What does Tech Lead mean to you?

I have my own theory of what it means to be a Tech Lead...

It's a unique set of technical and interpersonal skills finely blended into one person.

Someone who's knowledgeable and passionate about programming, engineering or their particular field while also needing to work with people. Not around people but with people. A true Tech Leader can bring people together to create great technical solutions. 

So, "Tech Lead" equals:
1. Technical Passion and Expertise
2. Ability to Encourage People

Though the phrase, Tech Lead, implies "leadership" it doesn't necessarily mean that one is in a Management position. I've been influenced by many good (and great) Tech Leaders who's job title didn't shout "I'm in charge". In many instances it's these Informal Leaders who are really the drivers of great innovations. 

The informal Tech Lead role is really a sweet spot where you have the responsibility to ensure that a project is successful without it all hanging on your shoulders. You're combining your Technical know how and you ability to Influence others to create results. 

A Great Tech Lead adds a third element. Great Tech Leads ensure that they understand the business because at the end of the day it's the needs of the business that keeps the pay checks flowing.

-This means that they understand how the technical team works with and other teams like marketing, finance, sales and human resources.

-They're aware of office politics. Not so that they can be involved but so that they can identify, predict and adjust when office politics influence business decisions, technical solutions and their particular team. 

Now we're at "Great Tech Lead" equals:
1. Technical Passion and Expertise
2. Ability to Encourage People
3. Understands and considers the business impact

What does Tech Lead mean to you?

For additional fun:
..You see, "sooner or later you're going to realize, just as I did, that there's a difference between knowing the path to Tech Leadership and walking the path to Tech Leadership" ...

Don't quote me on the last piece, I stole that from the Matrix... 
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