Important Roles and Responsibilities of a Team Leader
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 26 November 2022 | Published 27 July 2021
Updated 26 November 2022
Published 27 July 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A strong team has professionals who excel in a variety of skills, so they can each contribute to the team's objective. The team leader takes on the leadership position. If you're interested in exercising your leadership potential, consider learning what a team leader is. In this article, we discuss what a team leader is, the different roles and responsibilities of a team leader and the top skills a team leader uses.
What is a team leader?
A team leader is the member of a group who provides guidance and instruction to their coworkers to achieve the desired result as a team. The team leader often works as an organiser by assigning tasks and communicating directions or initiatives from supervisors to the rest of the team. This can streamline communication and operations and help the team to avoid miscommunications. They often carry out the same responsibilities as other team members, along with additional leadership responsibilities.
Related: 10 Types of Leadership Styles
Roles and responsibilities of a team leader
Regarding the roles and responsibilities of a team leader, the leader may perform many additional tasks to improve the direction and productivity of a team. Some roles of a team leader are:
Manager/supervisor: the team leader works as the overseer for all workplace activities within the team. They can also assign tasks to team members and be responsible for the success of team initiatives.
Strategist: The team leader decides how to approach tasks and develops a plan for accomplishing them for the team to follow.
Communicator: They may provide a channel of communication between their coworkers and stakeholders. They can also work as mediators between coworkers.
Organiser: Teams can rely on their team leader to keep track of various tasks, employees or deadlines and follow a structure for completing projects established by the team leader.
Goal setter: The team leader may establish goals for the team to meet, or they can work with individual team members to set up goals to help improve their strengths.
The responsibilities of a team leader may vary depending on the needs of the team. However, there are a few responsibilities that are common among team leads:
Coach team members
As a team leader, you can take responsibility for identifying skills for your team to develop to improve their productivity. You can analyse performance, coordinate times and plan ways to offer feedback. You can also demonstrate skill development by learning a new skill alongside your team.
Example: As a sales team lead, you identified your team could improve their conversion rates while cold calling. To refresh your team's memory of successful sales tactics, you organise and take part in a seminar training with HR and your team. After the seminar, you set up a new initiative where every week you give public praise to the team member who converted the highest number of clients into sales through cold calls.
Develop team strengths and improve weaknesses
As a team leader, you can work with the members of your team to identify where they are strong and what skills they can improve. By developing an understanding of which team members excel at certain tasks, you can delegate more efficiently. This can also help you determine when a team member may need additional help to uphold their responsibilities and support the team.
Example: You work in the kitchen with three other cooks, and you're the team leader. You excel at cooking meat, Shayna makes exceptional sauces, Ricky is an expert in cooking seafood and Michelle can improve her skills at making sauces, cooking seafood and roasting vegetables. You can see that Michelle needs to improve her skills to support the team, but you also recognise that you do not need another expert in sauces or seafood. To balance out your team, you and Michelle agree she should focus on mastering roasting vegetables, so your team is prepared to handle all potential dishes.
Identify team goals and monitor progress
As team lead, you evaluate goals set by the team and individual team members and set up quantifiable methods of measuring success. Having a clearly defined common purpose can eliminate miscommunications within the team. Consider what your team's primary purpose is, so you can structure team goals around it. Once you have your goals, you can create checkpoints that are based on quantifiable data like number of profits or time spent completing a task. By having concrete benchmarks, you can make it easier for your team members to self monitor and provide evidence for progress.
Example: As team lead, you identify the primary purpose of your team is to sell at least $100,000 of your product in one sales period. To do this, you need all four members of your team to sell at least $25,000, but they're currently averaging $15,000 per team member. As team lead, you set up escalating goals for the next two sales periods. You communicate the goals for each salesperson to be $20,000 for the following sales period, $25,000 for the period after that and $30,000 for the final sales period to ensure you're meeting your goal.
Related: How To Develop Skill Sets in 9 Steps
Teams comprise individuals with distinct personality types and skill sets which can make them successful, but which can sometimes lead to conflict within a team. As the team leader, you can resolve these conflicts by setting rules, establishing boundaries between roles within the team and clearly assigning tasks. These measures can minimise frustration that stem from confusion. When conflict arises, a team leader can practise de-escalation tactics by mediating the conflict and working towards a solution.
Example: Two members of your team are handling a difficult client who raised issues about the quality of service they are receiving from your team members. One team member, Cal, believes that Lin did not accurately communicate the expectations to the client, but Lin does not agree. You can organise individual meetings with Lin and Cal to discuss what they believe happened and their ideas for solutions. Then organise a mediation between the two team members to discuss what next steps they can take to appease the client and establish ground rules for communication with future clients.
Organise team initiatives
For teams to run efficiently, they require their team leads to organise a variety of initiatives. As team lead, you keep a record of projects, goals, communications and important documents so that any members of your team can easily access and review them. You can also delegate tasks, plan and execute team meetings and introduce initiatives that improve your team's processes and quality of work.
Example: As team lead, you can use strong organisational skills to plan team meetings. You can schedule them in advance, so your team has time to prepare. You can also provide an outline of all topics that you plan to discuss and how much time you project each section of the meeting to take. This organisation sets expectations for your team and prepares them to take part in an efficient and organised meeting.
Related: How To Write Meeting Minutes
Team leader skills
Because the team leader manages people, organising tasks and resolves conflict, there are important skills you can use as team leader:
Communication: as the primary channel of communication for management of your teammates, it's important to use your communication skills to share directions, set goals and implement new initiatives. You can also use your communication skills to mediate conflicts.
Organisational skills: Organisational skills can help you manage the progress of your team members by tracking their work and keeping organised records. It can also help you manage the additional tasks and responsibilities that are associated with being a team lead.
Delegation: You can use these skills to distribute work to your team equally. You can also make sure that each team member is working on tasks that align with their skill sets so that your team is working as efficiently as possible.
Integrity: As a team lead, you can lead by example to build trust and inspire respect in your team. It also takes integrity to focus on the development of others for the benefit of the entire team.
Strong work ethic: Working as a team leader in addition to your workload as a team member can require a strong work ethic. You can also set an example for your team by focusing on improving your focus and dedication to your work.
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