What is a Team Leader

Leaders are like shepherds, they tend or guide the herd to keep them away from any danger and to make sure that they are eating well. Leaders help the team or organization do the right stuff by setting direction, inspiring the members, look for opportunities, resolve problems and sometimes they are also a catalyst for change. I read this article from Harvard Business Review about the 5 Critical Roles in Project Management, one of the critical roles is Team Leader.

Team Leader

Large projects may include a team leader, who reports directly to the project manager. In small

projects, the project manager wears both hats. The team leader cannot act like the boss and still

obtain the benefits of team-based work. Instead, he must adopt the following important roles:

  • Initiator. Rather than tell people what to do, the leader draws attention to actions that must be

taken for team goals to be met.

  • Model. He uses his own behavior to shape others’ performance—by starting meetings on time, for

example, and following through on between meeting assignments. Leaders often rely heavily on

this tactic, since they typically cannot use promotions, compensation, or threats of dismissal to

influence team members.

  • Negotiator. He gets what he needs from resource providers by framing the project as mutually


  • Listener. He gathers from the environment signal of impending trouble, employee discontent, and

opportunities for gain.

  • Coach. He finds ways to help team members maximize their potential and achieve agreed-upon

goals. Coaching opportunities are abundant within teams because the skills members eventually

need are often ones they don’t already have.

  • Working member. In addition to providing direction, the leader must do a share of the work,

particularly in areas where he has special competence. Ideally, he should also take on one or two of

the unpleasant or unexciting jobs that no one else wants to do.


The article provided an intuitive definition of the role of a team leader. Sometime in our lives, we will become leaders in one way or another and I will definitely keep this in my mind because I know someday, I will lead the way!

Author: Gino Pena

Usually confident and calm, Gino is dynamic, intuitive, and a little grain of shyness. He has a keen active mind that is capable of planning ahead and fast decisions. He tends to give out honest helpful advice in a friendly manner. Gino likes to dress smartly in clothes he feels comfortable. Ambitious but not overly so and can be generous to those he loves.