Timlid, who is not loved

Timlid, who is not loved

We have such a tradition – not to like superiors. And what to do if you are the boss? I want to be good, always and for everyone. But it turns out that way, unfortunately, rarely.

How to understand what employees think about you, how to influence these opinions, what needs to be done so that, in addition to the “not bad” ratings, sometimes “excellent manager!” let’s find out in the article. I am asking under the cat.


Greeting! My name is Ilya Pracht, I am a consultant and trainer, head and teacher of courses at OTUS. Quite often in practice, I come across situations where the team leader cannot get along with the team, or the new team leader is not accepted by the team, or the team leader has conflicts with someone in the team. And it often happens that his superiors are already dissatisfied with the work of the team. And how to figure it all out?

This article is only the opinion, reasoning of an individual person. And I’m happy to discuss in the comments. But I will try to describe my vision, what a bad team leader looks like, a good team leader, how it is possible to change from one to another (choose the direction yourself).

Bad team leader

If we ask engineers what they see as a bad team, we will get approximately the following list of characteristics:

  1. Do not rummage for equipment.

  2. Does not stand up for the team.

  3. Does not communicate with the team.

  4. Does not give interesting tasks.

  5. Does not develop.

  6. Does not argue with the customer.

  7. Doesn’t value initiative.

  8. Does not accept feedback.

  9. Does not achieve salary increase.

  10. Does not help with complex tasks.

And this is only the top 10. The list goes on and on. Solid, right?

Why does this happen? Everything is logical. Each person perceives what is happening through the lens of their own comfort. If you’re excited to work, you’re a good boss. If there are flaws, it means that it is clearly not perfected. Any employee pursues his personal interests and this is normal. It is necessary to understand and take this into account.

Nice team member

Now let’s put together a similar checklist for a good team leader. First of all, we take the same list and remove everything NOT from it:

  1. Kudos to the equipment.

  2. Stands up for the team.

  3. Communicates with the team.

  4. Gives interesting tasks.

  5. Develops

  6. Disputes with the customer.

  7. Appreciates the initiative.

  8. Receives feedback.

  9. A salary increase is achieved.

  10. Helps with complex tasks.

Oh, how nice it turns out. Well, directly, the team of my mother’s friend, no less. What can be added here? It makes sense to remember that a team leader is already a manager, and therefore he represents, defends and pursues the interests of the business, the company. So, in addition to the employees, it would be good to ask the management what kind of a good team leader he is.

What will the management say

If we do ask the company’s management how they see a good team leader, the list of characteristics will be approximately as follows:

  1. Makes a result.

  2. Keeps agreements and promises.

  3. Defends the interests of the company before the customer.

  4. Supports team effectiveness.

  5. Maintains an optimal balance of resources in the team.

  6. Autonomen does not require additional control.

  7. Able to spot and escalate problems in a timely manner.

  8. Communicates company culture and strategy to the team.

  9. Develops himself and the team.

  10. Offers innovations and useful initiatives.

What can you say? Obviously, lists vary. Moreover, many points openly contradict each other. The picture is confusing.

But we forgot to ask another important hero of this event. And it would be worth it.

What will the timlid himself say

The interests of the team are good. Business interests are great. But did you go to teamleads to satisfy someone’s interests? Was there not something of its own in this, some goals for the beloved? They definitely were. Let’s collect them.

So, a good team leader according to the team leader himself:

  1. Enjoys work.

  2. Doing tasks that you like.

  3. Delegates tasks that are not liked.

  4. Writes exactly as much code as he wants.

  5. Sometimes he goes to meetings and meetings, but only sometimes.

  6. Uses respect and authority in the team.

  7. Can make decisions independently.

  8. It is developing.

  9. Receives a fair salary.

  10. Never burns out.

I read it and smiled. Some kind of parallel universe, really. But this is the desire of the team leader, if you watch it without censorship and without bills.

Where is the truth?

But, as always, somewhere in the middle, in search of balance.

Any manager is constantly inside a kind of triangle of expectations: management, team and his own. And every decision or action, however, shifts your balance toward one of the triangle’s vertices. Sometimes strongly and to the detriment of the other two components. And as a result, it became good for some and bad for others. Or everyone is high from the results, both the management and the team, and the team leader himself is looking for a place to treat neuroses, preferably quickly and for now he will be on vacation.

My advice will seem trite, but I will voice it anyway. In the pursuit of satisfying other people’s interests and expectations, do not forget about yourself and your wishes. You became a team leader for something, and therefore you should receive your benefits from this profession, you have every right.

Some practical advice

Well, in conclusion, I want to share a few tips on how to keep this balance inside the triangle and be, perhaps not a good, but acceptable manager at once for everyone:

  1. Always clarify your management’s goals and plans – Keep management’s main priorities in focus, and don’t forget to tell him (management) about it.

  2. Stay in touch with your team – do not sacrifice calls with employees and any 1/1 for other work tasks, the result in the form of dissatisfaction and reduced efficiency of the team will quickly catch up with you.

  3. Track your progress – Set yourself goals, check that you are really moving towards them, reflect and monitor your resource, no one but you will give you a break in time.

  4. Don’t be afraid to say NO – someone will still be dissatisfied, do as you see fit, you were appointed to this role for this.

  5. Invest in the development of yourself and your team – these are investments in a happy life tomorrow, and the employees will definitely return them to you.

  6. Collect feedback on your work – both from the management and from the employees, if you want more truth, do it anonymously, but most importantly, watch how the other “sides” of the triangle see you.

  7. Share your company’s culture and strategy – and if you don’t share, then leave, because there is nothing worse than a disloyal manager, first of all for yourself, it’s just a resource killer.

  8. Do not prioritize, but seek balance – There is such a temptation to take and determine that the most important interests are, for example, the interests of the business, then your own, and then the team, but it will not work out that way, your triangle will quickly “skew” and you will become a bad team leader.

8 pieces turned out, they didn’t make it to 10. If you want to add something here, write in the comments.


Join my Telegram channel Gray-haired director. I write there about management in IT, answer your questions and analyze your cases. Systematically, visually, in simple words.

And those who want to be a good team leader and not be bad, I invite to our course Team Lead. As part of recruiting for the course, we will conduct a free lesson on the topic: “Timlead with and without a technical role”as well as an open mic Stand UP. Team Lead, which will feature five course speakers. Register, it will be interesting.

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