A Good Technical Leader

I have been reflecting a lot on what makes a good technical leader. A technical leader is leader who specializes in building technical systems. All the qualities that make a good leader apply to a technical leader, but there are also some specializations for the technical leader.

A good politician might be a good leader, but without technical specialty they cannot build technical solutions; their expertise might be in coordinating groups of people to solve hard problems and they rely on other technical leaders to come up with technical solutions and to carry them through to successful implementation.

Here is what I see as key observable properties of a good technical leader:





They persist; they make incremental progress and can overcome the frustration of not seeing immediate results. They always have their eyes on the goal and constantly ensure the organization is moving in the right direction. They may not see the final results right away, but they ensure that the right improvements are made in each link to realize the benefit to the whole chain.


They not only foster a culture of technical excellence, but also one of warmth, friendship, trust and mutual respect. This is what is going to make the day to day and ultimately the long term satisfying to the leader and the team. Ultimately, anything significant is a team game. A line I heard from a mentor sums this up: faster alone, but farther together.

The other aspect of people leaders have to deal with is stakeholder management. They can convince others of goals, approaches, actions etc. when the results are not guaranteed. Good leaders can convince the stakeholders to trust them and play the long game when required.

These I believe are key observable properties of good technical leaders. You might ask — why should you trust any of this? You don’t have to. I am a strong believer in reflection and consolidating your thoughts to learn from them. This is just a consolidation of my own thoughts from observation and personal experience in this area. Take this as a starting point for your own thoughts.



Adventuring through life. Stories of software development, engineering, fun, and reflection.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Aishwar Muthuraman

Adventuring through life. Stories of software development, engineering, fun, and reflection.