This might be the most important question you should ask as a team lead

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This will sound very opinionated which is true. But in my brief career as a team lead I find this question the most important on the regular 1-on-1 meetings with my team. The question I ask is

What do you want?

It might not sound precisely like this but paraphrasing the question the main goal is to understand what motivates people to do their best work.

Motivation is a powerful and intrinsic tool which allows people to thrive at what they do. And motivation is not fixed. It changes as time pass and at the moment of the 1-on-1 meeting it might be different as it was when the employee was going through the interview process to land a job with your company.

For example, it might be that the person wanted to leave a toxical manager, felt stagnated or wanted to learn something new at the time when you were interviewing. So the motivation would be to move to change the company.

Spending some time at the new place the person might start to feel happier and less stressed about the work so one decides to get married. Now the motivation might be more financial oriented. Which might lead to a conversation about the raise.

Being financially stable and more confident about the future one might start to think about the kids. And as soon as the baby comes in one’s life the person might get into a conversation about more flexible working hours or ask to work remotely more often.

The example above is quite trivial but it demonstrates the changing nature of a person’s motivation. And when those needs are known and addressed by the team leader the person can focus on the work and do the best one can.

Knowing the answer to the question mentioned above or a question “As a team leader (or the company) what can I do for you so you could be successful at what you do?”. It allows us to define the action plan on how to empower our team members and how to grow the next leaders. Which I believe is “The purpose of technical team lead”.

Thank you for your attention and if you found this post useful and would like to read more about random web development topics, just clap for this article or drop a comment here. As always you can find me on Twitter@andrejsabrickis

Writing JS, TS, Vue, #C, and fostering teams to release customer value n-times a day. Creator of and writer on

Writing JS, TS, Vue, #C, and fostering teams to release customer value n-times a day. Creator of and writer on