Supervision & Team Management

What do Team Leaders do?

“Discovering Team Management - What is the role of a team leader?”


The three most common Team Leader roles

When it comes to the understanding the role of a team leader, you will quickly find that you cannot rely on a job title alone. Job titles such as “supervisor” or “team Leader” are broad job titles that can be used to describe a wide range of different positions.

So, let’s start by identifying the three common types of team leader roles, (we have assigned names to these three roles for the purpose of clarity)

  1. Team Coach
  2. Team Supervisor
  3. Team Leader
  4. Summary Table



Team Management Role 1: The Team Coach

A team coach is an entry level team leader role. The role has a narrow scope, with accountability limited to its two main functions, which are to

    1. Organize and assign pre-planned work
    2. Act as a subject matter expert or coach to less experienced or less knowledgeable employees

People in this role are normally a part time leader, with some of their day allocated to doing some of the work that their employees do.

This type of role is suited to

    1. Small teams of 8 employees or less completing repetitive tasks, where a full time team leader is not warranted or justified.
    2. Small highly technical teams where a subject matter expert can add considerable value.
    3. Small business where the next level manager retains performance management responsibilities.
    4. Large teams of employees who complete highly repetitive tasks where others are responsible for planning the work, recruitment, training and performance monitoring.

People in these jobs tend to focus on their technical skill development, rather than on developing their people leadership capabilities.



Team Management Role 2: The Team Supervisor

The team supervisor is a full time management/leadership role. The core functions of this role are to

    1. Planning and assign the work that needs to be completed
    2. Rosters employees to meet forecast demand, identifies resource gaps and resolves
    3. Both technical and performance coaching
    4. Managing planned and unplanned leave

The focus of the team supervisor is on getting the work done and following up closely with their employees to ensure that they are performing at the desired work rate and required quality standard.

People in these roles tend to spend most of their time planning and monitoring work performance and coaching to improve productivity or quality.

This role is most common in manufacturing environments where the work rate is set by a machine or in organizations where the managers do not delegate full team management responsibility to their team leaders.



Team Management Role 3: The Team Leader

A team leader is someone who is wholly accountable for their team’s performance. They participating fully in the hiring and firing process and they have a high level of involvement in the planning processes that affect their team.

This role has a far greater emphasis on leading people than on developing the incumbent’s technical capabilities.

Typical Team Leader Tasks

  1. Preparing for and the Facilitation of meetings
  2. Building effective teams
  3. Developing and coaching team members
  4. Managing Performance
    • One on ones
    • Fire side chat
    • Performance feedback
    • Performance Appraisal
    • Managing poor performance
    • Managing undesirable behavior
    • Managing unplanned absence
  5. Managing budgets or costs
  6. Planning work
  7. Planning Resources
  8. Driving for results
  9. Making decisions
  10. Analysis and problem solving
  11. Managing change
  12. Managing quality
  13. Managing safety
  14. Personal development



Summarizing the three Team Management roles


Team Manager Task

Team Coach

Team Supervisor

Team Leader

Preparing for and the Facilitation of meetings




Building effective teams




Developing and coaching team members




Managing Performance




Managing budgets or costs




Planning work




Planning Resources




Driving for results




Managerial Decision Making




Analysis and problem solving




Managing change




Managing quality




Managing safety




Personal development




3 Team Management Roles Summary

As you can see the role of a team leader can vary greatly, with many organizations placing significantly different expectations on the role of their team leaders.

In essence this variation can be divided into three broad roles

  1. Team Coach
  2. Team Supervisor
  3. Team leader

These roles vary in their complexity/diversity and the challenge that they offer the incumbent. Needless to say the pay the position offers tends to vary based on the scope of the work delegated to the position.


Team Leadership Tips

  • If you are looking for a team leader role, it would be wise to be sure of the nature or scope of the role before you accept any job offers.
  • On the other hand if you are interviewing team leaders it would pay to match the applicants past experience to the role that you are specifically recruiting for.


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