How to be a good Team Leader — Competencies

In the first blog, we talked about the responsibilities of a Team Lead, and in this part, we’ll talk about the top 8 competencies every good leader should possess.

As we covered the main responsibilities of a TL in the previous blog, I dedicated this one to the top 8 Team Lead Competencies: 

  • Self-awareness
  • Communication
  • People Development
  • Business Acumen
  • Strategic Planning & Focus
  • Managing Processes & Resources
  • Decision-making 
  • Change Management

Let’s dig deeper into each one of them!


Being able to understand your own emotions and their effects on your performance is what emotional self-awareness is all about. As a TL, you should know your feelings, why you’re feeling certain emotions and how they help or retaliate your performance and what you’re trying to do. It is also important to align your self-image with the perception that others have of you, and be aware of both your strengths and weaknesses or limitations. Recognizing gaps in one’s own skill set is an important part of this role as it can help detect what other team members should work on and improve their effectiveness and satisfaction.


As a TL, you need to communicate effectively both with team members and clients and have the ability to listen carefully to both sides and to share the right information. You need to have good verbal and writing skills and actively present clear and strategic information and ideas on time to different audiences. You need to understand both the personal and business motives of others and adapt your communication to each individual accordingly. Good negotiation skills are also important as they can help you guide your team through conflicts and different opposing views, and solve them effectively and quickly.


One of your duties as a TL is to give regular high-quality feedback to your team members and help them recognize their strengths and opportunities for improvement and growth. Coaching and mentoring skills play an important part in this role, as you can influence others and display the right skills, knowledge and experience to guide your team. Giving concrete advice while encouraging your team members can help them set a clear vision on what to work on, how to improve and how to utilize their knowledge and skills to maximize their potential. You need to recognize the opportunities for coaching and help your team members learn in the process – not deliver them the right answers or take over an assignment on their own, but to delegate tasks based on their strengths and interests.


As a TL, you need to have knowledge about the industry, market, and competitors of the company you’re working at, and use that knowledge in making business decisions. For example, here at Bornfight, as a TL, you need to understand digital product development, product market, competitors and services of digital product agencies. Based on that knowledge, but also consistent research, you’ll be making decisions that will affect projects and business. That’s why you need to actively follow trends and educate yourself in different areas, such as marketing, sales, product strategy, design, development and product management, but also be actively involved in the local, or even global, product development community.


Other than focusing on people and business, you need to work on creating detailed strategies for key areas and on clearly communicating the team and company’s vision and values through all team activities. You need to consider all potential existing and future issues without getting stuck in details, and set a clear strategy and goals for everyone. Accomplishing all this mentioned, and being able to motivate inside and outside of your team is a characteristic of a quality team leader.


Budgeting, work and schedule organization, optimizing business, and people processes play an important part in a TL role. You are expected to use organizational skills in a more proactive manner – set clear and realistic goals and reasonable deadlines, and be prepared to adapt your decisions and deadlines when certain conditions change. Listening to feedback from the entire team and other leaders when making big changes in the existing process is a must, as you need to take into consideration different key factors and your team members and other leaders can help you with those decisions. 


As I already mentioned, decision making is of key importance when working as a TL, as you need to take into account numerous different factors before making a final decision. Your task is to analyze relevant information and be able to distinguish between different opinions, facts and perspectives, and make effective decisions. For making decisions, you should reach out for input and advice from other knowledgeable sources if necessary, and use data as a basis for decision-making.


Balancing the need for change with the need for continuity is something you need to keep in mind when leading a team. You need to keep up with trends and try to implement changes that can help you and your teamwork in a better and more efficient way, and be capable to communicate those changes to others in context with the broader vision and direction of the business and present both benefits of those changes and risks of not implementing them. During your communication with the team, you should encourage discussion and ask others to give you feedback, share their opinions about the current situation and raise their concerns. 

One of the most important things, as a TL, you need to mentor your team members during the implementation of the change and provide a safe environment for them to practice, to make mistakes and learn from them, and help them adapt to the change.

As a TL, your primary task is to make sure that your team is happy and engaged. If it isn’t so, it is you who needs to find a solution, no one else is going to solve that issue for you.

Team Lead Responsibilities FREE TEMPLATE 

Now that we covered the responsibilities and competencies of a Team Lead role, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you a template you can try and use for free, as it can help you define which areas of your work are below expectations, which ones meet the expectations, and which ones you rock!