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Ask HN: What traits you need to be a team leader?
15 points by dillmac on Dec 14, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments
Suggestion, blog or book?



1. You have to have your people's back, this is the most important thing... be there for them 24/7, insulate them from problems and management stupidity and always fight for them.

2. lead by example, never ask them to do something you won't do yourself.

3. Communicate, I have booked on afternoon a week from 14:00pm till 16:00 and more to just talk with my team and discuss everything from work, to weather, sports, to bitch and moan against the company, etc...

4. Get together as much as you can on a real "team building exercise" - the whole team in another city for at least 2 days with a great party and lots of eating and drinking on company dime...


> 4. Get together as much as you can on a real "team building exercise" - the whole team in another city for at least 2 days with a great party and lots of eating and drinking on company dime...

I deeply despise this trend.


I find that a lot of really bad leaders do this a lot for some reason. The best organizations are often targeting something epic, which builds camaraderie in itself.


Yeah. If you have to be beer buddies with people you work with you don't understand what professionalism is.


This is not about beer buddies after work, this is about getting together once or twice a year to get to know each other a bit more...

I am going to answer here the person who deleted the long message yesterday saying saying he/she rather play PlayStation alone and so forth (hopefully he/she will read this)

If one of my employees is having panic attacks thinking about the yearly team building diner and drinks, then we are having a big problem...

We need to sit down talk about it and find a solution, professional help, whatever it takes to go over this, because it is juts not healthy!

Not to mention on how this person will react in a real stressful situation, let's say the part of the network is down, systems affected, the company is loosing money on SLAs, big debugging call in the middle of the night - this kind of real pressure will for sure either damage a fragile person or at least case a burn out...

Mental health is no joke and have to be taken very seriously...


I didn't see the post with the person saying they would rather play Playstation alone, so I'm not sure if "having panic attacks" is hyperbole.

If it is hyperbole, then I agree that professional help is a necessity. Mental health is a serious issue and not properly addressing it is doing everyone involved a disservice.

I think its also important to note that having panic attacks has nothing to do with fragility of a person, and suggesting that someone who has suffered from panic attacks isn't suitable for a job in IT is flat out ignorant. This attitude is the reason why mental health issues go undiagnosed.

Now if the panic attacks were hyperbole, and this poster was saying that they would prefer to play Playstation alone than go to a company meaning, I think your comment is fairly short sighted. This person sounds like they are very introverted. Through High School and much of college I thought that there was something horrifically wrong with me because, if given my choice of leisure time, I would prefer not to go to big parties or hang out in large groups. I finally realized that there was nothing wrong with being introverted, as long as it made me happy. I understand how being in groups and parties is enjoyable to you. I think it is only fair that you can understand how the opposite is true for me or other introverts.


You sound like you know how to work with others. How do you like life as a (solo?) trader then?


I still work a "full time" job, just because I love my job and the team I lead, so every year I am postponing my early retirement to the delight of my bosses...

I work from home (my team is spread across the country), but I talk to them almost daily, so frankly I am not sure what I would do when I retire for real. The trading is fully automated, so I would get bored pretty fast I guess...

For now the plan (written in sand in a low tide) with my wife is to give it a go maybe after the kids are out of the house (hopefully in a few years) and travel for a while...

It was a bit of a long winded answer, but as you can see I have no idea yet :-)


It's bad if the organization pressures you into being beer buddies with them.

And often it becomes a coat of paint on what is poor corporate culture. Someone complains that the company is lifeless and that they feel like a cog in the machine. An easy fix is to have quarterly family events instead of fixing the problem.


It’s about getting together as a team, not a company picnic...


Second this. There needs to be a clear benefit to following someone, and not just because he is a boss put there.


1. Great communication skills: Both for communicating with the people who report to you and for the people you report to 2. Understanding the business's goals: This will help you prioritize projects in a way that helps the business the most 3. Managing office politics: Your direct reports may be gunning for each other's jobs or your own. You need to get everyone to work as a team instead of working as individuals. Improving your emotional intelligence can help here. 4. Knowing where to get help managing when you need it. Often talking to your boss or a former boss is a great way to go.

You might find this article I wrote helpful: https://www.climbuptheladder.com/how-to-be-a-great-manager/.


1. Figure out the right thing to do. Be brutally honest to yourself as the biggest source of falsehood is what you want to believe.

2. Do the right thing.

3. Do it fast.

Great books on this: Ben Horowitz's "The Hard Thing About Hard Things", Andy Grove's "Only The Paranoid Survive", Jocko Wilink & Leif Babin's "Extreme Ownership".


Camille Fournier's The Manager's Path: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920056843.do


There are people, who:

- when they are in the room, others pay attention to them and wait for their opinion

- when they start speaking, everyone listens

- when they decide they want to go or do something, the rest follow

Be that person.



Thank you. This is great.




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