What Makes A Good Team Leader?

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Published: 13th December 2012
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Are you contemplating making the move into a team leader position? Or are you currently just curious as to the qualities of a good team leader? Itís fairly different to a pure technical role - diverse skills are involved and not everybody is able to effectively make the conversion from a technical role into a team leader. However, having or building on most of the skills below will help.

Good Communication

Good team leaders learn how to speak properly. Communication isnít just about chatting - itís about listening, writing, and making use of non-verbal methods of communication including body language. Team leaders have to be able to communicate with different kinds of people - their managers, people in their teams, and also other team managers in the company or project.

Keeping Calm Under Pressure

If I was to choose one response to the question, ďWhat makes a good team leader?Ē, it would be this point. Just about the most important skills to have as a team leader is the ability to keep calm under pressure. Deadlines are a part of IT jobs. Pressure from the team, other teams and your manager to get things done and perform well is common. Itís not easy to stay relaxed under pressure, or when things go wrong, but itís an important skill to have, and something that team managers need to be able to do.

Taking Responsibility For Their Actions

Good team leaders donít shift responsibility for their errors onto other people. They take responsibility for their actions. Whenever they make a mistake, they donít hide from it, they admit it and select how it can be corrected. Itís something that people really should be doing from at the beginning in their career, but itís something that team leaders especially should be able to do.

Acknowledge Good Work From Others

For the team to have belief and respect in you, they need to feel as if they are part of the team. A way of achieving this is to always recognize the excellent work that your team members do. This includes anything from public praise when a large milestone is attained, such as a project delivery, or small things including process enhancements or bug resolutions, where a simple ďthanksĒ or ďgood workĒ will be enough.

Keeping the team happy will keep them effective and positive, and as a consequence, make you look like a good team manager along the way!

Being Able To Convince Others

Another skill in response to what makes a good team leader is being able to persuade others. This is part of the role of a team manager, and can be used in a valuable method of getting things done. You will need to convince people that a particular plan of action is a good one, persuade other managers of your resourcing or budget requests, and convince people of the benefits of your team or projects. This is something that you can exercise and enhance as your career advances, and itís a good thing for team manages, or potential team managers, to understand.

Ability To Make Decisions

Leading a group includes many things, one of which is the necessity to make decisions. To be a good team leader, you need to be able to pick a plan of action to take in various situations. Do this by taking in the facts, judging the impact and implications (both good and bad), and choose an option. Most significantly, stick to it - donít change your mind midway through, unless new information unfolds that makes you. This is another skill that you could be learning and improving as your career continues.

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