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 '11 at 2:51
  • True, but what is the difference, JeffSahol? – Thursagen Sep 21 '11 at 4:08
  • I meant that they are synonymous...posted as an answer, @Thursagen. – JeffSahol Sep 21 '11 at 4:36

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.


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 '18 at 15:23
  • citations for your answer are always helpful – lbf Mar 5 '18 at 16:15

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