Leading technical teams

Leading technical teams – overview

The work of a technical team is invariably challenging and often unpredictable. Definition of the work can be problematic, timescales can be hard to estimate and the right technical approach difficult to select. Staff involved in this type of work usually have very high levels of specialist knowledge in their field and have high expectations of those who lead them.

In addition to the challenges of the work, the team leader often has to balance the need for professional excellence with financial and commercial considerations and to ensure that team goals are realistic by being an effective negotiator with other project and senior managers.

These characteristics make technical team leadership a demanding and complex activity. This programme aims to help participants develop the skills needed to become an effective technical team leader.

Full details below or download course outline.

Learning objectives

The objectives of this programme are to help participants:

  • understand the significance of leadership skills and their impact on team performance
  • review the key skills needed to be an effective, ‘multi-dimensional’ team leader and learn how to develop, adapt and apply them in practice
  • learn how to identify the preferred leadership style for the context and organisational culture and how to develop personal style versatility
  • understand the role of the project leader in building an effective team and the skills required to promote and sustain team performance
  • gain a better understanding of the interpersonal skills needed to motivate individual team members and harness the full potential of the team
Who should attend?

This programme will benefit anyone involved in leading technical teams:

  • technical group and project team leaders
  • project and programme leaders
  • technical functional and resource managers

Programme participants who are newly appointed to leadership roles will gain a sound foundation in the concepts, methods and skills of project leadership whilst those with more experience will acquire new insights, broaden their expertise and extend their skills.

Course format

Participants will learn through a range of teaching and personal development methods including presentations, tutorials, real life case studies, worked examples, short team exercises and video presentations. Active participation and involvement will be encouraged throughout the programme to promote the sharing of ideas and expertise within the group.

Expert trainer

John is a highly qualified (BSc, MSc, CEng, MIMechE, MAPM, AMInstP) independent consultant specialising in project and change management. He established his consultancy practice in 1990, following 20 years of industrial management experience, and now offers a wide range of management training and team development programmes. He also provides facilitation and consultancy services to help clients with specific projects or to assist them with staff and management development programmes.

Before setting up his consultancy and training business, John was a senior manager with Ilford Limited, a leading manufacturer of specialist photographic products. Having starting as a development engineer, he progressed through technical and team leadership roles and was appointed Manager of Engineering Development in 1980. In this role he was directly involved in a major company restructuring programme whilst managing a diverse portfolio of multi-disciplinary engineering projects. His project management role subsequently grew to include a range of business projects, including manufacturing improvement programmes and new product introductions. John was also involved in co-ordinating international technology transfer activities and in strategic business development studies within the Ilford Group.

John’s project management experience includes the design and installation of new manufacturing equipment, the development of new products, the improvement of manufacturing procedures, the relocation of offices and staff and organisation restructuring. John has also co-ordinated international project teams and carried out assignments in support of strategic business development programmes.

Prior to joining Ilford Limited, John trained in the automotive industry and gained an honours degree in Applied Physics. He went on to conduct post-graduate research in cryogenics at Oxford University for which he was awarded an MSc in Engineering Science. John is a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, The Institute of Physics and The Association of Project Management.

John’s client base includes leading organisations in Engineering, Manufacturing, Construction, Defence, IS/IT and Education. He is an associate with Loughborough Business School and is a senior consultant and course director with a number of well-known training organisations. Whilst his work is centred in the UK, he frequently works internationally in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

A highly experienced, popular and professional trainer, John’s courses are always much appreciated by the participants, as the following comments show:

‘I really liked the practical exercises’

‘There was certainly a lot to think about’

‘John’s experience was excellent’

‘The group was encouraged to interact very well’

‘A very useful course’

‘A very worthwhile, productive and enjoyable two days’

Leading technical teams – course outline

DAY ONE

1 Technical teams and leadership

  • What is a leader?
  • How much can leadership be learned?
  • The team environment and the impact of leadership skills
  • The characteristics of high performance teams and their leaders
  • Some useful models and theories of leadership explored
  • Types of leadership; choosing how to use leadership power
  • Evaluating personal leadership style; how to develop style flexibility

2 Essential skills for team leaders

  • 3 key dimensions of effective leadership: inwards, outwards and upwards
  • Developing and promoting a ‘team vision’: strategic thinking skills
  • The vital role of communication skills and how to develop them
  • Understanding others; emotional intelligence skills
  • Being a visible leader; behavioural and influencing skills
  • Building effective relationships; the importance of trust and respect

DAY TWO

3 Leading inwards to build the team

  • The role of leadership in developing team performance
  • Understanding individuals in the team; recognising team role preferences
  • Managing conflict and promoting positive team dynamics
  • Setting standards, maintaining discipline and rewarding performance
  • Harnessing team potential: building motivation within the team
  • Promoting team learning; the team leader as coach/mentor

4 Leading outwards and upwards to support the team

  • Negotiating realistic team goals; effective influencing skills
  • Gaining empowerment and support from the key stakeholders
  • Leading upwards: knowing when and how to take the initiative
  • Building team credibility within the organisation; helping the team deliver
  • Becoming an effective team player in leadership teams
  • Building and maintaining rapport with influential stakeholders