I’ve been managing a team of software engineers for 7 months. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Let go of some control. As an individual contributor, I was encouraged to exert control over the projects I built. As a manager, striving for that same level of control can damage team dynamics and come across as micro-management.
Exercise restraint. I’ve found it helpful to not inject myself into decisions or problems where others are better suited to the task. Let others have their shining moments and victories.
Vulnerability builds trust. A lesson from Brené Brown. Admitting your mistakes to your team is rarely frowned upon.
Praise is potent. My team members are important, and I’ve found it effective to make sure they know this and are reminded regularly.
Communicate more. When I’m not communicating effectively with my team, they notice. It’s up to me to make sure they have what they need to do their jobs and understand the vision of the company.
Delivery is crucial. When giving feedback, word choice is imperative. Receiving bad news doesn’t have to be a bad experience.
Be approachable. I can’t expect my team members to approach me with delicate topics if I’m viewed as unpredictable or judgmental. Friendliness and empathy are fluffy words that work.
Ego is the enemy. As your responsibility and status increases, so too must your humility. Becoming a leader is a call to greater service.
Professionalism is key. Set a standard and stick to it. Everyone has a unique communication style; your inappropriate jokes or foul mouth will lose some well-meaning people, but a professional demeanor is suitable in every occasion.
Keep your cool. If you lose your cool, you become ineffective. Treat both good and bad events with equal stride.
Put your team first. I have to daily get over myself. It’s not about me. I was placed in a management role not for my own glorification, but for the glorification of those I serve.