Which is correct: support team lead or support team leader?

I think team leader should be correct since leader is a persona while lead looks more like a verb. But I see some multinational companies use team lead in their job description. Is there something I am missing?

  • Check the dictionary for "lead":thefreedictionary.com/lead a. The first or foremost position. b. One occupying such a position; a leader.
    – JeffSahol
    Sep 21, 2011 at 2:51
  • True, but what is the difference, JeffSahol?
    – Thursagen
    Sep 21, 2011 at 4:08
  • I meant that they are synonymous...posted as an answer, @Thursagen.
    – JeffSahol
    Sep 21, 2011 at 4:36

3 Answers 3


In my experience, a team lead is appointed (by a manager), and is assumed to be taking on some leadership responsibilities in addition to his normal duties as a team member...generally for no extra pay, I might add.

In another sense, a leader is someone who "steps up" and takes on challenges and/or inspires others, regardless of whether they have the official standing to do so. I have never heard the word lead used in this sense.

Otherwise, though, the phrases "team lead" and "team leader" are synonymous.


The only use of ‘lead’ to describe a person that the OED records is the theatrical one: one who plays the principal part in a play. I have not seen it used as a synonym for ‘leader’. ‘Support the team lead’ surely means something subtly different from ‘support the team leader’. It highlights the position and its role rather than the person occupying it.

  • 1
    I don't think, it was meant as "support the team lead(er)", but rather "lead(er) of the support team".
    – hardmooth
    Jul 6, 2020 at 4:23

Lead is for a leader who leads the work without authority but by influence and he/she does not have direct reports. Leader is for a leader who leads the work by having direct reports led by influence and authority together. So the difference is around having/not having direct reports

  • Generally speaking, anyone who has direct reports will be called a Support Team Manager. Nobody in an organisation should lead without authority.
    – Chenmunka
    Mar 5, 2018 at 15:23
  • citations for your answer are always helpful
    – lbf
    Mar 5, 2018 at 16:15

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