume is beaming with a retinue of remarkable ‘feats.’ It’s time for your ascension to a leadership position – you’ve got to lead a team.

[bctt tweet=”Leading a team means your result is dependent on the performance of others.”]

It’s a whole new world. Middle level leaders are often caught between people and machines/systems. It’s such a fearful position to be in, but nevertheless one that is full of prospects and exciting eventualities.