Team leadership

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In team management , a manager influences a team or individual members of the working group within the framework of the operational management concept , taking into account the respective group situation and using management tools , towards a joint group success (e.g. group performance ).

Team leadership means the function of controlling the framework in which the team develops its full potential. The organizational embedding (e.g. budgets, resource procurement, technical infrastructure) is just as important as the cooperation with external contact persons (e.g. suppliers, buyers, customers and donors) and the design of forms of leadership (e.g. Decision-making, commitments, reporting) and cooperation (e.g. error culture , trust building or conflict handling).

Team leadership is carried out by executives as team leaders in organizational units such as universities, schools, companies, authorities, in the military and in sports clubs. It is also known as group management and team management. In educational psychology today one speaks of class management.

Group dynamics is the science that deals with group processes and their control.

According to Weinert , managers today are poorly or not at all prepared for team leadership in many cases . This is why there is a great need for information on group leadership, both in leadership practice and in academia.

Social psychological group research

Social psychological group research (in particular organizational and personnel and leadership psychology , human resource management) has been dealing with the phenomenon of team and group leadership for many years. According to Lutz von Rosenstiel , however, there is no comprehensive and meaningful theory.

In an essay on group leadership in 1972, Bastine showed how dependent general leadership behavior is on group variables and mentions in particular:

  • Group size
  • External environment of the group
  • Group task
  • Personal group composition
  • Group norms and
  • Hierarchical level

In addition, the qualifications and motivation of the people led, the resources available for the group or the manager and the standards of the respective organization can be named.

The current social-psychological group research comes under a. to the following results:

  • Leading groups is different from individual leadership
  • Leading a team is considerably more complex than leading individuals
  • The efficient management of teams requires research into separate management tools.

From this knowledge it can be deduced that management tools should not only be developed for individual group members, but also for teams (cf. Horst-Joachim Rahn ).

Leadership of individual group members

The first thing to do is to present theses on how to lead individual group members, before going into the leadership of entire groups. With regard to the leadership of individual group members, the following theses must be distinguished:

  • A high-performing group member should be encouraged through appropriate performance incentives, e.g. B. through realization, participation, work and development and status incentives. Above-average performance is to be commended.
  • An informal group leader should also be encouraged as a positive group star, as he is intensively committed to group life and the achievement of group goals. His contributions are to be appreciated by the manager in an interview.
  • An ambitious person is seen in the group as an unpleasant nerd who ruthlessly asserts his own interests without team spirit. He is to be slowed down by the manager, as he only has his own career in mind and plays purely individual roles .
  • An intriguer is to be stopped by the superior if he engages in bullying and acts insidiously towards his colleagues because of his wrong attitude. The group is to be protected from his intrigues.
  • A poorly performing person is to be encouraged as a can-not type so that he or she combats his lack of drive or improves his knowledge and skills. The causes of weakness are to be looked for.
  • A slacker is to be lured out of his performance reserve as a will-not-type and encouraged so that he suppresses his comfort motives. He should come to understand that his behavior is harming the group.
  • A cheerful nature or a balancing type are to be valued by the manager with regard to their behavior, e.g. B. by recognizing their group contributions or by appreciating their group maintenance roles.
  • A group clown can be slowed down by benevolent severity, as he drives the whole group with his excessive jokes to unbridled exuberance and his behavior dissuades the group from performing.
  • A cheeky guy is also to be slowed down if he provokes the manager, appears uncontrolled and sometimes presumptuous towards the manager. In order to take countermeasures, one must always look for the reasons for the cheek.
  • A newcomer is to be integrated into the group by the manager so that he is accepted and accepted by the whole group as soon as possible, e.g. B. through individual or group discussions, assignment of a mentor or sponsor.
  • The shy guy usually lacks the courage to show his knowledge and skills to the outside world. He is to be encouraged by the manager so that he can combat his inhibitions and fears.
  • A problem-laden guy had to accept hard blows of fate. He is to be encouraged by the manager so that he can get over his problems, i. That is, there is hope, understanding and offering concrete help.
  • An outsider is also to be integrated into the group because he is the black sheep of the group and is not accepted by the majority of the group members because he is e.g. B. constantly violates group norms.

