Whether you are a developer becoming a Team Lead, an Architect becoming a Team Lead or you’ve been hired as a Team Lead, the skills you need are always the same.
- Learn the People – you might know everyone’s work, but you don’t know their style, take a moment, breathe it in and figure out a strategy for how you are going to work with everyone.
- Know the Technology – Team leads are generally closer to technology problems than their managers, often doing active coding while working with the team side-by-side. Your learning doesn’t stop here, it’s just getting started, you need to stay on top of it.
- What’s Going on – there are other words to describe this, but I like this phrase. Who is doing what, what are they on, when will they be finished, what are they slated for next? Would you rather be coding and working with your team? Figure out a way to get this information out to your manager with no needs for questions and you’ll be on the path to making that happen.
All 3 of those funnel into the biggie of being a Team Lead – Earn the Trust. You’re not a Manager or Director or any other fancy title. You might not even be on the organizational chart and not everyone will know what you do. You have the dregs of the team pool being handed to you hoping you can make something happen.
And you will.
First and foremost, you must build trust – trust in who you are now coaching and mentoring, trust in that you are keeping abreast of what is happening the industry and trust in delivering code. All three intertwine together and it’s your job to ensure that you are collecting raising that bar each and every day. You will have setbacks and failures, but if you’re doing it right, those will only serve to strengthen your trust account, not diminish it.
So stop worrying about where you sit on the chart and complaining about how you didn’t get the A-Team and start working towards making them the AA-Team.