12 min read

10 Free Team Leadership Tools We Love

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The best teams are aligned, focused, collaborative, and communicate frequently. For those in team leadership roles, leveraging online tools is the secret to increasing connectivity, efficiency, and productivity whether you’re working in-person, remotely, or a blend of the two. 

While there are many well-known tools that leaders use to facilitate collaboration among employees such as Google Docs, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom, we wanted to feature nine of the lesser-known free team leadership tools we love to use.

tool for tracking your team's tasks

Team leadership requires managing multiple projects, with multiple team members contributing to the completion. Spreadsheets, word documents, and whiteboards for task management are a time sink. Fortunately, with the help of technology, there’s a better way.

Project Management by ClickUp

ClickUp is an online collaboration and productivity tool designed for teams. ClickUp allows users to create an unlimited amount of tasks and sort them by project or owner. The cloud-based platform has a “free forever” plan, which makes it a great entry-level option for team task management.

ClickUp Online Collaboration and Productivity Tool

WHY WE LOVE IT

Staying connected and organized on multiple projects when collaborating with team members is always hard, but is even harder if you’re working remotely. However, making the effort is worth it as it was found that employee productivity increases by 25% in organizations where employees are connected. ClickUp makes it easy to stay connected with their free solution. They offer a fairly robust project management tool so team leaders can instantly see the status of projects, and team members no longer have to send in status reports, making it a win-win for all.

 

tools for leading team meetings

Team meetings are an opportunity to bring team members together to share updates, collaborate on problems, develop solutions, and build relationships and trust. To ensure your next team meeting is effective, we’ve compiled 4 online tools we love to use during team meetings.

Icebreaker questions by range.co

This website has over 300 icebreaker questions categorized by “new teams,” “tight-knit teams,” and “tough questions.” They are a great way to kick off a team meeting and get the conversation flowing. 

Icebreaker Questions for Team Meetings by Range

WHY WE LOVE IT

An icebreaker at the beginning of a team meeting allows everyone to get to know each other better and sets the stage to encourage participation throughout the meeting. When we know others on a deeper level, it develops relationships, and relationships are key for building trust. These thought-provoking questions are sure to result in learning something new about those around you.

 

Visual Brainstorming by MindMeister

MindMeister is a free online tool that allows teams to collaborate, visualize, share, and present their ideas in real-time via the cloud. Even better, your team can quickly comment on topics, vote on ideas, or discuss changes in the integrated chat.

Visual Brainstorming to Encourage Collaboration Among Employees by MindMeister

WHY WE LOVE IT

Running a virtual team meeting can be difficult when you don’t have the tools typically found in the office to facilitate brainstorming such as whiteboards and chart paper. Use this tool on your next virtual team meeting to take brainstorming to the next level.

 

Meeting Notes by Google Keep

Google Keep allows you to quickly record, share, and collaborate on meeting notes, follow-ups, and to-do’s generated at team meetings. Google Keep features include voice dictation, filter search, and reminders for dates, times, and even when you reach a certain location.

Team Meeting Note Taker from GoogleKeep

WHY WE LOVE IT

Effective team meetings include following up post-meeting with the decisions made and the items that need to be actioned. Google Keeps allows you to share meeting notes and to-do lists that team members can collaborate on and update in real-time. 

 
 

Team Alignment by Niagara Institute

This editable worksheet was designed to facilitate discussion on team goals, strengths, milestones, values, barriers, and connectivity to drive team alignment.

Team Alignment Editable Worksheet from Niagara Institute

 

WHY WE LOVE IT

In a survey by Clear Company, 97% of employees believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. When team members are aligned on their purpose, values, and outcome they’re trying to achieve, it helps ensure everyone’s daily activities are contributing to and driving the team towards the defined goal. This worksheet is a great way for team leaders to facilitate alignment and as a reminder document that is commonly referenced in team meetings.

