The Difference Between a Team Leader & a Team Coordinator

In a business environment, employees work in groups and teams to accomplish common goals. Teams can be made up of people from the same department who have similar education, experience and skill sets. They can also be comprised of people from multiple areas of the business who bring varying complimentary skills and knowledge to the table. Depending on the size of the team and the goals it is trying to accomplish, the team may have both a team leader and a team coordinator.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

A team leader is in charge of setting strategic goals, while a team coordinator ensures those goals are met through careful operations planning.

Team Coordinator vs. Team Leader

A team coordinator and team leader have different roles within a group setting. In some cases, the same person may take on both the leadership and coordination roles. However, in large teams with complex multistage projects, these roles are held by different people who have experience with leadership, operations and people management. A team leader looks at the bigger picture of the project, while a team coordinator facilitates the day-to-day operations of the team.

Setting Goals for the Team

One of the major tasks of the team leader is to set goals for the group. The team leader may also play a larger managerial or strategic role and set goals for the company as a whole. The team leader is responsible for the vision and mission of the team. The team coordinator, on the other hand, sets targets that helps the team to achieve the bigger goal set by the team leader.

For example, in a marketing team, the key objective set by the team leader may be to hold a press conference for the company in the next quarter. The team coordinator would be responsible for setting milestones and establishing targets that help the team ensure the press conference is run smoothly. The kinds of goals the team coordinator sets in this case would be to invite the media, book a date and time for the conference and develop key talking points for the spokesperson.

Managing the Team

Both the team leader and the team manager have a hand in directly managing the team, but both take a different approach based on their unique roles. The team leader is often responsible for the performance evaluation of each team member. He can also hold regular one-on-one meetings with each member of the team to discuss development, skills and career path.

The team coordinator jobs with respect to managing the team are more to do with ensuring operations run smoothly. The team coordinator reviews whether each employee has completed his tasks, who is running behind schedule, who has additional capacity available and whether anyone needs assistance completing tasks.

It’s important for both the team leader and the team coordinator to have strong communication and leadership skills to motivate and engage each team member.

Running Smooth Operations

Team leaders are in charge of seeing that the team meets the larger goals for the business. It is their responsibility to remove obstacles that the team members may be facing, such as budget constraints, scheduling difficulties and internal disputes. The team leader reviews the team’s operations at a high level and reports progress to upper management.

Team coordinators run operations on a more detailed level. They have insight about each task the team members need to complete and provide specific internal deadlines and targets. In a team coordinator cover letter, it’s critical to discuss time management and multitasking skills, as those are imperative traits of a strong team coordinator.

Both team leaders and team coordinators need to be flexible and adaptable. Whether working on a larger scale with the goals of the company or focusing on the smaller milestones, it’s important that both team leaders and team coordinators are able to think on their feet and pivot the direction of the team to meet changing expectations of the business. Problem solving, conflict resolution and critical thinking are vital to both roles.

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About the Author

Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.