How To Be a Successful Team Lead: Roles and Responsibilities
Updated March 20, 2023
Team leads perform an important role in helping to manage small groups of employees and ensuring they meet organizational goals. Team leads help to achieve many business objectives, including training employees, monitoring performance, and resolving conflict. Learning to be a strong leader supports the success of your coworkers and the company at which you work.
In this article, we explain the roles and responsibilities of a team lead and provide steps on how to be a successful team lead, with tips to improve your leadership.
What is a team lead?
A team lead is a manager who oversees a group of employees who have common tasks, projects, or goals. They help guide and encourage members of their team. This form of management helps separate work into more manageable teams and can increase efficiency. A successful team lead has excellent interpersonal skills to build connections with their team members and facilitates relationships between teammates to boost collaboration. Since team leaders typically manage smaller groups, employees benefit from having an accessible manager. This enables better relationships among employees and managers and can improve job satisfaction and productivity.
What are the roles of a team lead?
A team lead typically assumes these five roles to ensure their team's effectiveness:
Manager: The team lead oversees team members and monitors their performance.
Strategist: They decide the best approach to complete tasks, as well as the order in which to perform job tasks.
Communicator: The team lead shares information with team members about how and when to perform tasks and communicates policy changes and expectations.
Organizer: The team lead schedules team activities and provides the structure for completing tasks.
Goal setter: Developing objectives for the team to work toward and achieve helps accomplish company goals.
What are the responsibilities of a team lead?
By filling these five roles, a team lead also handles the following responsibilities:
Training team members
Team leaders serve as mentors to the employees on their team. This means they help train new hires by showing them how to perform tasks and orienting them to the company culture and work environment. They also provide guidance to help set and meet personal goals and the overall goals of the team. It's a team lead's responsibility to help their team develop skills to succeed in their position. This includes soft skills, like communication and organization, and technical skills.
It's also the team lead's responsibility to be accessible to their team and answer questions or address their concerns. This helps provide transparency and offers clarity to employees.
Related: How to Be a Team Leader
Organizing team objectives
Using organizational skills, a team lead prioritizes job tasks and goals to develop objectives for their team. This may involve defining tasks and the steps to perform them. Team leaders also create a schedule to help team members meet deadlines. In order to achieve objectives, a team lead motivates their team. They can use positive reinforcement, productivity exercises, or other forms of management to accomplish this.
An important responsibility of the team lead is to assign job tasks to all the team members. When working on a team project, this may include giving each member a specific role. Depending on the organization, a team may comprise members with the same or different skill sets, which affects how the team lead delegates tasks. For example, a team in marketing may have only data analysts who each receive tasks to study differing sets of data. Another marketing team may have content creators, data analysts, and sales representatives performing tasks according to their roles.
Delegating tasks helps organize the work environment and can improve productivity. An advantage of separating employees into smaller work groups is that the team lead can carefully monitor the performance of employees and can help assign tasks without overwhelming the employee. This middle level of management can improve job satisfaction.
Assessing the team's performance
The role of team lead is a management position, which gives them the authority and responsibility to assess their team's performance. This is vital to achieving goals and ensuring productivity. A team lead can give performance reviews based on a project's completion or individual performance reviews of each team member. This helps employees identify strengths and weaknesses and make improvements. Offering regular feedback to team members and allowing them to do self-assessments is an effective way to conduct performance reviews. Performance reviews are helpful tools for tracking goals and can help the team lead strategize future goals.
Related: How To Perform a Self-Assessment
Conflict may arise that inhibits your team's productivity. It could be an aspect of the tasks assigned, such as insufficient resources, or team members who disagree with one another. It's the team lead's responsibility to resolve any issues. One way to do this is to assess the team's strengths and weaknesses for individual projects, which can help identify problem areas and propel necessary improvements.
Establishing effective communication often helps resolve a conflict between team members. The team lead may also need to mediate with these employees and negotiate a compromise so they can keep working together.
How to be a successful team lead
Follow these steps to learn how to be a successful team leader:
1. Establish team dynamics
Team dynamics are the relationships between members of the team. These dynamics determine how the team communicates, interacts, and collaborates with one another, so it's important to establish a dynamic that makes your team cohesive. You can help create positive connections between team members by organizing team-building activities, such as volunteering together, having lunch, or playing a game.
2. Set goals and expectations
Setting goals helps give the team direction and purpose. Team leaders assess the goals of the company and strategize how their team can contribute to accomplishing these goals. A team lead also needs to communicate their expectations pertaining to task completion and behaviour. This helps the team accomplish the goals they set.
3. Monitor team performance
Lastly, a team lead monitors the performance of their team to fulfil their management duties. To ensure efficiency and productivity, it's important to assess how the team completes tasks and how well they accomplish goals. Monitoring the team's performance helps create realistic goals and design milestones for improvement.
What skills do team leads use?
Team leads require a skill set to provide mentorship to their team and plan strategies to help reach goals. Their success as a leader also depends on their ability to facilitate relationships and effective communication with the team. Here are essential skills for a team lead:
Leadership: Team leads provide guidance and an example to other employees.
Communication: Strong written and oral speaking skills are necessary for team leads to instruct their team on how to perform tasks. Team leads may also need to share information with supervisors, executives, and shareholders.
Strategy planning: The ability to analyze, evaluate, and forecast data helps team leaders develop plans to accomplish goals with their team.
Problem-solving: Resolving conflict, whether it's between team members or an aspect of the team project, is a key responsibility.
Organization: The ability to give order and provide structure to the work environment and job assignments greatly affects the success of the team.
Interpersonal skills: Good relationship skills help a team lead interact with team members, supervisors, and shareholders. Interpersonal skills help develop leadership qualities such as integrity, emotional intelligence, and dependability.
Motivation: Being able to engage team members in their work and encourage them to succeed is a key role of the team lead.
Tips to help you become a better team lead
Consider these tips to develop your skills and become a better team lead:
Integrity is a trait that encourages others to trust you. In a position of power, integrity is a vital quality for a team lead to possess. Being honest in your interactions and setting a good example for the team encourages employees to perform at their best and affects the company culture positively. Team members are more likely to respect and follow the instruction of a team lead who shows integrity. This can also strengthen communication among the team.
Inspire your team
A successful team lead inspires their team to perform well and achieve goals. Inspiration is a good way to keep your team motivated and increase productivity. Here are ideas to inspire team members:
Offer recognition for their accomplishments.
Clarify the goals you set.
Share inspiring videos.
Host morning meetings.
Related: How to Motivate Employees
Support your team members
A simple gesture of offering support to your team can be powerful. Knowing their team lead wants to help and can give guidance when needed can motivate employees and increase job satisfaction, which helps the company retain talent.
Being supportive affects communication positively as well and can encourage team members to be open with you. This can help identify and resolve issues, optimize goals, and create workflows that benefit the team and enhance productivity.
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