Working as a team leader is all about organisation, delegation, management and performance monitoring. Effectively, you could work as a team leader in any industry. After all, every single team of employees needs a shove in the right direction from time to time.
Team leaders oversee projects and supervise the day-to-day operations of their team, making sure everyone is pulling their weight, distributing the workload evenly and that motivation and performance levels are maintained.
Whilst many team leaders may occasionally get stuck in alongside the rest of the team, the core part of their job is all about coordinating the team, delegating tasks and managing junior personnel.
Traditionally, this lot are lower down in the organisational hierarchy than project managers, programme managers and managing directors. These guys are middle managers who deal with the day-to-day operational aspects of team management, training and development, rather than high-level strategy and administration.
Team leaders will occasionally have administrative tasks and report writing duties, but mainly they are employed to act as motivators, supervisors and mentors. It’s a team leader’s duty to guide the team’s vision and ensure that everything goes according to plan.
Salary & benefits
Team leaders can earn anywhere between £16,000 and £42,000 per annum. Understandably, though, a team leader’s salary completely depends on the industry they work in and the size of the team they are leading.
Your working hours will entirely depend on what industry you choose to enter, but in most business environments you will work between 35 and 40 hours per week.
To become a team leader, you don’t necessarily need a degree. You could theoretically work your way up the career ladder from a low-level administrative position.
However, if you’d like to fast-track your way into a team leader role, it’d be a good idea to obtain a strong undergraduate degree (2:2 minimum) in any discipline. Studying a business-related course, such as business studies, management studies or marketing, might also improve your chances of being promoted into a team leader role more quickly.
Other than that, it’d be advisable for you to gain lots of work experience in team-based environments so that you’re fully prepared when you begin looking for a graduate job. After all, to know how to effectively manage a team, you need to have been a part of one yourself. Moreover, you’ll need to be a confident communicator with fantastic organisational skills.
Training & progression
The majority of your training and development will be done ‘on-the-job’. However, you could improve your management credentials and earning potential by studying courses which are offered by organisations, such as the Institute of Leadership and Management or the Chartered Management Institute. Some larger organisations may also give you the opportunity to develop your managerial skills during in-house training sessions.
Once you’ve established yourself as a team leader, the only way is up! As you progress through the managerial ranks, you will most likely take a step back from direct team management and focus more on top-level strategy and business decision making. You could eventually become a project manager, a programme manager, a managing director and beyond.