How Many Team Leads are Sufficient?

February 23, 2024 •

In my experience as a team lead, I have come to conclude that having multiple team leads isn’t a good thing. Here’s why.

1. Stunts the growth of all team leads

Team leads improve over time as they gain invaluable experience performing their tasks. Managing team members, their moods, productivity, and output is a daunting task. I learned through making mistakes and juggling these factors.

Multiple team leads share these responsibilities. They divide the responsibilities and focus on their assigned task. This makes them very good at handling that one specific task but poor at handling everything else.

This ultimately stunts their development as team leads and makes them less than valuable for roles outside their specialty.

2. Eliminates Responsibility

I handle multiple aspects, making me responsible for many things. This has built my character and raised my level of responsibility.

Multiple team leads distribute these responsibilities, and also avoid accountability by avoiding responsibility. This eliminates a lot of the responsibility one team lead would undertake. It is harder to trace the party responsible for the outcome of a task if the task is assigned to multiple parties. It gives a leeway for complacency and plausible deniability.

Cohesive working is vital to the team, and having multiple team leads counters this goal.

3. Communication breakdown

Multiple team leads cause confusion and communication breakdown. This happens when instructions come from one team lead, only to be contradicted by instructions coming from a different team lead.

This confuses the team members and results in poor-quality outcomes. No company can run efficiently with two CEOs, and no team can function well with multiple team leads. This causes a rift in communication, resulting in a communication breakdown. The unity of the team is crucial to achieving success.

Opposing instructions derail the progress made by the team. This is why multiple team leads aren’t recommended.

4. Bottlenecks Decision-Making

Multiple team leads tend to butt heads over the direction they should take. These confrontations slow down the implementation of policies and completion of tasks. I bear the responsibility of making the final decisions on everything.

This crucial step determines if a project proceeds to completion or remains stuck in production. Team leads fighting over the direction the project should follow tend to stagnate the project, causing wasted time and resources.

These indecisions create stagnant projects that cost the organization a lot of time and resources. This leads to negative consequences.

5. Creates Division

Multiple team leads tend to favor particular team members. This happens when they identify team members who follow their lead and are loyal to them rather than the other team leads. This causes micro-divisions within the team. Team members begin aligning with specific team leads.

This becomes a big issue when one team lead gives preferential treatment to specific team members they deem loyal to them. This affects the team morale, reducing productivity, motivation, and output. All these are consequences that team leads are meant to prevent.

A divided team has no hope of delivering quality work. Working together is essential to achieve any success. I have explained this in this article, How We DO Software. Favoritism causes divisions, making this goal hard to achieve.

When are multiple team leads okay?

Despite all this, multiple team leads can be beneficial when they each handle a different responsibility while working toward a common goal. It would be hard for me to lead five aspects of a particular project.

Having different team leads manage a specific aspect allows for better results. One team lead can head the Frontend/Browser team while another heads the Backend team and another the content creation.

This strategy sees projects finished faster and their quality maintained. It also removes the demerits caused by having multiple team leads trying to lead one team. We used this strategy when creating Goleko. We had people responsible for the front-end, back-end, testing, and content creation. This culminated in the creation of an amazing project management tool.


Multiple team leads heading one team cause a lot of havoc. They cause more problems than good, which proves to be very detrimental to the organization. One team lead should be confined to leading one specific team.

Multiple team leads can be beneficial when they lead different teams working toward a particular goal. The team leaders need to communicate with each other and work together to lead their respective teams toward the common goal.