Here we go thru topics such as leadership styles and basic ways of how to work with people in a way that is inspiring, motivating and is supporting people.
If you point one finger at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at yourself (Quote from unknown). Everything in leaderships starts with yourself.
– “If you can lead yourself you can lead others” (unknown).
When I lead basic agile leadership trainings at Maersk, I asked the participants to write down what they thought were great traits of leaders vs managers on a note.
When presenting the results, traits for managers was such as “Divides work”, “Reports to top management”, “Has the budget”, “Decides what we are going to do”, “Sets the salary”, “Tells me when I do something wrong” and “Is responsible for the work”.
Traits for leaders was such as (but very much not limited to) “Openness”, “Fairness”, “Should support me”, “Takes decisions”, “Listens to input”, “Allows me to do what I’m good at”, “Sees my potential”, “Plans my career”, “Approachable”, “Has my back” and “Gives me feedback”.
Everyone who aspires to be a leader, needs to take a good look in the proverbial mirror:
Why do you want to be a leader? Is it because you want the (usually) higher salary and feel better when you have more responsibility? Do you like working with people, and serving them and rake the gravel path in front of them?
Software engineers, Full-stack developers, devs or whatever the title is, the human behind that is a normal person, believe it or not.
They have the same need for safety in terms of a safe stress free working space, the need for feedback and appreciation as any other employee. There’s no difference there.
What is different is that developers mostly have to figure out what they do and how they do it by themselves.
Schools, programmes and courses can at best prepare developers with the basics, which is to understand software programming. Everything after that needs to be learned on the job.
Developers normally choose their jobs because it has to do with computers and they can create stuff using their own skills. They never had any idea that they also had to manage multiple stakeholders and be in so many meetings.
They will, as much as they can, avoid meetings and have a preference for working on their own.
Giving developers their own space, a lot of time to code and only meetings where it makes sense, means giving them what they need in order to do their job.
Having zero meetings is also not the solution at all. As a leader, one needs to establish a healthy meeting culture where people can get involved on their terms.
Consider communication with developers on their terms, via Slack/Teams instead of suggesting in person or online face-to-face meetings. At the same time, as many things can get lost in text messaging, it’s important to keep meeting face-to-face.
Developers are humans though, as everyone else they have needs and gets motivated in similar way as others.
Learn more about leading developers and managing their different personality types in "The CTO Playbook", written by our CTO Robert Mejlerö, available on Amazon/Kindle.
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