 

tools for Team Communication

Frequent, clear, and concise communication is the backbone of any high-performance team. Each team member must speak with clarity on the status of their tasks and projects and their roadblocks and issues they’re facing so the other team members are aware of what the other team members are doing to reduce delays, mistakes, and redundancies.

Video recording and sharing by vidyard

While this platform was originally designed for sales professionals, Vidyard is a free video recording platform that truly anyone can use. With its easy Google Chrome plugin, Vidyard allows users to record an unlimited number of webcam and screen recordings up to one hour in length for free. You can then send your videos using a link so your recipients don't have to download any attachments. 

Video Communication Platform for Teams by Vidyard

WHY WE LOVE IT

According to Forrester Research, employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails, or web articles. So, the next time you need to send an important message, try using a video instead. With Vidyard it couldn’t be easier to record internal how-to videos, where you record yourself speaking so the user can see you and your screen as you go through a new process or use a new piece of software.

 

Team Chat and Collaboration by Chanty

Free for teams up to 10 members, Chanty is an online platform that allows teams to communicate and collaborate via public and private messaging, one-to-one voice calls, and file sharing. With built-in searchable history and 20GB of file storage, Chanty is a great free option for small teams getting started with cloud collaboration tools.

Team Chat and Collaboration by Chanty

WHY WE LOVE IT

With the overwhelming amount of emails each team member receives in a day, important updates, documents, and threads can get lost. So much so it was found that 60.8% of employees ignore emails at work. Having a platform that promotes collaboration among employees on a team is ideal for keeping team members up to date, information organized, and a historical tracking system to refer back to.

 

tool for Hosting one on one meetings

One on one meetings are crucial to a team leader's success as they allow you to closely manage employee engagement, professional development, and job satisfaction. Not to mention, the dedicated time they provide with each individual is an opportunity to build a relationship, receive status updates, offer constructive feedback, and provide guidance. 

1:1 meeting Toolkit by Niagara Institute

Designed for busy leaders, this downloadable toolkit provides those in people management roles with a checklist for hosting one on one meetings, an agenda and template for sending check-in meeting requests, and a list of questions to ask to encourage dialogue.

One on one meeting toolkit by Niagara Institute

WHY WE LOVE IT

In a GrooveHQ article, it was said that “if an employee is having a bad day or week, or is unhappy in their role, or if just about anything else is wrong in their eyes, it’s easy to hide it. And that’s very scary. Cultures where important things get left unsaid are unproductive, unpleasant, and frankly toxic to the business. Without any encouragement or processes for pulling those important things out of people, we were in danger of building that kind of culture.” One on one meetings are that process. Not only do they allow you to solidify your relationships, engage in honest two-way communication, and build an employee’s trust, they also allow you to identify potential problems before they have a chance to get out of hand.

 

tool for time tracking

Whether you're leading a fully remote, hybrid, or location-based team, time tracking is critical, especially if your team is working on client projects. According to Paymo, which is our tool of choice in this category, time tracking also helps you identify non-essential/wasteful tasks, improve time estimates so no one gets overextended and burnt out, and of course, get accurately paid. 

time tracking app by paymo

Paymo began as a time tracking app back in 2018 but has since expanded to provide professionals with countless other productivity and work management solutions. It's great because it allows small businesses, agencies, consultants, and freelancers who handle multiple client projects to track their time, monitor finances, and organize resources in one place.

Time Tracking by Paymo

 

WHY WE LOVE IT

Unlike some other free tools, Paymo gives up to 10 users on an account access to native time tracking, time entries, time reports, and much more. Not to mention, the free account gives you access to the desktop and mobile app so you can track your time offline, 1GB of cloud storage, and community support. 

 

Conclusion

As any team leader knows, securing the budget for new tools and technology isn’t easy. This means those in team leadership positions need to be resourceful. Fortunately, there are plenty of free tools you can use, like the ones mentioned here, to support task management, team meetings, internal communications, and one on one meetings. Do you have one that is not on this list? We’d love to hear about it! 

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