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May I know some points to keep in mind while playing as a Team Lead in a Software Company? What should make me a good leader from the point of Technology, Management skills, Personal behavior etc

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DO

  • be a leader and a coach
  • foster an environment open to collaboration
  • encourage discussion, technical and team focused
  • encourage improvements
  • support them
  • remove organizational impediments (if possible)
  • be a teacher

Do NOT

  • be their manager
  • fall into the trap of making commitments for them when asked
  • assign work to them
  • decide HOW something is done
  • take on all accountability for the team
  • be a teller

The best and most highly respected team leads I have worked with are collaborative leaders that support the team. Much like the ScrumMaster role in Agile.

  • Good points, although in regards to the 'assign work to them' and 'decide how something is done', I'm not quite sure... thinking of amazing pro-active peers, it's kinda obvious. Unfortunately, that's not a common place. I'd say that's expected to have the team lead opening such decision discussions within the team (in case the developers have no initiative) and being part of the decision. Developers tends to see on the team-lead as a guide to be followed... therefore, the leader must have ownership of decisions. Just my 2 cents. – Tiago Cardoso Dec 1 '11 at 18:41
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    Tiago, are you agreeing that the team lead should NOT do those things, so that is how it is listed? I think you make good points an that we are in agreement. – Erin Beierwaltes Dec 5 '11 at 18:14
  • Hi Erin, I believe the team lead MAY NOT do these things... but depending on his team, he'll need to do them eventually (and unfortunately). Still, in a general manner, team leads are NOT supposed to do dev's jobs. – Tiago Cardoso Dec 5 '11 at 18:42
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A team leader is a coach and a model for his team. So AFAIK following qualities are most important for team leader,

  • Communication
  • Delecation
  • Negotiation
  • Integrity
  • Confidence
  • Respond immediately to any problem and arrive at a solution before it escalates.
  • Make every team member believe that he belongs to the team.
  • Listen to everybody views and then take decisive action.
  • good motivator
  • Use the full capabilities of your team members
  • Develop a sense of responsibility for the team members
  • Learn how you need to build Success
  • I think you mean "delegation"? – THelper Dec 5 '11 at 12:39
  • I'd go with, "Listen to everybody's views and help them delay making a decision until the last responsible moment. Then facilitate that decision". IMO too many team leads and managers make decisions early, before they have enough information, and without involving the team as much as they could. – Lunivore Dec 5 '11 at 18:03
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  • Effective Communication - listening more than talking, making sure everyone understands each other

  • Clear Vision of what needs to be accomplished on each project and why

  • Commitment to the Truth -in good times and bad

  • Knowledge and skill to apply project management techniques

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The most 'effective' thing a team lead can do is to empower and make the team effective. Help them grown professionally, facilitate them, remove obstacles in their way - all the activities that are people focused and that help them do their job in a better way. Many leaders fail when they can't make the transition from 'technology focused' to 'people focused'. Note that as team lead your success is a function of success of the team and it's members (and vice versa).

You should review the Jim Collins 5 levels of leadership model: Jim Collins and Level 5 Leadership

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First, you should perhaps reconsider what you are doing if you feel that you're playing the role of the "team lead". You're either leading the team or you're not....

To be a great leader you need to understand some key principles:

  • Provide support to your team members without removing responsibility for action!
  • Maintain or enhance self esteem
  • Listen and respond with empathy
  • Share thoughts feeling and rationale
  • Ask for help and encourage involvement

If you are uncertain on any of these principles I would highly encourage you to read: Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment: How to Improve Quality, Productivity, and Employee Satisfaction

It's a great starting point for new team leads!

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