Becoming a Team Lead can be a natural step for those who are mentors for developers or designers, or other technical roles. But it can be hard to see a clear path, or to make yourself the time to pursue that other responsibility. Also, it brings new things to learn to the Team Lead leader. The delicate balance of leading someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves. That is why we care for facilitating these opportunities to intivers.
As already said in previous articles, the program was launched and refined in Germany, and implemented in intive Poland as well. Other editions of the program include even more intive locations. We want this opportunity to be available for every intiver who wishes to become a Team Leader and to be trained.
That's why we also have a program available in intive Americas, that fits local processes and needs. Learn more on how people become Team Leads in this article.
What are Team Leads’ local program main activities?
The purpose of this program is to tap into the existing knowledge, skills, and experience of senior or high performing employees and transfer these skills to newer or less experienced employees in order to advance their careers. This program is an amazing opportunity for career development for the people involved.
Whether under the Engineering office or under the Design office, a team lead will perform the following activities:
Continuous improvement opportunities by sharing feedback on a timely basis.
Support objective setting to improve technical proficiency or project autonomation.
Escalate any issues that affect the team member to the correspondent leader.
Lead the performance review process in partnership with the team member’s manager.
Suggest and provide supporting material for career promotions of the team members.
You may be wondering, isn’t that something a manager would take care of at intive? Well, another good part of entering the Team Lead path is that you get to collaborate with the Managers in several aspects of the day-to-day work, such as:
Share morale related concerns that will affect the well-being of a project.
Suggest a promotion or recognition to team members in terms of career development.
Escalate compensation related concerns from the team member.
Suggest upgrade of tech devices, assets, licenses, etc. to be more efficient in the daily work.
Be a communication channel to elevate the issues, concerns and the mood of its team members, to effectively resolve day-to-day situations and generate a better work ecosystem.
Building the Relationship
Every interaction with a team member presents an opportunity to either build or erode the relationship.
A productive relationship is supported by four pillars: trust, confidentiality, communication and courage.
Use plain-speaking, straight talk
Be honest and open
Demonstrate respect in all interactions
Practice accountability; do not blame others when something does not happen as discussed
Be transparent and consistent; “what you see is what you get”
Be flexible and accessible
Keep commitments, as commitments build hope; delivering on hope builds trust
Base feedback on first-hand observation, whenever possible
Agree on boundaries and do not cross them
Be open to sharing and discussing stuff that aren’t directly tied to your goals
Demonstrate your belief in confidentiality by acting with integrity with all information that is confidential, regardless of the relationship
Be present and attentive to your team member
Be timely with your questions, thoughts, and opinions
Look for the unspoken message
Use non-verbal signals to invite dialogue and demonstrate that you are listening and understand (e.g., sitting forward, eye contact, nodding head)
Always turn your camera on and don't multitask while in this meeting
Seek permission to provide feedback, remember that feedback is a gift.
Provide specific, actionable feedback to your advisee around the relationship, improvement opportunities, etc.
There are some signs to consider when evaluating the success of a TL into his/her new role:
Sign one: You’re meeting consistently. How often will you meet? It could be once a week or several times a month, but the goal is to be consistent. Commitment also extends outside the specified one-on-one meeting.
Sign two: Both of you are seeing progress. Among the strongest signs of a great partnership is the successful achievement of a team member’s goal(s). You can have your own goals, too, such as cultivating your own leadership skills and finding greater job satisfaction. Achievement of a team member’s goals should feel like a win for you, too.
Sign three: You’re both holding each other accountable. A sign of a good relationship is accountability, a two-way street where leaders provide honest guidance and team members hold themselves responsible for meeting established goals.
Sign four: You’re both truly listening. Work on developing active listening as a skill; not only will it help your partnership succeed, but several studies show that it’s a key characteristic of successful leaders.
1. Having unrealistic expectations for the relationship and focusing on too much, too soon.
Be realistic about what the relationship can accomplish in each cycle. Make sure that you clarify goals and expectations of the relationship.
2. Getting sidetracked by personal stuff.
The primary focus of your relationship is for you to develop your professional self. With that said, discussing personal information is not completely off limits. Asking your team members about their weekend or a recent vacation or sharing similar information about yourself can be an effective step towards building rapport. Use your judgment – if you think that your conversations are veering down the wrong track, quickly refocus the conversation back to development areas.
3. Expecting you as a leader to provide all the answers.
Good leaders ask the right questions to help their team members uncover solutions and approaches that work for them.
4. Being too nice or patient to the point that you are not saying what needs to be said.
One of the four pillars to productive relationships is the ability to act with courage when necessary. Failing to act with courage and deliver needed feedback to your advisee has the potential to damage your relationship.
5. Wanting to move too quickly through trust building.
Trust is one of the four pillars to building an effective and productive relationship. Don’t let the pressure to move quickly into tackling development areas cause you to bypass this critical step.
6. Allowing yourself to get overly frustrated over the lack of progress made.
Leading is an on-going development process for both the advisor and advisee. There will be periods of significant progress and periods where development stalls. Avoid the feelings of frustration by scheduling regular “check-ins”: Let one another know how the relationship is going.
7. Being friends with your team member at the expense of true development.
The strongest relationships occur when two people have a rapport and respect for one another. From this rapport and respect, friendships develop, and relationships grow stronger. Be careful not to let the friendship get in the way of your ability to appreciate one another’s objective and direct developmental feedback and advice.
Conclusion: How to become a team leader?
Allowing team members to become Team Leads will eventually develop into trusting, confidential, and mutually beneficial relationships within teammates.
Listening, encouraging, motivating a team member is part of the scope of a TL to share experience, provide tools and assist them with personal and professional growth.
At the end of the day, it’s all about assisting a team member with feeling comfortable in branching out and meeting others to expand their professional opportunities.
Become one of our Team Leaders and work with us on the services such as industrial software development or energy software development.