I'm not sure if there is a better place to post this but I'm looking for some general advice - I've never used this stackexchange but I post on some others.

I have an interview for a team leader role next week. The interview I'll be fine with but there's going to be a role play as well - I'll be playing the part of a team leader who's back from a 2 week holiday. Productivity is down, there's a backlog and there is a new process which needs to be introduced.

There's a list of outstanding work, but there'd nothing that immediately stands out as being a priority - just a backlog across many different tasks.

The task is to brief the team on the work which is outstanding and how much there is to clear (not too difficult a task - we have backlog volume and new work volume so simple calculations), to prioritise the tasks based on 'my own deductions' (this may come from job knowledge), to brief out a new process and finally to answer any questions.

Just wondering if anyone as any tips or anything I should bear in mind? I'm a very comfortable interviewee but role play is a weak point.

  • This question is currently not well suited to SE. However I suspect that a good editor could turn this into a real question. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 4 '14 at 21:38
  • You are not asking a question that can be answered. Please refer to What types of questions should I avoid asking? – Adam Zuckerman Aug 4 '14 at 23:13
  • 1
    Hey ACPO, it sounds like you might have the beginnings of a good question, it's just either not clear or too broad. Could you edit to include a more specific question, something we can rank via our voting mechanisms using the same standards? Asking for just "Tips" is a tough thing for our Q&A format to support. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Aug 5 '14 at 6:57

Not to get into the task details as it seems like you have a good handle on them but here are a few general things to keep in mind for a team lead:

  • Listening: A big shift from moving from a contributor to a leader is the importance of listening and moving from advocacy to inquiry. Ask questions to help people come to the answer rather than always have the answers!
  • Organized Thoughts: If you are tasked to brief a team make sure your message is clear, organized and simple. Don't get caught being overly wordy or obtuse. Keep it simple.
  • Eye Contact: Remember to make eye contact when talking to somebody. Important for a team lead.
  • Be Optimistic: Sure be realistic, but no one likes a negative or cynical team lead. Being optimistic on the chances of success can be a simple way to provide inspiration for the team.

You are going to act like you are on the job. Because you are.

You are back on the job after a two-week vacation. You have a backlog list, and you know you have to get started on the new project.

  1. Go over the headcount - Who's here, who's not here, when will they be back. If the manager is not going to be around, you have to know it.

  2. I suggest that since you are the one who is getting back into the loop, that you open the floor to anyone who has a crisis or emergency on their hands. "Does anyone have a crisis or emergency that they need support on?"

  3. Have them quickly describe their emergency/crisis. Tell them you're going to follow up off-line.

  4. "Does anyone need help or support on their project?"

  5. "Is anyone expecting their deadline or milestone to slip?"

  6. From the feedback you're getting, you'll prioritize outreach to the people involved and your response.

  7. Have your reports go over their tasks and projects: what went right, what went wrong, what remains to be done. Check the feedback against the backlog list. Determine what items in the backlog list are being covered by no one.

  8. Ask who is available to start the new project.

  9. Close the meeting.

  10. Follow up on whatever needs follow up. WErite up your task list. Follow up on the tasks.

You can use my answer as an agenda for your meeting.

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