Leadership of teams

Compared to the management of individual group members outlined above, the collective management of teams is a significantly more complex undertaking. There are the following theses on this:

  • The high-performance teams are to be encouraged by the manager through appropriate work incentives and challenged by demanding activities. The cohesion of the group is strengthened through group praise.
  • The underperforming teams have to be encouraged by the manager to overcome their weaknesses. For this it is necessary to find out the causes. Anyone who, as a superior, sees weak groups as failures from the outset, turns them into such.
  • The teams with performance reserves are to be encouraged in such a way that the group goals are achieved, e.g. B. through opportunities to participate, arouse curiosity, through challenges and through activation of self-esteem .
  • The restless teams and, above all, the groups of chaos , who stand out for their naughty behavior, are to be slowed down with kind and understanding severity so that they are put on the right path.
  • The problem-laden teams are to be encouraged by the manager so that they can overcome their difficulties and find performance, e.g. B. through active listening, encouragement and helpfulness.
  • The silent teams should also be encouraged to give them more self-confidence and courage. Harsh reprimands should be avoided. Group conversations can help these groups be more engaging.
  • The new teams must be integrated into the organization so that they can soon establish themselves and find acceptance, e.g. B. through targeted information, introductory seminars, training, assignment of a group mentor.

Successful team leadership

Successful team leadership depends on:

  • the personality of the leader, which is reflected in the individual structure of a manager, e.g. B. through the realization of personal identity, intelligence, character and independent behavior.
  • the management tools used by the manager , e.g. B. Instructions, incentives (e.g. remuneration, motivation), information, discussions, delegating, praise, reprimand, sanctions, assessments.
  • the group members whose characteristics and behaviors significantly influence the type of leadership, e.g. B. Motives, knowledge, skills, expectations, role characteristics, drives and health.
  • the team as a whole, the structure of which affects the leadership of the group, e.g. B. the group size, the group task, the group cohesion and the composition of the group.
  • the situation of the team, which is shaped by the private environment of the group, its work situation, the overall situation of the organization and its environment (e.g. climate, economic situation).
  • the fulfillment of goals , which consist of performance goals of the team (e.g. better grades, more turnover, higher performance quantities), maintenance goals (less absenteeism in the team) and satisfaction goals of the group members.

If a team is to be successful, it must be led by its leader accordingly. The team success consists of:

  • The group performance that reveals the objective result achieved through the activities of those involved. Sometimes it can be measured relatively easily by checking whether the performance targets (target values) have been met.
  • The group maintenance success, which is shown in the cohesion of the group members, for example when they help each other. This behavior in the group can ensure their continued existence, e.g. B. through lower fluctuation.
  • The individual success, which results from the degree of job satisfaction of the individual group member. The fulfillment of the satisfaction goals can be determined by observation or questioning.

Success-oriented executives or group members should behave in such a way that both performance-related and maintenance-related success as well as individual success are achieved.


  • R. Bastine: Group tour. In: CF Graumann (Ed.): Handbuch der Psychologie. Volume VII: Social Psychology. 2nd half volume, Göttingen 1972, pp. 1654-1709.
  • RM Belbin: Management Teams. 2nd Edition. Oxford 2003.
  • HG Gemünden, M. Högl (Hrsg.): Management of teams. Wiesbaden 2000.
  • S. Kauffeld: Team diagnosis. Göttingen 2001.
  • JS Kounin: Classroom Management Techniques. Münster u. a. 2006.
  • S. Pietruschka: Leadership of self-regulating working groups. Munich / Mering 2003.
  • HJ Rahn: Successful team leadership. 6th edition. Hamburg 2010.
  • L. v. Rosenstiel: Fundamentals of organizational psychology. 6th edition. Stuttgart 2007.
  • L. v. Rosenstiel: Communication in working groups. In: H. Schuler (Ed.): Textbook Organizational Psychology. 3. Edition. Bern / Göttingen / Toronto / Seattle 2004, p. 408 ff.
  • AB Weinert: Organizational and Personal Psychology. 5th edition. Weinheim / Basel 2004.
  • J. Wegge: Leadership of working groups. Göttingen / Bern / Toronto / Seattle 2004.
  • T. Senninger, A. Weiß: group, team, top team. The team leadership manual. Ökotopia Verlag, Münster 2011, ISBN 978-3-86702-154-8 .

Individual evidence

  1. a b A. B. Weinert: Organizational and Personal Psychology. 5th edition. Weinheim / Basel 2004, p. 515.
  2. ^ HG Gemünden, M. Högl (ed.): Management of teams. 2nd Edition. Wiesbaden 2001, p. 7 ff.
  3. L. v. Rosenstiel: Fundamentals of organizational psychology. 6th edition. Stuttgart 2007, p. 290 ff.
  4. ^ T. Seidel: Class leadership. In: E. Wild, J. Möller (Ed.): Pedagogical Psychology. Heidelberg 2009, pp. 136-148.
  5. L. v. Rosenstiel: Fundamentals of organizational psychology. 6th edition. Stuttgart 2007, p. 339.
  6. ^ R. Bastine: Group tour. In: CF Graumann (Ed.): Handbuch der Psychologie. Volume VII: Social Psychology. Göttingen 1972, p. 1654 f.
  7. ^ HJ Rahn: Successful team leadership. 6th edition. Hamburg 2010, pp. 61–119.