The success of a technical leader depends largely on his ability to build trust among the team he leads. The leader must also know how to streamline processes and be an excellent communicator. A good technical leader must also be humble, knowing that the credit for success goes to the whole team, not just him. Allow his people to enjoy the results and stand behind them when they make mistakes.

Successful technical leaders know how to recognize talent and steer them in the right direction. Developing all of these skills can make you the technical leader any team would want. Today, we’ll take you through the top 5 tips on how to become a successful technical leader according to freeCodeCamp.

Top Tips to Turn You into a Successful Technical Leader

Get to know what you’re working on well
Fully understand the product requirements, the system design and the different technologies you are using. Even if you weren’t involved in the decision making, ask the questions: why were certain technologies chosen? Why was this design chosen?

Knowing all parts of the system, including the parts that other people are working on, will give you a clearer light on what your team is working on. This way, you will know the complexity and intricacies of the task and be able to react when a problem arises better and therefore make a better decision to deal with it.
You don’t need to be familiar with every activity of your team in detail, but you should know what your colleagues are working on.

Say what’s on your mind.
For reserved individuals, leadership development poses challenges. Actively participate in meetings, voice your opinions, challenge decisions, and inquire about choices made by architects or tech leads. Successful individuals embrace discussion and gladly explain their decisions. Technical professionals should not hesitate to question product decisions, always prioritizing customer value in their work.

When you see something wrong — get it fixed
Don’t remain passive if you observe a potential mistake. Politely bring it to the attention of the person in charge and inquire about their perspective. While you may sometimes be mistaken, often you’ll contribute to problem-solving. If the responsible person lacks the time to address it, offer your assistance, allowing you to gain insights into another area of the code and be recognized as a team player.

I’ve encountered situations where I integrated with other projects and questioned their design choices. By seeking explanations, I often gained a better understanding of their considerations. Occasionally, I even helped by highlighting concerns they hadn’t considered. Even if your concern proves unfounded, raising it improves your understanding of design and concerns, and your input becomes more valued.

Seize the chance to take on additional responsibilities whenever possible. Occasionally, opportunities arise to volunteer for side projects or tasks. Be the one to step forward, even if you’re uncertain about your abilities. This is a pathway to personal growth, allowing you to discover new capabilities and possibly collaborate with unfamiliar colleagues.

Here are a few examples from Wix:

  • Oversee weekly lectures for backend engineers.
  • Ensure post-mortems are generated and shared for production issues.
  • Spearhead GDPR integration across the company.

Invest time in building connections
While some may view coffee breaks as unproductive, I believe they are essential. Creating social connections establishes relationships that can prove beneficial in the future.

People are naturally inclined to assist their friends. The more connections you have, the quicker you can access help when needed. This is particularly advantageous for integration projects, where familiarity with the people you’re working with can streamline the process.

Moreover, engaging in conversations with other developers during breaks provides an opportunity to learn about their projects. This exposure might unveil new career prospects. The more people familiar with you, the more opportunities that come your way.

Seize opportunities
Embrace opportunities when they arise, whether within your current company or from external offers.

When a promising opportunity presents itself, seize it. Overcome any imposter syndrome that may hold you back from significant advancements. Trust that if the opportunity is extended to you, you have the capability to excel. While there might be a learning curve, acquiring new skills is integral to personal growth.

If there’s an opportunity you’re interested in but haven’t been formally offered, don’t hesitate to express your interest. While the response may not always be positive, there’s always a chance it could be.

Reflecting on my experience, my first tech lead role was presented to me during a major project rewrite where my skills were deemed valuable. Though it was a substantial undertaking, I seized the opportunity, subsequently opening doors for additional tech lead roles within the company.

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