Do You Really Know What a Team Leader Is?

Most of the time, when I am confronted with opportunities to be a team leader, I always ask the same question: is it an opportunity to be a team leader or tech leader?

Well, 80% of the time the answer is either “both” or “actually, it’s for a tech leader.” For me, since I am a team leader, my answer is always no. It makes no sense for me to mix these two concepts, especially because they are so different.

Each one has their own responsibilities, tasks, and purposes. For me, mixing both roles into one single person is a red flag for the goal of the project and team.

A team leader is someone with the role of managing and, as the name implies, leading the team. They are the head of the team and represent the team in the good times but especially during difficult moments.

The team leader is someone who guides the team towards their goals as both individuals and as a team. Manages and helps solving conflicts among the team or between the team and a client. It is about focusing on the team and not so much on the technology.

The lead helps the project owner/project manager in management tasks related to the team, and is the voice of the team during meetings. In some cases, the lead can also be the SCRUM Master. They are also a mentor for the team as individuals, helping each member reach their personal and/or professional goals.

It is that person that team members can talk with and express their feelings. It is the lead that makes a team feel and work like a team.

A tech leader is someone who is focused on technology. They are considered a specialist in the technology being used. Their main goal is to participate in the architecture of the solution, decide what technology to use and help the team with the challenges that technology sometimes brings to the project.

They participate in all meetings related with the architecture of the project and are always looking for new ways to innovate and evolve the project.

This person is usually the first one to start working on the project, since they are the ones conducting experiments and evaluating technologies for the implementation.

Why should a project have a team leader? What will they bring to my project? The answer for these questions is simple: confidence and stability among the team and the client. Like we can see from the previous points, a team leader is the key for a strong team.

He can reinforce the strengths of the team, unite them, challenge them in a healthy way, and bring the full potential of the team to the client.

That will, of course, bring the client confidence, as they will be able to see the full potential of the team who is working on the project. The team leader is indeed the key for a successful team.

As we can see from the above descriptions, we can easily validate that, in fact, a team leader and a tech leader are two different roles. They cannot be mixed; doing that will directly impact the tasks of each one.

An individual that likes to be a tech leader will prioritize all the tasks related with their role, leaving the tasks related to the team leader for last.

This can cause a huge impact on the team’s cooperation and coordination. The same will happen to a team leader, prioritizing all the tasks related with team leading, solving problems related with the architecture of the project and technology issues.

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