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Is Team Lead role a fit for you?

Is Team Lead role a fit for you?
Are you a developer transitioning into or considering a Team Lead role?

Being a Team Lead is not an easy job. Although it might come with a job description, but responsibilities, opportunities and challenges are a lot more.

Here are some points to ponder upon:

  • Team Lead is not the only career path for developers. Give consideration to specialising in a technical domain, architecture, test automation, devops and other possibilities.
  • Team Lead is a supervisory role and not a managerial role. You will likely be expected to provide technical leadership and also write code yourself. You won’t likely have any budget or any authority.
  • Do you enjoy working with people? This includes handling difficult situations, giving constructive feedback, holding people accountable, performance reviews, hiring employees and in worst cases participating/leading employee termination process.
  • Is your manager and organisation committed in supporting you in your new role? This might include one to one coaching, on going training and learning. Compare possibly increased compensation vs additional responsibilities and commitments. If there is no salary increase then think again. *Are you okay to step out of your comfort zone and acquire people skills? Not limited to communication, leadership, delegation and motivation skills.
  • Number of people reporting to you? 1 to 4 is ideal.
  • Understand that you won’t be able to code much. Longevity of this role is questionable. You need to be hands-on to stay up to speed with current trends but you will lose your technical skills over time due to lack of time available to code yourself.

A good Team Lead will show:

  • Leadership: Be hands-on technically. Won’t preach. Will lead by example. Will walk the talk.
  • Empathy: Have empathy for direct reports and for oneself. People can and will make mistakes. Its a lead’s responsibility to ensure that employees have proper training, clear directions and safe work environment.
  • Integrity: Have integrity and win trust. Likewise has trust in direct reports. Gives them autonomy and motivates them to step up and do their best. No one likes to be micro-managed.
  • Fairness: Is fair to all direct reports and offers them fair chance to appreciation, opportunities, resources and his/her time.
  • Professional Relationship: Is not friends with selective individuals as that might give perception of favoritism. Keeps relationship strictly professional with all direct reports.
  • Hiring: Hires capable people and let them do their best. Lead is not be the smartest person on the team.

Team Lead is an important role. It demands a distinct skill set. Hope this article will help you in some way making into a good team lead.

Thanks to Philip Chan for reviewing this article.

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It's not Python or HTML.

It hardly even gets mentioned in interviews or listed as a pre-requisite for jobs.

I'm talking about Git and version control of course.

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