Team leader

Anyone who has worked in a company, big or small, will know that management and staff won't always get on. So who helps the relationship between the two? Team leaders of course.

Acting in the interests of everyone and more approachable to staff than senior management, it's an important role in any business, but especially in the sales sector.


So, what will I actually be doing?

Acting as the conduit between senior management and staff, a team leader is responsible for managing a group of people and will spend time delegating tasks, negotiating workloads, assessing performance and reporting on developments.

Team leaders (sometimes called supervisors) can be found in every field, including hospitals, call centres and offices so there's plenty of sectors to choose from.

Team leaders need to have their eyes and ears on the ground and always paying attention, as your job is to oversee staff performance. Specific responsibilities will depend on the organisation you work for, but most team leaders will need to spend time:

  • Allocating tasks to staff
  • Ensuring the performance of the staff is of a high standard
  • Reporting to management
  • Organising holidays and training
  • Discussing and resolving problems
  • Carrying out performance reviews

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The finer details...

Team leaders work different hours in different environments as it depends on what kind of organisation employs them, so you could be working night shifts or regular hours, clocking in at a factory or based in an office.

Working as a team leader is a great way to hone leadership skills and get some valuable training. From here you can hop up to middle or even senior management.

Money, money, money

Team leaders are on the first rung of management so salaries can range from £15k to £25k per year. With a some experience, however, you could be looking at an annual salary of £40k plus.

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The good points...

"You have a degree of independence to make decisions about your team and how to get the best out of them and it’s very rewarding when the team dynamic is at its best," considers Nancy Smith who works as a team leader for a digital agency.

"It’s also a very positive experience to support and empower individuals and often you can be responsible for supporting these team members through a career route to promotion."

...and the bad

"You can be in the firing line of frustrations from all directions - senior management who need the team to perform better and from team members who may feel resentful or overworked. This can be very stressful and sometimes quite isolating."

Is there study involved?

"This role includes a variety of skills: planning and organisational, people skills, problem solving, quality control and reporting," says Nancy. Don't worry if school grades were never your forte, there are no formal entry requirements to become a team leader, although it helps to have good communications skills (both written and verbal) as well as decent IT skills. 

Team leaders need to be able to motivate and inspire, build relationships and take initiative. They say that leaders are born not made, but it turns out you can learn good leadership after all, as there are plenty of courses you can take such as:

  • ILM Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Team Leading, Level 2
  • ILM NVQ Certificates and Diplomas in Management, Levels 3, 4 and 5

Both the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) offer a variety of qualifications at all levels in team leadership and management.

Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone

OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

You’ll need award-winning diplomacy skills as a team leader as you’ll often get caught in the rocky ground between senior management and staff. You'll need to be approachable to staff, but still implement some senior management instructions.

You also need to be able to inspire and motivate your team and balance maintaining good relationships without losing your authority.


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