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How to choose effective team leaders

August 22, 2013

There’s a vacancy!Image

You need a team leader.  Whether it’s a new position or one vacated by a former employee, it’s time to put some attention to this; you’ve decided to do something. Getting the right one can be key to success or failure of the project or area you are addressing.  

A good team leader

Initially, you should look for someone who

  1. Is extremely competent in their own field – the idea is potentially good, maybe they feel they are ready to move up
  2. Really likes people.  The job switches from technically perfect to actually training people and getting others to get the job done. Coaching and mentoring others is key to success.  A little “friendly bossiness” goes a long way.  Great team leaders can get people do things in a friendly way, not upset everybody in the process. 
  3. Is able to organize the area and make sure that those below them are trained.  Half the work of a team leader is doing their own job and half is leading their people.

The Problems

When a person has never been trained as a team leader or maybe doesn’t have a natural bent to leadership or even a natural affinity for people, they contract to what they do know and end up just doing the work themselves.  This turns out to be a waste of any talent below the “leader”.

If you choose someone who doesn’t necessarily like people, what happens is that they don’t lead the team, don’t push the team to greatness, don’t take a good staff member and make a great staff member of them, but end up doing the work themselves.  And there goes your plan for increased productivity.  And you will get the job back, staff and problems will return to your lines.

The question is where are you going to find these people?

Places to look

 Specifically look for tenure and experience.   Tenure – the person who has been there the longest.  Experienced – the person should be an extremely effective experienced technical person

Ideally you will hire from within because potentially they know your business and know what to have their team do. You’ve got a person that’s been doing the job for a long time and is highly organized, very policy and procedure driven.  There’s a good candidate, check further into him or her.


Sometimes you just can’t find the right person and are forced to go outside for assistance, like Craigslist and possibly agencies.  But then they’ve got to get to know you and the position for the success you are looking for.  Added time and expense looms.

Test first! Test them all!

To ensure peace of mind and higher potential success, use testing.  If you test all potential candidates for the position you can know if the person has all the above traits in the first place. Communication skills, people skills, leadership traits and more are evident when you use the U-TEST.  Comparing that to the experience, you should wind up with the right person. 

The final bottom line is you want a team leader who can take things off your plate and free up your time, taking on the many hats you already wear. Give yourself the best advantage. 


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