Team leaders supervise and lead teams of employees within a business, often acting as the primary link between staff and management.
Ultimately, they are responsible for ensuring that their team is productive, efficient and motivated by delegating work fairly, providing training and mentorship and monitoring performance.
This full guide includes a team leader job description and discusses everything you need to know about team leaders, such as job requirements, average salaries, typical employers and more.
- Team leader job description
- How much do team leaders earn?
- What does a team leader do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs team leaders?
- Which junior jobs progress to team leader roles?
Team leader job description
Team leader | Shop Local
About Shop Local
Shop Local shops are the UK’s sixth-biggest food retailer with over 1,500 local, convenience and medium-sized stores in suburbs, towns and villages across the UK.
About the role
As a team leader, you’ll be the leader of a small team of hard-working store assistants. You’ll ensure your team provide an exceptional customer experience by consistently monitoring and assessing performance, assisting with ongoing training and keeping team morale high.
- Coordinating a team of colleagues to ensure they consistently deliver outstanding service
- Monitoring team performance and providing constructive feedback
- Inducting new recruits and helping them to settle in and train them
- Setting team rotas, managing absences and coordinating holiday leave
- Leading by example, setting targets and motivating team members
- Ensuring customer service standards remain high and continually looking for ways to improve
- Running quarterly staff appraisals for team members and creating progress plans
- Making sure the team adhere to health & safety policies at all times
Location & commitments
- Full-time role (45 hours per week) on a rota basis, including late nights and weekends
- Additional hours may be required, with overtime paid at the standard hourly rate
- Based at our brand new store in Shrewsbury
- 2+ years in a customer service based role, ideally within a food retail environment
- A good standard of general education – minimum grade C in GCSE English & Maths
- Clear, concise and confident communicator; happy to take the lead
- Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to build trusting relationships with colleagues and create a team spirit
- Proven organisational skills and the ability to effectively prioritise tasks
- Previous experience of leading or supervising a team
Contact us to apply
Think you’ve got what it takes to be part of a fast-paced and hard-working team? Send your CV and a short cover letter to our HR department at email@example.com.
How much do team leaders earn?
The average team leader salary in the UK is £27,000. While this is under the national average, team leaders often achieve internal progression and promotion, meaning salaries can increase with experience -they also often receive team-performance related bonuses.
Team leader salaries in the UK
- Low: £21,000
- Average: £27,000
- High: £37,500
Team leader salaries can vary hugely depending on:
- The industry of the employer – As the role spans so many industries, salaries can vary dramatically — for example, those working in IT sales are likely to earn more than those working in retail stores
- The skills required — Roles that require more technical skills and knowledge generally offer better salaries
- The size of team being lead – Generally speaking, the more people being managed, the higher the salary
- The location of the role – Like most roles, the level of candidate experience and location can affect salary
As an example, a team leader who has specialist technical skills, leading a team of software engineers for an IT company, will generally earn more than a team leader leading a customer service team in a supermarket.
The average salary figures above are taken from job advert samples, so they don’t include extra perks and benefits like bonuses, overtime pay and non-financial benefits such as company discounts.
What does a team leader do?
As team leader roles span so many industries, job descriptions can vary widely. However, here are the typical, generic duties, tasks and responsibilities they may carry out:
- Managing a team – Being in charge of the daily operations of a particular group, subgroup or project team
- Organising rotas – Deciding what shifts and hours team members will work each week/month and clearly communicating these expectations
- Delegating work – Delegating responsibilities, tasks and projects to the best-suited team member and ensuring that everyone knows exactly what they’re meant to be doing
- Leading team meetings – Organising and leading regular team meetings to boost team morale, feedback on progress and introduce new team members
- Setting goals – Setting clear goals and expectations in order to give team members a clear understanding of what they need to complete and when
- Monitoring performance – Monitoring team performance, rewarding good performance and providing coaching/feedback as necessary
- Carrying out quality checks – Ensuring that all work is completed to the expected quality
- Resolving problems and conflicts – Listening to team members problems or feedback and resolving any apparent issues or conflicts
- Training and mentoring – Training, mentoring and coaching new and existing staff in order to develop their skills and boost their performance
- Inducting new staff – Helping new team members to settle in and giving them the all the required information required to become a valuable team member
What do team leaders need?
Team leader roles are available in a wide range of industries and sectors, meaning the required skills, experience and qualifications vary.
Here’s a general overview of what’s needed, but do bear in mind that requirements will inevitably vary between industries:
Team leader jobs will usually require the candidate to have gained some experience within the field they’ll be working within.
For example, customer service team leaders will usually have worked as a customer service representative for 2+ years before moving into a team leader role, often within the same company.
However, a more specialist role such as a team leader for an engineering project may require significantly more experience within the engineering field.
Specific experience requirements will vary, but ultimately, a team leader must be proficient enough in their field to be able to effectively lead, coach and mentor others.
Team leader skills
To carry out the role effectively, team leaders need the following skills, knowledge and capabilities:
- Communication: Communicating with a team in order to inform, help and advise them in their roles, whilst also acting as a reliable line of communication between staff and senior management
- Leadership: Confidently leading, supervising and motivating a team of employees to success
- Organisation: Juggling numerous responsibilities and simultaneously managing personal workload and the work of other employees
- Delegating: Delegating work fairly and making sure the right people have the right tasks
- Mentoring: Providing constructive feedback and sharing skills and knowledge with colleagues
- Problem solving: Solving problems quickly and efficiently to keep operations running smoothly
- Decision making: Quickly weighing up pros and cons of situations to make informed decisions
- Sector-specific skills: Possessing the required hard and technical skills or knowledge for the specific field of work
Team leader qualifications
Qualifications are sometimes, but not always, required to gain employment as a team leader. Again, this will largely depend on the industry being worked in or the type of project being led.
