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December 14, 2023

11 Qualities of a Great Tech Team Lead

The right tech team lead is the driving force behind your IT projects. Learn what traits make this person effective, especially when managing remote teams.
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When it comes to IT projects, teamwork is essential. While a single specialist can probably get the job done, you’ll get better results if you work as a team. And to ensure success, you’ll need a strong tech team lead.

The tech team lead monitors the technological landscape of the project. Basically, this person makes sure the team uses the best and most efficient tools available to them. This differs from the team leader, who provides overall direction for the group. And as we’ll explore, a tech team lead is especially important in hybrid or remote environments.

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A tech team lead ensures your team has the tools it needs to complete jobs effectively, even in remote settings.

Challenges of Remote Team Leadership

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IT industry proved that remote work can be as efficient and productive as in-office work. The right technology choices remain a big factor in ensuring remote productivity. The wrong technology recommendation can cause problems that can set a project back for days or weeks.

More importantly, the tech team lead position requires an expanded set of skills to manage a remote team more efficiently. The reduction or absence of in-person discussions means that the tech team leader should have strong communication and collaboration skills. Otherwise, they’ll struggle to get everybody on board with key technical decisions.

Without established systems for alignment, reporting, and communication, remote teams might start moving in an uncoordinated manner. Changes and adoptions may not reach everybody on the team, leading to miscommunication and unclear instructions.

Qualities of a Great Tech Team Lead

There’s more to being a tech team lead than managing people. It takes a keen balance of technical know-how and effective leadership skills. Let’s dive deeper into each quality.

1-2. Adaptability and Technological Proficiency

Technological expertise is a given for the tech team lead. But part of proficiency is having an adaptive, future-proof mindset. This helps them look at project requirements with an eye toward new and emerging technologies.

At the same time, the tech team lead should be realistic about the newer technology’s capabilities. Introducing brand-new tech in its early adoption stage carries a risk of rejection from mainstream users. But bringing it in too late removes any strategic advantages.

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Beyond technical know-how, a tech team lead must also know how to communicate effectively.

3-4. Effective Communication and Empathy

A team tech lead is responsible for bringing new technology into processes and workflows. So, you must be able to effectively communicate the benefits of the new tech, especially how it makes tasks easier. Provide your team with the complete information they need, and then welcome their feedback.

Understand that your team members have different ways of interpreting, processing, and analyzing information. So, approach communication with empathy, especially when it involves process changes. This creates an inclusive environment and helps your team members feel safe to express their opinions and concerns. (By the way, when you emphasize psychological safety, you’ll see a boost in talent retention.)

Active listening skills can help. As you introduce new technology, pay attention to what your workers say and take note of their body language. Show that you’re listening, don’t interrupt, and ask for more detailed feedback. Finally, make sure you respond appropriately and respectfully.

5-6. Inspiring Vision and Goal Alignment

Undoubtedly, the tech team leader should remain the group’s foremost visionary. This attribute is important for any leader who’s tasked with determining the project’s technical blueprint.

Vision applies to both the choice of present technology and the recognition of applicable future tech. Successfully communicating this vision to the group makes it easier to get everybody on board. Accomplishing the project goal then becomes a more unified effort.

Having each member confident with their assigned tech stacks can go a long way in getting them to complete their individual tasks. The tech team lead also provides the relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to track each member’s accomplishments.

7-8. Problem-Solving Skills and Decision-Making

Great tech team leads don’t have all the answers. But they should be able to address issues and resolve problems before they hold back the project.

These problem-solving skills rely heavily on their technological proficiency. A firm grasp of technology gives them the means to visualize the problem and find a solution. Proficiency also enables them to better communicate the issue with affected members.

With problems comes the need to make timely decisions. Any tech lead worth their salt should be able to make educated decisions at the right time. Spending too much time going over variables can make a bad situation worse. But making hasty decisions can lead to faulty conclusions and wrong solutions.

A tech team lead must know when to rely on data, their team’s input, or both to drive projects forward.

9-11. Mentorship, Delegation, and Team Development

Choosing the technological backbone of an IT project is crucial to its long-term success. Similarly, having the right team development approach helps keep the project running on time and within budget.

The tech team lead is responsible for knowing the detailed composition of the team. With frequent and careful interaction, they can identify which members have the potential to take on additional leadership roles. Similarly, knowing each member’s capabilities helps the tech team lead delegate team tasks to the right people. This can also help the leader determine when scaling up the team is the right move.

What’s more, the tech team lead should have solid mentorship instincts that allow them to make timely interventions when individuals encounter rough patches. But they should also know when to stand back and trust people to do their jobs.

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A strong tech team lead should inspire and mentor team members to develop the next generation of leaders.

Strategies To Be An Effective Team Lead Remotely

Coordinating work between members from different locations and time zones can be challenging for even the best tech team lead. Use these strategies to keep team members on the same page:

  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes, getting to the right solution means recognizing the wrong ones. This is especially true when searching for optimal tech stacks and integrations for your project.
  • Ask for feedback. Some members can come from diverse cultural backgrounds where forwardness is taboo. If you don’t ask, you won’t know if things are working for your team.
  • Remain available. Being on top of the situation 24/7 is impossible, especially for a remote team in different time zones. But make sure your group knows where and when to contact you when it’s urgent. Even better, schedule regular meetings at an agreed time.
  • Remove silos. When communication channels are limited, employees tend to stay in their respective silos. This can lead to redundant output or incompatible approaches. Regular updates and alignments should help weed out silos.

Searching for a Great Tech Team Lead? Growin Can Help

Hiring a strong tech team lead will keep your projects running smoothly. This position will also help you stay up-to-date with the latest technology and manage your remote IT team effectively. Use this guide as a checklist to ensure your tech team lead has the skills needed to do the job well.

Of course, not all organizations have the need or the budget for a full-time IT staff. In that case, Growin has the consultancy resources you need to manage all your IT requirements.

From tech team leads to data analysts and everything in between, Growin has the IT experts you need to sustain your operations without breaking the bank. Contact us today.