So the highlight of my day was having to explain what a technology team leader is to someone. I found myself flummoxed on exactly what to say.

“I help teachers and students with computer technology issues.”

That’s what I usually say.

Anytime that a person says that I am tech team leader (usually they say I’m the “tech person”), I am a bit astonished. Oftentimes, I don’t think myself to be a “leader” rather just someone who really loves what he does and likes spreading that other people (sometimes obsessively).
  • What exactly does make a person a tech team leader?
  • What qualities do I possess that makes me stand out from others?
  • I don’t even have a fancy tech degree for such things.
  • What leadership qualities do I have?
Well, rather than talk about me, I’ll talk about what leadership qualities leaders should have (in my opinion anyway).

Leaders help guide people and inspire others, preferably leading by example and their endless curiosity. They focus on learning from their failures as much as from their accomplishments. Leaders are ones that listen, share opinions, and the person that one goes to during difficult times (because that person wants to just as much as s/he needs to).

This begs the question, how does these characteristics fit into being a tech team leader.

Again, here are more opinions… 
  1. Tech knowledge (gee?) - Get it? Anyway... I’m starting with the obvious to get it out of the way. Okay, now onto the rest… 
  2. Tenacity - Educational technology is in a surplus nowadays. More and more goodies are coming out every week and all promise the same thing, “a better school”. Being a tech team leader requires someone willing to endlessly investigate many (or each) of these in the slightest possibility that one may actually be the right fit. 
  3. Truthfulness - Be completely truthful when considering ed. tech products is one of the most important traits for evaluating technology tools. At times, it can be difficult to point out negative things, but they need to be said if they are going to help to make the school and its students better off. Hopefully, if stated the correct way, colleagues will respect an honest, yet critical opinion more than a glossy overview. Teachers depend on leaders to provide guidance and the best and only way to do this is with honesty.
  4. Admitted cluelessness - With all of the new and never before seen technology that TTL’s come across on a weekly basis from their colleagues, one cannot make the mistake of covering up their cluelessness. I generally start each of these occasions with an “I don’t know how to help… but I’m going to figure it out.” Admitting such things can be some of the most empowering things a TTL can do. Once this happens, it can open up the doors to the ever so important follow up. No one knows everything, but being willing to research for the answer is much needed. Although the gasps I get from teachers being surprised I might not know something related to technology are a bit complimentary, the more important trait to have is being able to figure out how to solve the problem.
  5. Many ears and eyes - The importance of connectivity cannot be downplayed for a TTL. Not only connected to one source, but many. This quality is closely related to tenacity. Usage of the right tools to stay connected (Twitter, RSS feeds, ed blogs, research articles, etc.) and the understanding of these tools are beyond pertinent. 
  6. X-ray vision - Stay with me on this one… Tech team leaders need to be able to see through all of the malarkey (kind of tastes like bologna). TTL’s need to comprehend that pedagogy comes above all else. Wasting money because something “looks cool” is not the best road to travel. At times, it can be a hard battle against the army of a fad, but the students’ best interests need to come above all else.
I’m sure there are more traits, but that’s all I have for the moment. Feel free to comment on more that I should add!
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