When it comes to team leader roles within customer service, warehouses, call centres and hospitality, relevant experience is key. For this reason, degrees or higher qualifications normally aren’t required — it’s often possible to gain a role with a basic standard of education and experience alone.
But roles within specialist industries generally require relevant sector-specific qualifications and hard skills. For example, an engineering team leader is likely to need a degree in engineering, alongside plenty of sector experience.
With that said, there are a range of vocational courses that could help candidates across all fields to strengthen their leadership and managerial capabilities. These are by no means essential, but can make it easier to progress into a team leader role:
Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) qualifications
The ILM are the UK’s top leadership and management qualifications specialist. As their qualifications are well-recognised in all sectors, they make a good choice for aspiring or established team leaders across the board.
They offer a range of Level 2 courses aimed at team leaders or supervisors who’re just starting their management career. These courses aim to teach the core skills needed to lead a team successfully and leave students with the confidence and knowledge required to tackle difficult workplace issues.
Chartered Management Institute (CMI) qualifications
The CMI are another great option for aspiring team leaders or managers. Their qualifications are recognised throughout Europe and range from Level 2 (for aspiring team leaders or managers) to Level 8 (for C-level managers), in a range of management and leadership subjects.
The Level 2 – Team Leading course is most suitable for practising or aspiring team leaders and teaches all the key skills and competencies required to become an effective team leader.
Online team leader courses
There are a range of online vocational courses in team leadership, which make for a more affordable option. While these aren’t as well-recognised as CMI or ILM qualifications, they can be a useful way to learn the basic leadership and management methodologies required to thrive within a team leader position. A few popular options include:
- Certificate in Team Leading Skills Course (Level 2) – Brentwood Open Learning Centre
- Certificate in Principles of Team Leading (Level 2) – The Skills Network
- Leadership and Management course – High Speed Training
What is expected of a team leader?
Team leaders will typically be expected to commit to the following:
- Full time hours – As team leaders have to coordinate a team, they’re normally required to work full-time; generally between 35 and 40 hours per week. Part-time roles are rare, as a constant presence is needed to keep things running smoothly
- Possibility of shift work – Team leaders in the customer service, retail, hospitality, warehouse and call centre areas may operate on a shift basis, meaning evening and weekend work may be required
- Possibility of overtime – Depending on the sector, additional hours or overtime may be required during busy periods, such as Christmas
- Location – Normally based in a single premises, such as a shop, factory, restaurant or office
- Travel in some industries – Some industries may require some travel in order to visit sites or other premises to oversee work
Team leader benefits
Team leaders can expect to receive a good benefits package, which may include perks like:
- Bonuses – often based on team performance and KPIs
- Pension scheme
- Holiday & sick pay
- Training & development opportunities
- Progression opportunities
- Company discounts and/or freebies
- Flexible working opportunities (depending on the industry)
Who employs team leaders?
As companies across all industries and sectors require team leaders to manage teams or departments, employment opportunities are vast and varied. It’s possible to find team leader roles all over the country, in cities and smaller towns alike.
Team leader roles in the UK most commonly appear within customer service in the retail, hospitality and warehousing industries. However, as the job title is so versatile, opportunities exist across the board.
Typical team leader employers include companies within:
- Call centres
- Leisure and tourism
- Health and social care
- IT, software & networking
- Public sector
Which junior jobs progress to team leader roles?
Aside from team leader apprenticeships (which are increasingly common), there are numerous roles that can act as a natural springboard into team leader roles. Some popular starting points include:
Customer service rep
Customer service reps provide and promote excellent customer service and answer product and service questions. For those who aspire to become a team leader within a customer service department, gaining experience as a customer service representative or assistant is the best route of entry. This is because employers want team leaders who know the tricks of the trade and can coach junior team members with confidence.
Sales assistants sell products and help customers within a retail environment. Again, for those who wish to pursue a team leader role within retail or sales, gaining an entry-level job within the industry is the best way to learn the basics, set roots within a company and, eventually, progress into a team leader role.
Junior roles within the relevant industry
No matter what the industry, the most seamless route of progression into a supervisory or team leader role is to gain experience from the ground up. For example, someone wishing to become an IT team leader will normally require a few years of experience within the IT industry at a minimum.
Which senior jobs do team leaders progress to?
One of the best things about being a team leader is the doors that the role can open up. Working as a team leader provides solid experience in leading and managing a team and teaches a wide range of transferable skills.
Progression opportunities will inevitably vary between industries, but it’s common to move into the role of:
Assistant managers work under the management team to oversee the day-to-day operations of a business and its staff. They generally have more decision-making authority than team leaders and fill in for the manager(s) in their absence. Team leaders can typically move into an assistant manager role after 2-5 years.
General managers take full accountability and responsibility for the success of a business or large department. Juggling a wide range of commercial, financial, staffing and recruitment tasks, they require significant managerial skills and experience in order to succeed within the role. It’s possible for team leaders to progress into a manager role after several years of hard work and learning.
Team leader job description – conclusion
Team leader roles are available with a wide range of employers, in numerous industries and sectors, across the UK.
It’s often possible to gain a team leader role with 1-3 years of experience alone, though some of the more technical industries may require more experience, as well as a degree or other higher-level qualifications.
While team leader roles tend to pay under the national average salary, they are a great opportunity to learn the ropes of leadership and — with experience — often open up lucrative opportunities within management.